Best Practice Framework Series #1: Unlocking the Importance of a Sustainable Procurement Strategy and Action Plan

Best Practice Framework Series #1: Unlocking the Importance of a Sustainable Procurement Strategy and Action Plan

Earlier this year, Reeve Consulting launched a Best Practice Framework Blog Series, highlighting the importance of having a Program in place to achieve impactful sustainable procurement.

Today, we will be diving into the important role that a Strategy and Action Plan plays in driving a high-performing Sustainable Procurement Program. Check back next month to learn more about Policy, and how it can assist in communicating your organization’s sustainability commitments.

At Reeve we are all about ‘less planning and more doing’ but having said that, we see the importance that a good plan can play in providing common vision amongst staff and stakeholders to guide program development. If you have tried to incorporate green or sustainable procurement efforts, but haven’t seen much impact, this might be why.

Organizations often try to build and implement their sustainable procurement programs off the side of their desks, where resourcing might be limited to one or two staff who have a personal interest in sustainability. Just like health and safety programs, or any major corporate change initiatives, these programs don’t just evolve on their own. Usually, they follow some kind of strategic approach or action roadmap which sets a path for improved performance.

A great Strategy and Action Plan should consist of at least the following:

  • Goals for the next few years related to Sustainable Procurement
  • Key activities to take place every quarter
  • Roles and responsibilities of procurement stakeholders
  • Key performance indicators to measure progress

Having worked with hundreds of clients, we have seen the most success with an optimal balance between the planning and the doing. This is where a two-track program comes into play. While we understand that a Strategy and Action Plan takes time to develop, we recommend starting on a high-impact procurement opportunities (HIPO) list, which allows organizations to identify service or product categories that represent high-impact or “low-hanging” procurement opportunities for sustainability intervention. This allows you to act and “do the doing” before your Strategy and Action Plan is even completed. Immediate success!

Action planning will help determine the organization’s sustainable procurement objectives and will outline activities that will take place in each of the four quarters of the year. Stakeholders, such as the procurement team and the sustainability team need to be aligned around priorities, roles, and activities. The Strategy and Action Plan will help determine whether there are adequate resources, or if more resources are needed to ensure the success of the Program.

Below is a sample from a Strategy and Action Plan where the organization’s goals, key activities in each quarter and desired outcomes are clearly laid out. This plan is intended to be used by the organization’s Sustainable Procurement Core Team, who oversee the development and implementation of the Sustainable Procurement Program. This is often an internal team built from representatives of both sustainability and/or procurement. This should be a living document that is constantly referred to and updated periodically.

To achieve a high-impact program, other elements from the  Best Practice Framework are all essential; however, having a Strategy and Acton Plan to formalize resources towards sustainable procurement and link it to broader corporate objectives is a critical piece to a successful Program.

Are you ready to take your organization’s sustainability journey to the next level? Contact us at to learn more about implementing a high-impact Sustainable Procurement Program; and don’t forget to check back in next month as we dive into the role of Policies in a successful Program.