Engage in Advocacy


Engage in value chain-related advocacy on policy, legal reforms, and regulations.

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You can influence powerful leverage points by directly engaging policymakers and regulators on value chain sustainability issues and through industry bodies.

Review your organisation’s lobbying practices

As a procurer, it is crucial that you ensure your organisation's lobbying efforts align with your sustainability objectives. This could involve assessing lobbying expenditure, policymaker engagement, trade association memberships, and public stances on sustainability.¹ If you detect a disconnect between these aspects and your sustainability goals, consider revising your strategies or, if necessary, dissociating from advocacy groups that don't align with your sustainable procurement values and practices.²

EXAMPLE: Interface takes a stand for circular economy legislation

In 2017, the Carpet and Rug Institute (CRI), an industry association for carpet makers, lobbied to repeal California’s circular economy legislation that mandated carpet recycling in the state. Interface, a member of CRI, requested that the association reconsider its lobbying effort.³ After CRI refused, Interface gave up its membership and hired an independent lobbyist to support maintaining the circular economy legislation.

Advocate for sustainable procurement policies in the value chain

To further enable sustainable procurement, you may need to actively engage policymakers in pursuing legislation that widely promotes sustainability across value chains. This might involve expressing your support for policies addressing key sustainability issuesor actively advocating for specific, relevant policies through industry groups or direct engagements with policymakers. For example, consider publishing an open letter to government bodies advocating for ambitious sustainability targets. Business coalitions can be an effective model for pushing for specific policies supporting broader sustainability goals.

EXAMPLE: Trade group established to support renewable energy buyers

The US-based Advanced Energy Buyers Group (AEBG)is a coalition of companies that aim to decarbonise their energy procurement. It operates as a trade association to lobby for policy that supports energy system decarbonisation. The group has made a notable strategic decision to focus on promoting “advanced energy” and avoid specific messaging on climate change for political reasons.⁸ ⁹

EXAMPLE: Membership association advocates for carbon-free energy future

The Clean Energy Buyers Association (CEBA) is a multi-stakeholder group focused on procuring clean energy in the US. It has created an innovation team to provide research, analysis, and actionable information to members on the importance of policy in achieving their sustainability goals. It also engages policymakers and other key stakeholders about large energy customers' policy needs and priorities.¹⁰

EXAMPLE: Business group advocates for circular economy policies

The EU Advocacy Group for A Low-Carbon Circular Economy by Ecopreneur.eu and MVO Nederland represent 3000 SMEs. It is a cross-sectoral organisation with hubs across Europe that provides training on circular procurement and design. It also makes circular economy policy recommendations at the EU and member state level.¹¹

Universal Circular Economy Policy Goals cover

Universal Circular Economy Policy Goals

Five policy goals from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation that provide a transition framework for governments, cities, and businesses to align their circular economy efforts. The goals are meant to be a blueprint for cooperation between the private and public sectors.

The Ambition Loop cover

The Ambition Loop

The Ambition Loop report underscores the symbiosis between governmental policies and corporate sustainability in advancing low-carbon transitions. Highlighting the role of positive feedback loops, it offers strategies and examples to fast-track global commitments to the Paris Agreements and SDGs.

Guide for Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy: A Caring for Climate Report  cover

Guide for Responsible Corporate Engagement in Climate Policy: A Caring for Climate Report

UN Global Compact report highlights business roles in fast-tracking climate policy. It suggests three steps: 1) Assess policy impact, 2) Align actions and ambitions, and 3) Report outcomes. Applicable to any value-chain policy.

Action 7 – Help Pass Laws cover

Action 7 – Help Pass Laws

PayUp Fashion criticises the fashion industry's slow progress in value chain sustainability. It urges companies to favour impactful policies over voluntary efforts, creating incentives and accountability for change. Action 7's recommendations can guide industries in improving supply chain worker protections.