Sustainable Procurement Helping Companies Improve their Competitive Advantage

(3BL Media/Justmeans) – Sustainable procurement has become increasingly critical to improving brand image, establishing a competitive advantage, and boosting the bottom line. According to the awareness group Action Sustainability, about 60 to 80 percent of a company’s total expenditure is on its supply chain. Sustainable procurement is no longer just about choosing responsible suppliers, but it is more about engaging closely with them to drive innovations in design, production, packaging, labor, and transport.

Global coffee industry leaders such as Nestle and Starbucks have recognized the importance of investing in sustainable procurement to reap long-term benefits. Nespresso, the coffee-making unit of Nestle, recently reported on progress in its Positive Cup sustainability program. The company is making investments to rebuild the coffee industry in Sudan and helping coffee growers in Columbia through an innovative retirement savings plan. Nestle’s agro-forestry plan is introducing new trees to counter climate change.

Last month, Starbucks Coffee Company announced an additional investment of $30 million as part of its Global Farmer Fund program. The company has launched several ethical sourcing initiatives to help ensure the sustainability of the specialty coffee industry. Its financing efforts since 2008, in collaboration with Root Capital and the Fairtrade Access Fund, have impacted 62 cooperatives in eight countries and have benefitted over 40,000 farmers.

A recent Procurement Leaders report has found an increasing consciousness among companies to focus on sustainable procurement. At least at the grassroots level, procurement function has integrated CSR into its processes at many leading companies.

Procurement was a key consideration in the sustainability efforts made by Biogen Idec, which resulted in the company being named the world’s most sustainable company in 2015 by Toronto-based media outfit Corporate Knights. The company says that sustainable procurement will play a greater role in the future at Biogen Idec.

Alcoa, Ball Corp. and Wyndham Worldwide also rank among companies that received high marks for sustainable procurement in another report – The RobecoSAM Sustainability Yearbook.

Source: Procurement Leaders

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