Do you know your S*************?

“Simon swearing?”

(I hate swearing – in my opinion, it’s unprofessional and a sign of weakness).

As the responsible souls you are, you know there is only one word beginning with ‘S’ that really counts: S-U-S-T-A-I-N-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y

And if you and I want to have anything that resembles a meaningful career in procurement for the coming 20+ years we all need to Know Our Sustainability.

It’s a simple observation to make that a key enabler for delivering sustainable procurement is to build up our knowledge on the topic.

How are you getting on building up yours?

To have a sense check, imagine that you are attending a conference – let’s say COP26. 

Someone sidles up to you for a spot of networking. They look like the sort of person who knows their sustainability. How would you fare if they asked you about any of the following?

  1. The 17 UN Sustainability Goals
  2. Scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions
  3. The total amount of CO2e emitted globally pa (and what is the ‘e’ by the way?)
  4. The electricity requirement of the world in megawatts and Jevon’s Paradox
  5. The amount of electricity produced by a typical wind turbine or solar panel
  6. The difference between green, blue, pink, grey and black hydrogen
  7. The calories required to feed us all compared to the amount of calories grown
  8. Mike Berners-Lee, Paul Hawken, Christiana Figueres and Michael Mann
  9. The pros and cons of carbon off-setting
  10. Any of the following acronyms: SBTs, IEA, IPCC, DAC, GSSB, GHG, CCS, PPA

If you scored greater than 7/10 – nice work!

If you scored on the lower side, you’re probably not alone.

We’re all on this massive learning journey together. 

Fortunately, there are millions of people you can chat to, to build up your knowledge.

Chatting about sustainability is so important – it really helps us learn.

Recently, I’ve been helping a new client build up their sustainability knowledge. 

We struck upon a great idea that is going down a storm… the Sustainability Manager has made a rough list of the top 50 sustainability topics/concepts/acronyms that we need a fundamental knowledge of. 

Every week three people pull a topic out of a hat. 

The following week they have just two minutes to stand up and describe to their colleagues what the topic is.

Give this a try with your team or business.

I’m going to trial the same idea on a 30-minute webinar.

Given a week’s prep, attendees will each have just 2 minutes to share a key sustainability concept, fact, top-tip, book review or something else useful you think we should know.

That means we’ll upskill on 15 key sustainability concepts in 30 mins.

I don’t want to be alone on the sustainable procurement journey and I can’t imagine you do either.

To join in, please email me at:

Sustainability is equally important as Supply, Quality and Cost, so we better know our stuff!

About the author

Simon Frost is the founder of Frost Procurement Adventurer. He has a career-long passion for procurement. When it comes to the way he works, his ethos is simple. He doesn’t just deliver the fish – he also teaches people how to catch them.

Simon doesn’t do dull. He doesn’t use complex jargon or claim phoney cost savings, he brings energy, adventure, hard work and excellent results.

To find out how Simon can support your organisation, please visit

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