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Sustainability Issues in Procurement — Embracing Sustainability

Sustainability issues are what many businesses should prioritize if they want to continue striving for sustainability in their business operations, especially their procurement activities. However, what is it?

In this article, we will discuss first what sustainability in procurement means. We will tackle the common sustainable issues that many businesses are facing in their procurement processes. Additionally, we will tell you how to map sustainability issues in your business operations. 

Once you are done reading this article, you will have a deeper knowledge of the sustainability issues that you may face in procurement. Additionally, by reading this, you will be able to identify which of the issues in your procurement should be prioritized first in order to achieve sustainability. 

What is Sustainable Procurement?

Before we define what sustainability means in procurement, we must first look at what sustainability means. Sustainability, at its core, is about meeting our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. 

Basically, when we talk about sustainability,  it is the ability to maintain and support a process continuously over time. Thus, it aims to prevent the depletion of finite resources so that they will remain available for the next generations to come. 

Now that you know what sustainability means, let us now relate it to procurement. Sustainable procurement is about the acquisition of goods and services in an environmentally-friendly manner to fulfill the needs of the company for its daily operation.

Sustainability in procurement guarantees that the sustainable values of a company are upheld throughout the product and service life cycle.

Furthermore, using new technology in sustainable procurement will have a big part to achieve sustainability within your business operations. 

How Important is Sustainability in Procurement?

We cannot deny that we have used the planet’s natural resources to sustain our lives. However, it is also logical that these resources are finite. Thus, as it continues to deplete, there will be a scarcity of these resources which leads to an increase in prices, hardships, and conflict. 

Additionally, our inefficient usage of resources has negative effects including climate change, loss of biodiversity, poor health, and pollution. 

The scale of the sustainable issues regarding the environment and society is enormous. Thus, we need to change the ways things are done, and only by adopting sustainability can we mitigate the effects of these issues.

By adopting sustainability in your procurement, you can future-proof against a range of risks that can disrupt your supply chain. Sustainability  

Additionally, sustainability can enhance stakeholder and investor support, enhance brand image, better employee relations, and protect the environment. 

Furthermore, sustainability allows organizations to lead in reversing the damage done to the earth. It shows that organizations are aware of their future impacts and consider them before making purchasing decisions.


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Common Sustainability Issues in Procurement

Sustainability issues are challenges or problems that you may face in sustainability. However, as sustainability is so broad, almost anything can be considered a sustainability issue. Here are some of the common issues that you may face in sustainable procurement:

1. Lack of knowledge about sustainability

One of the challenges that many procurement professionals are facing in sustainability is the lack of knowledge about it. 

This issue can arise at all levels of a company, including procurement departments that have no idea how to proceed and shareholders that are skeptical of the benefits of sustainable procurement. 

When dealing with this issue, the best thing that a business can do is to advocate for education and training courses to prepare and team their employees about the significance of sustainable procurement in their supply chain

2. Few resources

Funding, time, and other resources are needed to ensure that the business can attain sustainability. Procurement professionals need time to learn the processes required to conduct sustainable sourcing and purchasing. 

Additionally, procurement professionals must learn how to evaluate the sustainability of their performance and their supplier’s performance.

When implementing sustainable practices, it takes a lot of time to work toward the desired results. Sustainability cannot be achieved overnight. Thus, all of these need a lot of investment in terms of money and time in order to achieve sustainability. 

3. Perceived to have a higher cost

When sustainability is mentioned, many businesses worry about the costs of switching to this new process. 

Additionally, whenever businesses change protocols, policies, and procedures, there will be a period where expected costs change. Thus, many businesses are doubtful of changing their processes if it will cost a lot. 

However, when you consider that switch to sustainability, you must think of it as a long-term investment for the future of your company and the planet. 

Mapping Sustainability Issues

Sustainability issues are inherent when you are striving for sustainability. However, if you do not set your priorities straight, sustainability may not be carried out effectively and the business may suffer in return. Thus, it is important to map which sustainable issues should be prioritized first. 

First, you must collect information and conduct a supply chain analysis for you to determine sustainability issues in your supply chain and procurement. 

Once you have mapped or identified all sustainable issues within your supply chain, you must categorize them as per the impact into high, medium, and low-impact categories. Doing this will give you an idea of which areas are your priority. 

Finally, after mapping all the important sustainable issues, you should identify the best practices that you can apply to solve these issues.  

Be a Sustainable Procurement Expert

For you to be able to adopt sustainability within procurement, you must know first where and when to start. Our Sustainable Procurement Course will teach you everything you need to know about sustainability. Our course will also teach you how to integrate sustainability within your procurement and practical lessons that you can implement to achieve sustainability in your procurement activities. 

Frequentlyasked questions

+ What is sustainability?

It is about meeting our present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

+ What is sustainable procurement?

It is about the acquisition of goods and services in an environmentally-friendly manner to fulfill the needs of the company for its daily operation.

+ What are sustainable issues?

These are challenges or problems that you may face in striving for sustainability.

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