Best Practice Framework Series #8: They Say “What Gets Measured Gets Managed”, So Are You Measuring?
How impactful is your sustainable procurement program? Without a way to measure a program’s outcomes, it is very difficult to know if you’re truly making an impact. Although measurement and reporting can be a challenge and often requires a lot of effort, it is important to consider it while establishing other preliminary elements like Policy, Strategy, and Action Plan.
Measurement and Reporting: An Interconnected Element
Assessing the progress and outcomes of your sustainable procurement program is only one of the reasons it is important to measure your program, it can also play a key role in providing data to support the other program elements. Measurement and Reporting can:
- Produce success stories and data, which can be used in Training and Communication materials.
- Identify pain points in the program, which help inform and refine the Strategy and Action Plan.
- Generate outcome data, which can be presented to leadership and stakeholders to help create buy-in and secure Staffing and Resources.
- Develop impact reports, signalling to other organizations about sustainable procurement, and inspiring Leadership and Collaboration.
The support that data provides to other elements is consequential to a high-impact Sustainable Procurement Program. The sooner measurement and reporting processes are established in program development, the quicker organizations can optimize their sustainable procurement efforts.
The A, B, and C of Sustainable Procurement KPIs
Early in program development, we advise organizations to consider how they will measure their impacts, and generate a list of KPIs they wish to track that are most relevant to their program and organization. Most KPIs that organizations choose, fall into one of three categories:
- Process KPIs: measures the program activity, such as the percentage of RFP’s that contained sustainability criteria, number of sustainable procurement staff that have been hired, or what dollar value goes to sustainable suppliers.
- Outcome KPIs: measures the results of the program, such as a reduction in energy use, GHG emissions, or packaging, or number of equity-deserving individuals hired, or local spend.
- Qualitative/Storytelling KPIs: measure the success stories that the program is
producing, thereafter to be used in communications and training materials.
Because the three types of KPIs serve different purposes, the best Sustainable Procurement Programs will have a mixture of all three KPI categories. Organizations use these KPIs in impact reports, communications, and proposals to secure buy-in, build interest in the program, track their progress, and establish a positive image.
For those just starting out, it’s common to focus first on process KPIs as these are easily controlled and tracked internally. Outcome KPIs may rely on obtaining data from suppliers and will often be collected on a project-to-project basis.
Measurement and Reporting is a Team Effort
Fortunately, organizations are not alone with measurement and reporting: there are many disclosure templates and frameworks that can help organizations develop their menu of KPIs and begin measuring Platforms like CDP and EcoVadis provide templates for suppliers to disclose data and can help track progress. Organizations like GRI, SASB, and the UN provide reporting frameworks to help organizations choose their menu of KPIs and set benchmarks.
If your Sustainable Procurement Program is struggling to achieve impact, contact us at email@example.com. We can help you get started with measurement, so you can optimize your program and achieve greater impact.