For most of our clients, more than 80% of their impact is in their supply chain. In the past, addressing this impact seemed difficult due to the complexity of global supply chains. These days, there are improved analysis tools, frameworks, and rating schemes to simplify the procurement process.
Here are 5 key drivers that are making sustainability in procurement a lot simpler:
- Improved Analytic Tools.
As with any area of sustainability (or any problem-solving system!), an important early step is to find out where the issues lie. “Heat maps” for sustainability impacts can now be generated through a number of tools, the best of which are based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodologies. Why? Because LCA is the only method that allows you to see the various environmental impacts across the full life cycle of the product, ensuring, for example, that reduced impacts during the manufacturing stage are not outweighed by increased impacts during the transportation or end-of-life phases. Edge has a unique toolset in the EXIOBASE for environmental and socio-economic modelling, and the Social Hotspot Database for social risk assessment, both of which have the breadth and depth to handle the complexity of global supply chains.
- Development of the Sustainable Procurement Guidance ISO 20400.
The ISO 20400 standard provides a common framework and language for sustainable procurement. It is a voluntary framework that provides procurement teams with guidance on how to integrate environmental, social, human rights, and governance elements into sustainable procurement practices and build traditional procurement capability.
- Reinvigorated Supply Chain School.
The Supply Chain Sustainability School is an Australian, not-for-profit initiative, established in 2015 to help enables socially, environmentally and economically sustainable supply chains for all organisation by providing educational resources to improve their sustainability knowledge. Read more about the Supply Chain School here.
- Market Penetration of the IS Tool.
The Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia’s IS Tool was launched in 2012. Contractors now expect IS Ratings to be stipulated in infrastructure contracts and have adjusted their internal processes accordingly. The sustainable procurement credits in particular are well suited to being driven by the central organisation, rather than being developed project by project. While this tool is only relevant to infrastructure projects, the Federal Government has maintained their strong commitment to a 10-year $120 billion infrastructure pipeline.
- Product Labelling a new standard.
The Environmental Product Declaration Scheme (EPD) is an important tool for procurement practitioners, making it easier to distinguish between the sustainability performance of similar products. Labels such as Environmental Product Declarations are also recognised through Green Star, the updated version of the IS Tool (Materials credit) and the Transport for NSW Sustainable Design Guidelines Version 4.0.
Ultimately these tools and frameworks need to be used to support supplier engagement to achieve real outcomes. Edge Impact is excited to be part of this drive for sustainability in procurement. We are currently working with organisations across the telecom, events, government, food, infrastructure and building sectors. We are also contributing our expertise to the UNEP’s 10 Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production.