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Written by Marijn Overvest | Reviewed by Sjoerd Goedhart | Fact Checked by Ruud Emonds | Our editorial policy

World Sustainable Procurement Day — The Ultimate Guide

Key take-aways

  • Procurement cost reduction is a strategic, long-term approach aimed at minimizing overall expenses associated with procurement processes.
  • It involves continuous monitoring and evaluation to enhance productivity and profitability,
  • The blog outlines ten strategies to minimize costs in the procurement process.

World Sustainable Procurement Day is an important event that is attended by many procurement professionals all over the world. However, why is it significant for people who are in the procurement industry?

We will discuss what World Sustainable Procurement Day is all about. Additionally, we will talk about why this event is crucial for procurement professionals. 

Once you are done reading this article, you will have an overview of the impact and importance of this event to procurement professionals. This will also allow you to decide whether you would want to come to the next sustainable procurement day to collaborate and connect with other professionals in the industry. 

    The World Sustainable Procurement Day

    Do you know about Earth Day? How about World Health Day? These are some of the events that many people celebrate just like World Sustainable Procurement Day. 

    The first-ever World Sustainable Procurement Day took place on March 21, 2022, and was hosted by Sustainable Procurement Pledge (SPP).

    It provides numerous online sessions that are presented by the Sustainable Procurement Pledge team, SPP chapters, SPP champions, and partners. 

    Although it is still starting, we cannot deny its significance to the procurement and supply chain industry. The event aimed to empower and equip procurement professionals with best practices approach, knowledge, and practical solutions in facing sustainability Challenges. 

    The event’s topics ranged from child labor and forced labor to supplier diversity, inclusion, human rights, living wages, human trafficking, mining, SME suppliers, and many more. The spectrum of speakers and presenters was as wide as the range of the topics. 

    What is Sustainable Procurement? 

    In order to give you an overview of the event, we will discuss its core process which is sustainable procurement. Sustainable procurement, also known as green procurement, is the process of integrating environmental, social, and governance goals into the procurement and supply chain. 

    To simplify, sustainable procurement pertains to how a business can identify and reduce environmental impacts in its supply chain. It typically integrates effective business practices and sustainable corporate behavior in the procurement process, policies, and decisions.

    The Significance of Social Procurement

    Lucie Durand, the director and head of unusual partners at Yunus Social Business, gave an introduction to social procurement and leadership required at the event. 

    About 63% of executives responded to a survey in 2021 that the key priority for their procurement is sustainability. This has shown that the growth of sustainability-driven action in business is thriving compared to 2020 and the prior years. 

    Her talk was mostly centered around the development of social procurement. Additionally, she discussed how integrating it is a multilayer process that needs visibility in the supply chain, various resources, and negotiation with all the stakeholders of an organization including its suppliers. 

    Another speaker at the event, Andy Daly, the head of corporate partnerships at Social Enterprise UK, explained their “buy social corporate challenges” in partnership with the DCMS department of the government. 

    Their aim is to collectively spend £1 billion with social enterprises through their procurement. Despite the pandemic, it became a successful year in regard to their spending. 

    Jaime Paiva, also an SPP member as co-chair for supplier diversity, represented Zurich as head of procurement and vendor management.

    In his talk, he made a point of understanding company strategy before applying a procurement strategy. Thus, it will help procurement professionals to understand fully how social procurement can contribute to the world. 

    Championing Sustainable Procurement Leadership

    The session panel for this was made up of SPP members who are also chief procurement officers. The important takeaway in this session was how suppliers can implement sustainable procurement practices by creating their own external ecosystem. 

    Lisa Martin, the chief procurement officer at GSK, describes this as building a bridge to the outside world to improve scope 3 practices. 

    The structure of procurement teams was tackled in the event. Thomas Udesen, the chief procurement officer at Bayer as well as the co-founder of SPP, said that the procurement function should have its own Center of Excellence (COE) that is both enabling and governing. 

    Bertrand Conqueret, chief of procurement at Henkel and also the co-founder of SPP, added organizations may find it best to have a team dedicated to sustainability who work to implement the practices into every function. 

    Bertrand likes the mindset of sustainability being a catalyst of innovation in what he calls “sustaination”. Thomas suggested that organizations should initiate supplier innovation sessions and facilitate briefing sessions to push for change. 

    Supplier Diversity Programs

    The diverse panel includes the founder and CEO of Minority Supplier Development (MSD) UK, Mayank Shah, and representatives of large corporate bodies. 

    The UN definition of a diverse-owned business appears to be the most used. This refers to diverse businesses as 51% or more owned, managed, and controlled by members of underrepresented groups in the country in which they do their operations. 

    Zurich was again represented by Jaime Pavia who introduced the defining factors of a diverse supplier. Compared to 48% of the entire UK workforce, 61% of social enterprise workforces are female. 

    Additionally, 14% of social enterprises are led by a professional from a minority community compared to 8% of mainstream SMEs.  Furthermore, 55% of organizations reported having directors with a disability. 

    Mayank Shah has introduced the first certification for self-employed freelance ethnic minority founders which was launched last April this year. The certification recognizes device suppliers and enhances diverse procurement practices. 


    This was just a summary of some of the 20 talks held on World Sustainable Procurement Day. It was a fun and fruitful day as many professionals have learned so much. They have heard from all corners of the sustainability and business worlds. 

    Many professionals have become aware of the challenges in sustainability procurement which all procurement and supply chain professionals will undertake to contribute to the world.

    Frequentlyasked questions

    What is the World Sustainable Procurement Day?

    It is an event in which procurement and supply chain professionals gather which aims to empower and equip procurement professionals in facing sustainability Challenges.

    Who organized this event?

    The event is organized by the Sustainable Procurement Pledge which will run until 2030 to raise awareness across the profession.

    What is sustainable procurement?

    It is the process of integrating environmental, social, and governance goals into the procurement and supply chain.

    About the author

    My name is Marijn Overvest, I’m the founder of Procurement Tactics. I have a deep passion for procurement, and I’ve upskilled over 200 procurement teams from all over the world. When I’m not working, I love running and cycling.

    Marijn Overvest Procurement Tactics