Sustainability in supply chain

Aug 18, 2016 | News

By <a href="" target="_self">George Catchpole</a>

By George Catchpole

Marketing Manager

If you are serious about ongoing carbon reduction you will need to look beyond your own operations and consider the carbon impact of your supply chain.

Bio-bean turns waste coffee grounds into biofuels

There are many environmental risks associated with your supply chain and eliminating supply chain risks is now seen as the top priority for CSR and supply chain professionals across the world, according to Ethical Corp. But aside from the risks, there are other benefits to taking a structured approach to supplier engagement. These include lowering costs, improving products and services through collaboration, and gaining a competitive advantage. For example, Planet Mark-certified The Office Coffee Company is working with award-winning green energy company Bio-bean to turn its waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels (see picture).

Here are some tips on how to embed sustainable procurement in your business:

1. Make your position clear – make sure you have created and published a sustainability or environmental policy that lays out clearly your company’s position on sustainable procurement and ensure you set out in that policy what you expect from your suppliers

2. Evaluate how you do things – take a look at your current procurement processes and check how much sustainability features in those processes. Include your suppliers, commercial teams and product development teams in the exercise

3. Examine your risk – take a look your suppliers and analyse how risky they are and how much you spend on them. Ask yourself what are the key risks and the suppliers associated with these?

4. Measure performance – check how your suppliers are performing against your sustainability requirements. Some companies use ‘supplier scorecards’ that measure performance against key actions such as energy and resources

5. Engage with your suppliers – most suppliers are engaged in sustainability and are keen to communicate this to their customers. By asking for more than their sustainability policy you are likely to find outstanding achievements in your supply chain that will support your own objectives. It can add evidence to your corporate values too. If you have a large supply chain it is good practice to engage through actions such as supplier days.

For more on sustainable supply chains, to read our case study from the Office Coffee Company and for more carbon cutting tips, download our free Practical Guide to Cutting Carbon Emissions.

(Photo: courtesy of Bio-bean limited)