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 Sustainable Goals in Procurement —Embracing Sustainability

Sustainable goals in procurement help it to stay on track with its sustainability objectives in its activities. However, what are these goals?

In this article, We will tell you what are sustainability goals and their importance in your procurement process. Additionally, we will tell you some SDG goals that you can integrate into your procurement and how you can achieve your goals in sustainable procurement.

Once you are done reading this article, you will know how important it is to set goals in sustainability. Additionally, this will enable you to achieve your goals in sustainability effectively. 

Sustainability Goals in Procurement: What is it? 

Sustainability goals refer to the objectives or targets of the company towards sustainability. In procurement, sustainability goals are about your objectives to achieve sustainability in procurement while ensuring that the process remains efficient. 

Of course, every procurement professional has a set of goals to achieve sustainability in their procurement. By having goals, you can determine whether you are achieving what you want when it comes to integrating sustainability into your procurement. 

Ultimately, sustainable goals are what drive the procurement process to keep innovating and improving. Thus, you will be able to keep up with the fluctuations in your supply chain. 

Why is it Important?

Sustainable goals are what you want to achieve in your procurement process. Thus, it enables you to improve your current processes and ensure that all your activities comply with sustainability standards. 

Sustainable goals also allow you to consider how your procurement processes can impact the environment and society. Thus, you can ensure that all the goods and services that you will purchase will have no negative effect on the environment and the surrounding communities. 

Furthermore, your goals in sustainability are what drive you to innovate and think of new ideas, while incorporating sustainability in your procurement process.


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What are sustainable Development Goals?

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), also known as Global Goals, were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 imploring to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure the well-being of people by 2030. 

The United Nations has created 17 Sustainable Development Goals that aim to achieve them by 2030. As a procurement manager who wants to adopt sustainability in your procurement process, your mission is to make goals, objectives, and strategies that contribute to solving one or more Sustainable Development Goals. 

Here are some ways how you can contribute to SDG with your procurement process:

Goal 1: No Poverty

Procurement can help reduce poverty by creating employment opportunities, compensating employees fairly, and supporting local businesses, especially those businesses that are still developing. 

Additionally, procurement can reduce poverty through engaging with suppliers that give job opportunities to people, especially within their surrounding communities. 

Goal 2: Zero Hunger

Procurement can support the goal of zero hunger by ensuring that the products that they will create are affordable and nutritious. Additionally, it can help by ensuring that no resources go to waste and by promoting sustainability with its purchasing decisions. 

Goal 3: Good Health and Well-Being

Procurement can contribute to the goal of good health and well-being by buying and using environmentally safe and healthy products. Additionally, it can promote good health and well-being by ensuring that all employees have a safe working environment. 

Goal 4: Quality Education

Procurement can promote quality education by investing the excess of the budget of their purchases in educational infrastructures in its surrounding communities. Additionally, it can promote quality education by giving its employees a chance to develop their skills. 

Goal 5: Gender Equality

Procurement can help achieve gender equality by promoting fair and equal employment opportunities for everyone. It can help by ensuring that all procurement processes are fair and transparent to everyone. 

Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation

As a procurement professional, you can contribute to clean water by procuring materials or services from suppliers that promote water conservation and by investing in water treatment and sanitation facilities. 

Goal 7: Affordable and Clean Energy

Procurement can support affordable and clean energy by investing in renewable energy sources, procuring energy-efficient products, and promoting energy conservation.

Goal 8: Decent Work and Economic Growth

You can contribute to this goal with your procurement process by ensuring that you are providing a suitable working environment to your employees. 

You can also allocate the excess in your procurement spending or budget to promote economic growth in the surrounding communities. 

Goal 9: Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure

Procurement can contribute to supporting industry, innovation, and infrastructure by investing in sustainable and innovative infrastructure. It can also help by ensuring that all materials that will be purchased for infrastructures comply with your sustainability standards

Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

As a procurement manager, you can use procurement to support your suppliers that are committed to reducing inequalities in their operations and supply chains. Additionally, you can reduce inequalities by giving your workers a chance to develop the skills that will enable them to have a chance for promotion. 

Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities

Procurement can support sustainable cities and communities by investing in sustainable infrastructure, giving back to the community through conducting sustainable programs and procuring eco-friendly products.

Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production

As procurement is about purchasing the needed materials or services of your organization, you can use it by ensuring that your purchasing decisions are focused on the reduction of waste, and increased resource efficiency, and all your purchases are aligned with your sustainability standards. 

Goal 13: Climate Action

You can use procurement to promote climate action by reducing the carbon emissions of your procurement activities. Additionally, you can contribute by purchasing products or services that do not have any negative impact on the environment and society. 

Goal 14: Life Below Water

Procurement can support this goal by engaging with suppliers that have sustainable fishing practices, procuring eco-friendly fishing equipment, and promoting marine life conservation.

Goal 15: Life on Land

You can support this goal by investing in and promoting sustainable agriculture and encouraging the surrounding communities in the conservation of biodiversity. 

Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

As a procurement manager, you can promote this goal in your procurement process through transparency, accountability, and ethical practices in the supply chain.

Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals

 Procurement can support partnerships for the goals by promoting collaboration and cooperation among stakeholders and suppliers, as well as supporting sustainable development initiatives of other institutions. 

Achieving Sustainable Goals in Procurement

Our tip for you to achieve sustainability goals in procurement is to use all the knowledge that your suppliers are having to achieve your goals. Suppliers are always better equipped and they have way more time to do things than me. 

In negotiations, this was a disadvantage, but in a year, when we were running the business, I let the suppliers help me with as many tasks as possible to achieve my goals. They had more time and resources, so why not? 

When I worked as a procurement manager for the large global retailer Ahold Delhaize, I had the following goals to achieve:

  • Reduce the use of plastic packaging by at least 25%
  • Improve work conditions for labor workers at our suppliers in Europe and Asia
  • Source as much as biological products as possible
  • Salt reduction in products
  • Sugar reduction in products

In achieving all my goals, I did the following steps: 

Step 1:

I sent out one email to all my suppliers that I wanted to help me in achieving my goal. 

In the email, I explained the goal and why it was important for the world, my business, and for my supplier to reach this goal. 

Step 2:

I asked all my suppliers to work on an action plan to achieve the goal of using less packaging for packing exactly the same product. 

Step 3:

I organized a two-day event where all my suppliers presented their action plans to reduce the use of packaging. These presentations typically only took 30 minutes. 

In this session, we had the opportunity to discuss challenges, opportunities, and possible routes forward to achieve the goal. At the end of every session, we wrote down action points to come to concrete results.

Step 4: 

I let the suppliers send their final action plan to me via email to collect all the next steps that were taken to achieve our goals.  

Step 5:

I created an Excel where I collected all the agreements we made on the next steps to follow the realization of our goals. In the 12 months that were following, I used our Excel file to sometimes chase my suppliers about the status of our set goals! 

Of course, I realized I was in a situation of power, which was really helpful to let my suppliers move easier towards realizing sustainable goals versus the scenario in your own case. Nonetheless, I hope that these steps, which are all based on my experience, will inspire you on how you can achieve your sustainable goals. 

Do you want to learn more about achieving your goals in sustainable procurement? Then our Sustainable Procurement Course is the right fit for you! Enroll now and be the best procurement professional that you can be!

Frequentlyasked questions

+ What are sustainable goals?

It refers to the objectives or targets of the company towards sustainability.

+ What are the Sustainable Development Goals?

These were adopted by the United Nations in 2015 imploring to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure the well-being of people by 2030.

+ Why is it important to have sustainable goals?

Sustainable goals are important for you to keep on moving in the direction of adopting sustainability in your procurement process successfully.

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