Collaborate to better understand the need
Collaborate with colleagues to understand their needs and position your procurement team to explore sustainable options to meet these requirements. At early stages, try to set aside specific or technical details and instead ask more fundamental questions: for example, is the need to purchase electric vehicles or is it about decarbonising logistics? Leverage the learning from previous procurement processes and consider your business' context and timeline, since at early stages in your sustainability journey, sustainable procurement may need more time and resources. Explore the risks and sustainability opportunities by considering the full life cycle of the product or services and consider alternative sourcing options such as reusing or renting. Summarise the procurement needs, including your sustainability goals and alternative sourcing opportunities, and share the statement to gather feedback and to help inform the next steps in the procurement process.
EXAMPLE: Energy company pivots to meet its need with existing infrastructure
Alliander, an energy distribution company, planned to expand its office space with sustainably certified buildings. However, after clearly defining the core need, it became evident that additional workstations were required. Suppliers were able to offer creative solutions to meet the need, including using existing buildings, which avoided procuring new materials.1