NOVO-K Article


What is sustainable procurement?

Sustainable procurement takes Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) principles and integrates them into an organisation’s procurement policy and processes. In the past few years, the term ‘Triple bottom-line’ has also gained traction. Organisations are looking beyond profit to include social and environmental issues to both measure the full cost of doing business and meet sustainability goals.

Profit + People + Planet=

TRIPLE bottom line

Sustainable procurement is becoming the norm in many established procurement teams with organisations choosing to promote their commitment and goals to delivering goods and or services in a principled manner.

What can you do and how can it benefit your organisation and clients?

Start by looking at your primary suppliers and review their ability to deliver services more sustainably and their longer-term plans. Question how you can help and support them meet these goals. Ask your key suppliers to look at their primary suppliers and feedback on their own procurement processes. Initially you may want to focus on 3 main factors e.g. Environmental impact, Modern Slavery and Single Use Plastic.

Including your commitment to sustainable procurement in your businesses values and actively publicising this will not only help to promote and boost your brand but also connect you with many other organisations on a similar journey that could be partners or even clients!

Many more customers are now considering if products are ethically sourced and the impact your business is having before they even approach your organisation. Sometimes this is driven by their clients, stakeholders or in the not for profit sector, their supporters. All of this comes back to confidence in your business, brand, goods and services.

Procurement is often linked, unfairly, to ‘cheap’ and ‘low cost’ sourcing. All our evidence shows that the tide is turning, and many more organisations are willing to pay a small premium to ensure they are working with profitable purposeful companies and those that promote their ambitions and goals.

Aligning to the UN Sustainable development goals is another way to both promote and meet other likeminded business. Here at Novo-K we align with Goal 5- Gender Equality, Goal 9- Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure and Goal 13 Climate Action.

If sustainable procurement is challenging but you still want to share your desire to have a wider social impact, you can also consider donating through a third party. We use Work for Good to donate to MicroLoan Foundation and Plastic Oceans UK.

Organisations are always searching for ways to save money. Sustainable procurement does this by reduced energy cost, reduced consumption and reduced over buying. Analysis your purchasing behaviour to find potential areas to reduce orders and investigate contracts. By looking into your supplier contracts, opportunities to renegotiate could appear resulting in cost savings.

With environmental impact being a trending topic, sustainable procurement is going to become a higher priority. Introducing sustainability into your procurement process can deliver you a lot of value, help you demonstrate how you are supporting the environment and reinforce corporate reputation.

Kavita Cooper Managing Director Novo-K