It’s more than just a policy: How to Achieve Sustainable Procurement Wins through Programming
Are you getting questions about what’s the natural starting point for developing a sustainable procurement program? Have you wondered what it would take to get more impact out of your existing efforts? You’ve got a Policy; how come you’re not getting more results?
Catastrophic climatic events over the last few years have proven that we need to take immediate action to address our climate crisis for benefit of our plant, economy, and population. Sustainable Procurement, Sustainable Development Goal #12, is a powerful tool to address ongoing ethical, environmental, social, and Indigenous issues in our supply chains. Organizations can have a meaningful impact on minimizing sustainability risks and creating opportunities, but sustainable procurement must be approached as a fulsome program rather than just another policy.
We have worked with hundreds of organizations over the years and learned that policy alone is rarely a driver of significant action; it is just one of many levers to create change. After investing resources in a policy and noticing lack of change, we started to unpack the barriers to success. We looked at the attributes of the most successful sustainable procurement programs and learned that a Policy needs to be complemented with program elements such as procedures, tools, resources, training for staff, and measures. Just like any Health and Safety or Diversity, Equity and Inclusion program, they require a certain level of resources, infrastructure, and oversight to result in lasting change; sustainable procurement is no different.
We believe for sustainable procurement program to be truly impactful it needs to most or all of the ten elements outlined in for Sustainable Procurement and are presented below.
The best sustainable procurement programs don’t need all ten elements in place right away. Building out Program elements for a high performing
procurement program can take months to years to fully implement. However, Reeve always encourages organizations to take a two-track approach. This means taking opportunities to
integrate sustainability criteria into the procurement procedure while building out other program elements. A two-track program enables changes in your procurement processes that can impact vast amounts of purchasing and lead to positive impacts almost immediately, while allowing time for learning and refinement as staff experience grows.
Development of Reeve’s Sustainable Procurement Framework
From the development of this model in 2009, we have been able to fine-tune the Program Framework to ensure it delivers results for sustainability within your supply chain. We’ve taken the most critical pieces of other existing sustainable procurement frameworks such as SPLC’s Principles for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing Framework, and ISO20400 Sustainable Procurement Framework to create an easy to use and universally understandable approach. The 10 elements are the building blocks that any organization can work on immediately to develop the confidence and know-how required for a successful procurement program. Our nationally used benchmarking system is important to determine where your organization is starting from (i.e. whether you have a policy or resources already in place) and to identify the gaps for improvement.
Hundreds of municipalities, organizations, and public sector institutions across the country, and internationally have adopted this Framework. They have seen immense success in their organization, such as impactful collaboration through stakeholder engagement, an increase of value from procured goods and services, and an increase of buy ins.
What are some ways that you have experienced success with the implementation of a Sustainable Procurement Program within your organization?
In the next few months, we will be touching on each program element to dive deeper into how they play an important role in developing a successful sustainable procurement program. Be sure to check back for new blogs each month and subscribe to our newsletter for more updates and resources in Sustainable Procurement.