Is Sustainable Sourcing the New Focus for Buyers?

Never has a business followed through with this pledge so comprehensively as The Body Shop.

As I sat there becoming more inspired about a brand, with sustainable sourcing at the forefront of everything they do, it made me think about how many other people in the procurement industry are considering this in their day-to-day positions.

How many Procurement Managers ask at a supplier meeting where materials are sourced from?

How many buyers have this as part of the RFI or RFQ process?

How many Procurement Directors truly drive behaviours within their teams encouraging sustainable sourcing?

Many organisations look at initiatives around car sharing, organic food sources in the staff canteen and waste recycling, but are they actually being held to account for sourcing sustainable goods and services?

Every procurement professional, whether you are a Buyer, Procurement Manager or Head of Procurement, talks about cost vs value.

Of course, different businesses have an equally different focus and ultimately procurement is a commercial function looking to drive value.

What struck me with The Body Shop was their aim to become “the world’s most ethical and sustainable business”; a bold statement, but one they truly believe in.

They are driving forward with sustainable packaging, various initiatives promoting climate change and the source of all their products via the local community at a global level.

To be the right fit for their procurement sourcing team, as well as having the right technical skills, you need to have this mindset and be passionate about the causes that were so dear to the late Dame Anita Roddick, the founder of The Body Shop.

Ironically, the following day, I had another supplier within the FMCG space asking for us to sign up for their sustainability pledge, so it seems that increasingly businesses are bringing this focus to the procurement process.

The question is will this have a similar focus in other industries and sectors away from the FMCG and retail worlds?

Procurement jobs will perhaps increasingly focus on this as part of their criteria.

I believe The Body Shop is leading by example in having this as part of its competency questions at an interview and being part of the job criteria and the KPIs given to that job.

The cynics among us may see this as a “nice to have” at interview and actually the “must haves” are their technical skills.

Only time will tell but what I am sure many other businesses hope is that other organisations will ingrain this as part of the company DNA and that good procurement can also be sustainable.

So if you are a procurement professional now reading this just think, do I know where my supplier base is sourcing from?

When you are evaluating your next career move think about this famous quote:

“I want to work for a company that contributes to and is part of the community. I want something not just to invest in. I want something to believe in.”

I think most of us will agree this is something we are all looking for in that next role and here at Procurement Heads we only work with businesses that want to invest and believe in their staff.

Oh, do you know who that quote was from? The late Dame Anita Roddick, founder of the Body Shop.

Procurement Heads is recruiting a variety of Buyer, Procurement Manager and Head of Procurement jobs so please get in touch for a further conversation with one of our expert team here.

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