Getting a Handle on green procurement

Green Procurement May Be Simpler Than You Think

Article By Richard Hatton,
Managing Director: Adjust PS

Richard Hatton is Managing Director of Adjust PS, a UK company specializing in delivering procurement consulting and services to professional buyers and suppliers. Adjust PS works with organizations to promote Green Procurement and co-presents seminars to educate companies how to adopt Green initiatives and save money in the process. Adjust PS’ services are based upon constant involvement with a range of industries, governmental organisations, and small businesses combined with a continuous audit of the development, adoption and implementation of the latest technology offerings.

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Ideas in Procurement - Going Green

Green Procurement May Be Simpler Than You Think

Often the most highly visible aspect of a green business plan includes purchasing and the supply chain. Suppliers are being held to a higher standard, subjected to greater scrutiny and expected to respond to these challenges.

Procurement solutions to the environmental question can be achieved using business models already in place. These types of systems and processes are already applied to cover non-green issues when firms are dealing with their suppliers. Supplier audits already include checks for compliance with other regulations governing workforce diversity, workplace conditions, etc, so that the same model can be applied to cover environmental standards. Requesting environmental information is asking suppliers to become more accountable and then this information can be put into a balance scorecard to measure their performance, creating an incentive for them to improve.

By involving suppliers early and often in product, process, and strategic decisions that impact them, it is possible to reduce the potential negative fall-out from any changes. Add suppliers to planning teams to implement design for environment initiatives and, within your own company, seek to collaborate at multiple levels, involving the technical personnel that plan and manage day-to-day operations.

Sustainable Procurement refers to ‘policy-through-procurement’ issues where purchasing choices are seen as a lever to achieve wider objectives. These lofty goals may seem to pose a difficult challenge, but it all comes down to procurement having a key rôle in the business, together with the ability to assess suppliers correctly. Implementing environmental procurement may require a larger initial investment of time and effort, but it can pay lasting dividends in terms of reduced product life-cycle cost, overall cost efficiency, and minimized environmental risk

A growing number of suppliers now recognize that the environmental qualities of their products can be a competitive advantaged in courting and maintaining relationships with corporate customers – while poor environmental performance can put them at a disadvantage. Companies can team environmental managers with their procurement departments to leverage suppliers towards green practices as well as benefiting from increased accountability and the relationships that result.

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