Sustainable shopping and Sustainability in business Not just fancy buzzwords. Statistics support this argument:
- 60% more businesses engage in sustainable procurement than two years ago.
- 33% of consumers choose products and services that they believe have a positive social and environmental impact.
- 89% of sustainable management and decision makers claim that sustainability has a direct positive financial impact on their business.
Despite all this, 25% of businesses have no idea how much they spend on sustainability. They also don’t have the necessary technology and tracking mechanisms.
This article aims to shed light on the direct and indirect benefits of sustainable procurement to businesses and how technology can help you.
What does sustainable shopping mean?
Sustainable shopping, also known as green procurement, takes aim beyond cost savings. Its aim is to align corporate social responsibility (CSR) principles to reduce environmental, economic and social impact along with price and quality.
Waste disposal and equipment and vehicle maintenance is an important element of sustainable procurement for the circular economy. Sustainable procurement helps businesses save costs and gain insight into their supply chains.
Why is sustainable procurement important to your business?
A sustainable procurement strategy builds positive partnerships with your suppliers. Not only do you build trust, but you also effectively monitor compliance and implementation.
Partnering with suppliers comes with risks. Your supplier’s business practices can directly affect your reputation. For example, a transportation provider whose vehicles do not meet pollution standards can directly affect your company’s reputation. It can also bring penalties from legal regulators. Choosing sustainable procurement ensures that your suppliers understand the company Social responsibility and sustainability.
Sustainable procurement focuses on innovation to find better products and services and generate income from recycling programs. This creates a secondary source of income for the business and at the same time enhances the reputation of the business among the target customers.
Reduce shopping costs by reducing your electricity and fuel bills. Deliver greater efficiency in processes, reduce environmental compliance costs, and reduce resource consumption. You can reinvest your savings into the company to grow your business and impact profits.
Future-Proof the Business
Businesses can future-proof their operations against scarcity and planning, thereby reducing reliance on high-risk suppliers. This reduces the risk of price fluctuations and shortages. You can innovate and create new products and services and build a sustainable ecosystem.
Meet government regulations
Most developing and developing countries have strict regulations and guidelines on business sustainability. The legal framework is the primary measure of the positive impact you make. To meet regulations, you can enforce your sustainability procurement policy goals, increase business competitiveness to promote sustainability, and collaborate with multiple suppliers.
The UN Global Compact identify guidelines, tools and resources to help businesses adopt sustainable practices. It aligns your operations with ten widely accepted principles, including labour, human rights, the environment and anti-corruption.
Benefits of Sustainable Procurement for Business and the Environment
It starts with building trust and positive partnerships with your suppliers. By monitoring the performance of your procurement program through technology, you can reduce costs and achieve more holistic benefits for the environment.
- Improve your reputation within your business and among your customers.
- Achieve effective risk management at every touchpoint.
- Use products and services efficiently and reduce costs through recycling.
- Get business support from the government (depending on your region), tax breaks, and great incentives for bank loans.
- Keep yourself ahead of the competition by winning businesses based on your sustainability standards.
- Connect with investors interested in sustainable businesses.
Environmental and community benefits
- Recycling reduces the impact on the environment and local communities.
- Seek fair trade products to improve working conditions. Avoid buying from businesses that don’t follow sustainability in their production.
- Reduce your carbon footprint and bills by using energy efficient appliances and renewable energy.
- Reduce the use of natural resources by choosing goods made with recycled materials and other sustainable services.
By applying technology for sustainable procurement, you are also complying with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). The UN SDGs identify three pillars of sustainability. While they apply to every industry, let’s look at them from a procurement standpoint:
- Environment – This pillar calls for lower greenhouse gas emissions, lower energy consumption, waste disposal and responsible water use. Sustainable procurement ensures that suppliers and transport companies follow United Nations SDG best practices to reduce emissions and non-biodegradable waste.
- Economics – This pillar is about operating income and net production. Responsible sourcing of raw materials is becoming an important purchasing decision for the end customer. Some laws now require businesses to clearly state their responsible shopping points on product labels.
- Social – This ensures that the supplier’s workforce provides adequate worker benefits and compensation. It manifests itself in the form of fair wages, medical and maternity benefits, etc.
Technology helps businesses properly assess these factors, specify metrics and KPIs, and support suppliers on their sustainability journey.
Policies and best practices to follow for sustainable procurement
Sustainable procurement is a step-by-step approach that includes transformation in both processes and systems. Three well-known words in the world of sustainability are – reduce, reuse and recycle. But how do you effectively implement and monitor progress? You can start by applying the following best practices:
Buy with big quality
When it comes to recyclable products, the biggest concern is cost. Using technology and diversifying your supplier base, you can negotiate a better price for sustainable procurement and bring it on par or even below the price of unsustainable products.
Procuring items in bulk can reduce packaging costs and associated shipping/carbon emissions. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) says packaging containers make up nearly 45 percent of landfill waste in the country. Use sustainable procurement technology to plan your purchases ahead of time and order in bulk instead of frequent purchases.
Love the high quality product
In the age of throwaway products, this may seem like a contradiction. However, using high-quality products saves you money in the long run. Longer product life reduces maintenance and disposal costs.
Review Procurement Terms with your suppliers
It is very important for businesses to identify and regularly review sustainable procurement criteria. Once you have established internal processes, review the contracts with your suppliers. Check if you can do the following:
- Buy items in bulk or reduce packaging.
- Check the source of the goods you buy. See if the manufacturer follows good labor practices and fair wages.
- Reduce shipping time and distance, sourcing goods from nearby suppliers.
- Evaluate your entire inventory and see if you can replace some or all of them with sustainable alternatives.
Choose an eco-friendly supplier to purchase from
It is important to establish guidelines and policies with all the suppliers you work with. When you review providers, you may find that one meets your goals while the other does not. Once you have a clear view of the disparity, you can work with your supplier to adjust your goals or change providers altogether. Some questions to ask while choosing Environmentally friendly supplier:
- Does the supplier use sustainable packaging and shipping methods?
- Do they use sustainable production and disposal methods?
- Are suppliers willing to align their practices with your sustainability and goals?
- Do suppliers have any certifications or standard practices for sustainability?
Be it coal, nuclear, wind or hydroelectricity, energy production takes a toll on the environment. The only way to reduce your footprint is to change your energy habits and choose appliances that have ENERGY STAR Ratinghelping businesses save billions of dollars in energy bills.
Using technology for sustainable procurement practices in the business
Procurement software focused on sustainability ensures that you demonstrate and actively deliver on your commitment to sustainable procurement. Before you implement a system, you need to acquire from all stakeholders in the company.
Build social, ethical and environmental values in supplier contracts using in-system procurement process management.
The tender management system in your procurement software will help you create custom evaluation criteria to select only sustainable suppliers. You can check vendors and use the trace to evaluate each candidate.
Once you have a group of suppliers on board, there is a need for end-to-end visibility to ensure continued sustainability. Using technology, you can manage your suppliers and see that they work consciously and continuously to minimize their impact on the environment, community and society.
Use auto-generated custom reports and dashboards to ensure that all suppliers operate to agreed standards and communicate with them directly through the portal. You can also categorize your suppliers based on risk and perform regular audits to ensure sustainability compliance.
Sustainability and sustainable shopping are more than just marketing gimmicks. It is a way of doing business that protects the environment and the community. They strive to achieve net zero emissions and treat waste for long-term success.
Businesses understand their supply chains and integrate best purchasing software Gain higher brand visibility and customer loyalty and reduce product liability risk.