Sustainability begins with procurement
As organisations become increasingly aware of the benefits of sustainable business practices, they are looking for ways to implement — and demonstrate — sensitivity to environmental, social and ethical considerations.
With a focus on buying appropriate goods and services from reputable and reliable suppliers at the right price, procurement provides a key link, balancing organisational needs with sustainability requirements. After all, what better way to operate sustainably than to buy sustainably?
Tenders provide an excellent opportunity to demonstrate a framework for sustainability. Before anything is bought, organisations can consider their environmental, social and economic policies, then ensure these requirements are clearly defined and specified within their documentation.
In the wake of some very public corporate embarrassments involving well-known brands, increasingly we’re seeing tenders include specific questions designed to elicit information around environmental impacts and ethical supply chains. Others go further, by outlining expected standards while also requiring proof.
With well-designed e-tendering tools, it is easy to ensure that suppliers meet your sustainability standards. Tender instruments can be designed to elicit specific information, in a quantifiable form. By building sustainability requirements into your specifications, you can immediately disqualify bids from vendors who don’t “tick the boxes”.
Where several “qualified” bidders meet appropriate sustainability standards, good evaluation toolsets can be used to rank them, using pre-determined weightings on key criteria. While there may be some element of subjectivity in the eventual scoring, this process ensures maximum transparency because all weighting, scoring, comments and score change history occurs online.
This transparency is especially important given the heightened scrutiny of public and listed entities. These days, successful procurement involves not only meeting organisational needs, but doing so in a way that complies with broader community expectations — while also demonstrating probity and equity.
Sustainable procurement is here to stay. It’s an organisational imperative to do the right thing — and be able to show that you’re doing it. That’s where good procurement technology comes into its own, achieving the best outcomes and demonstrating your sustainability credentials.
Rob Cook is Marketing Manager at TenderLink.
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