One of the fascinating parts of working in the field of sustainable procurement and supply is the variety of issues you are dealing with routinely, such as circular economy, modern slavery, climate change and ethical sourcing, among many others.
A challenge of working in this field is the priorities that stakeholders will place on particular issues. This may be as a result of political priorities, senior managers’ perceptions and what is hot in the press.
The support of senior stakeholders is of course essential in enabling procurement and supply to contribute to a more sustainable business/organisation/environment/society. However, a, sometimes single minded, focus on a specific issue can result in other, equally important, issues being diluted. Many times, the message may be ‘drop everything and focus on this one issue’. This can be a source of frustration for procurers and suppliers, often operating with limited resources, sometimes faced with a beckoning call for action from stakeholders with potentially conflicting interests.
Structured risk and opportunity assessments are essential, these involve senior managers so that scarce resources can be prioritised where necessary. At the same time changes in technology, other innovation, heightened understanding of the specific issues (such as the impact of plastics on the environment and health) and best practice should be part of routine horizon scanning.
Many organisations understand this. Many senior stakeholders however need to better understand the pivotal role of procurement and supply in enabling organisational objectives and the structured approach to risk and opportunity assessment that may have been, or needs to be, undertaken.
How does this resonate with you and your stakeholders?
A new report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) presents overwhelming evidence that one million species, and growing, are now under threat of extinction. “The health of ecosystems is deteriorating more rapidly than ever before, impacting economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide”.
Read more here.