Review your value chain-related policies, protocols, and processes
Begin by reviewing your value chain-related policies, protocols, and processes to ensure they align with your sustainability goals. Identify any gaps or conflicts between procurement performance targets and sustainability objectives. Ensure your policies are current, considering the evolving nature of sustainability issues. Review your procurement protocols, such as supplier identification, selection criteria, contract negotiation methods, and supplier relationship management, for potential inconsistencies with your sustainability goals. You will also need to incorporate sustainability considerations into your category strategy templates. Engage colleagues, suppliers, and customers in this review process where possible. Use external sustainability standards and frameworks for guidance and incorporate your refined criteria into your policies, guidelines, and procedures for consistent application. Finally, evaluate your procurement structure, identifying who is responsible for key tasks and if different departments are making conflicting demands of suppliers, and consider whether a centralised or decentralised procurement process best serves your sustainability objectives.
EXAMPLE: Schneider Electric's recognises that its supplier productivity target could undermine its sustainability goal
Schneider Electric had an explicit target to increase supplier productivity by 3% per year. In reflecting on their sustainability goals, they identified potential unintended consequences. While the target sought to promote energy or material use efficiencies, it also directed the procurement team's focus to short-term cost savings, which could conflict with making the longer-term investments needed to achieve its goal of a carbon-neutral supply chain by 2030.¹ ²
EXAMPLE: Regular assessment of practices at Adobe
Adobe integrates the assessment of sustainability and procurement practices into its Enterprise Risk Management Framework³, where climate-related risks and opportunities across its operations, supply chain, and products are identified and evaluated semi-annually. The company actively engages with industry organisations, customers, and suppliers to monitor emerging risks and evolving stakeholder expectations and aligns responses to these with significant climate risks and opportunities in multi-disciplinary, company-wide risk management efforts.
EXAMPLE: GAP relieves buying pressures
Through its participation in the Better Buying initiative, the GAP has worked to reduce the buying pressure it places on its suppliers. For instance, it has developed systems to help its procurement teams avoid placing orders that put unrealistic expectations on suppliers regarding timing, capacity, and cost.⁴