Many organisations are grappling with the problem of implementing the principles of sustainability: how to balance the ‘triple bottom line’ of economic, social and environmental requirements for an organisation’s sustainability – in a way that meets both current and future objectives.

In today’s economic climate, organisations across all sectors – public, private and third sector – need to achieve increasingly stringent financial targets, as well as maintain their focus on social/ethical and environmental perspectives. These often opposing dimensions can create a headache for executives – ‘how can we achieve all our objectives when many are in direct conflict with each other’?

The procurement function plays an important role in an organisation’s drive to sustainability. As the interface between ‘internal customer’ and the ‘extended enterprise’ represented by suppliers and external agencies, it plays a key role in ensuring supply chain capabilities are consistent with, and directed towards sustainability objectives. Indeed, it could be argued that the sustainability agenda is a defining moment in the development of procurement as a function indispensible to organisational success.

We believe that ‘sustainable procurement’ is about the delivery of sustainable management principles through procurement best practice: as well as achieving improved security of supply, lower total cost of ownership and enhanced reputation, these should result in value improvement and better cost performance.

How can organisations buy more sustainably? Understanding the starting point in terms of sustainability of current customer requirements and supply chain practices is essential. Using sustainability assessment tools and processes, procurement staff can identify and prioritise products, services and processes for improvement. With targeted supply chain development against measurable economic, social and environmental criteria, organisations can improve the sustainability of their operations and supporting supply chains.

Xemptor Consulting Limited is leading the field in defining sustainable procurement best practice, and has been at the forefront of the development principles and processes with cross-sectoral focus and input. We are now working with organisations to improve their performance in this demanding field through the delivery of training programmes and the provision of expert support. If you think we can help you to shape your organisation’s success in this area, please don’t hesitate to contact us!