Support Products and Services


Align sustainability of products and services by participating in cross-functional teams and creating information systems.

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As a procurement and supply chain professional, you interact with many aspects of the business and have the potential to help align sustainability efforts through cross-functional collaboration.

Collaborate to enable broader change

Procurement and supply chains have a lot of insights to offer the business on its journey to sustainability. Foster strong collaboration with the sustainability team, harnessing their subject matter expertise and your procurement team's supply chain insights, working together to ensure suppliers meet necessary environmental and social standards or certifications. Involve procurement early in projects to provide input on the availability of sustainable options.¹ Facilitate cross-functional collaboration by identifying departments that would benefit from value chain insights and establishing communication channels. In the design phase, procurement can offer significant value by highlighting potential supply chain risks and hotspots² and sharing insights from diverse parts of the value chain.³ This information can inform product features to mitigate lifecycle impacts.⁴ Procurement can also challenge your design and development teams to look beyond incremental changes⁵, fostering a culture of innovation and transformative sustainable solutions.⁶

EXAMPLE: Unilever involves a specialised procurement team early

Unilever's "SWAT" team, a group of procurement professionals, provides procurement solutions across the global supply chain. Empowered to make decisions, they promote sustainable procurement by mitigating risks, engaging suppliers on sustainability, and spearheading innovative procurement practices.⁷

EXAMPLE: Merging procurement with sustainability

Some companies, including Mars, AB InBev, and Puma, have merged their sustainability and procurement functions to manage better and mitigate value chain risk.⁸ ⁹ ¹⁰

EXAMPLE: Purchasing requires sustainability expert support

In the City of Copenhagen’s public administration, an environmental expert is now a compulsory member of any working group set up before a tendering procedure is launched.¹¹

EXAMPLE: Danone merges key parts of its procurement and sustainability functions

Danone has created a Cycles and Procurement Department to “ensure the long-term availability and viability of key inputs (milk, sugar, fruit, packaging, etc.)”.¹² This function combines strategic sourcing with sustainability and is central to the company’s sustainability approach.¹³

EXAMPLE: Global Brewer’s cross-functional committee

A global brewer assembled eight functional heads from commerce, production, and procurement to form a cross-functional sustainability committee. They meet regularly to discuss their concerns and agree on addressing value chain sustainability issues.

Collaborating for Value Chain Decarbonisation cover

Collaborating for Value Chain Decarbonisation

With the urgent need to reduce global emissions, rapid decarbonisation of our economy is essential, and the key is collaboration across the value chain. Our new guide provides practical advice and examples to help companies support their supply chain partners to decarbonise.

You'll find advice on how companies are prompting, influencing, supporting, and investing in their value chain and resources and ideas for how to support six key decarbonisation pathways: renewable energy adoption; energy efficiency and conservation; logistics; materials stewardship and waste; lower-impact agriculture and land-use; and carbon removal.

Sustainable procurement demands a new operating model—and more collaborative supplier partnerships cover

Sustainable procurement demands a new operating model—and more collaborative supplier partnerships

This article outlines how procurement stands at the crossroads of sustainability and business. It advocates for its critical role in achieving ESG goals through partner consensus, supplier collaboration, and a revamped operating model.

Why Sustainable Supply Chain Risk Management Cannot Be Siloed cover

Why Sustainable Supply Chain Risk Management Cannot Be Siloed

This white paper from Ecovadis demonstrates that sustainable supply chain risks must be managed cohesively. It outlines how a siloed approach will lead to preventable risks like communication errors or lack of accountability.

Checklist for improving design, development, and calendar management cover

Checklist for improving design, development, and calendar management

The Better Buying Institute provides a quick checklist for improving purchasing practices related to developing product specifications and production timelines.

Purchasing’s Role in New Product Development  cover

Purchasing’s Role in New Product Development

This HBR article argues that procurement should have a more significant role in new product development. It emphasises the importance of building stronger relationships between purchasing and engineering and incorporating supplier input in your in-house design process.

Partner Supply Chain With Other Functions to Integrate and Scale CSR Activities [PAYWALL] cover

Partner Supply Chain With Other Functions to Integrate and Scale CSR Activities [PAYWALL]

This report by Gartner explains why increased collaboration is needed to drive sustainability efforts and that chief supply chain officers (CSCOs) can enable this by sharing their experience to engage, educate, and motivate other functions.