Sustainable Procurement and Lent - part 1 May 1, 2019, 1:09 p.m.

The period of Lent and build up to Easter holidays marks a period when Christians strive hard to achieve purified heart and mind.


It is the period of giving up certain luxuries in order to replicate the account of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ's journey into the desert for 40 days. It is probably a period if you introduce sustainable procurement in your organization, it will go a long way in achieving ethical practises, responsible team and preserving the environment.


What is sustainable procurement?


Sustainable procurement is meeting of business needs for materials, goods, utilities and services in an environmentally-friendly, responsible and ethical way.


Some simple sacrifices procurement could introduce in their organizations during Lent and Easter season aimed at achieving sustainability;

  • Eat less meat
  • Bring your own mug
  • Think before you print
  • Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
  • Use LED lightbulbs
  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn off the lights
  • Observe ethical practises
  • Pay for lunch taken with your supplier
  • Power down computers


This is a simplistic view of sustainable procurement and a good start to more comprehensive sustainable program for your organization and supply chain.


Remember! Doctors save lives one at a time, procurement will save or ruin millions of lives with one transaction.


Sustainable procurement is important not just for admirable environmental pursuit, it will also improve the bottom line of a business. The ability to express sustainability benefits in financial terms is one of the key drivers needed to instill sustainability into company business models.


Examples of value drivers achieved through sustainable procurement include;


Cost Reduction.


Examples of cost reduction from sustainability initiatives are energy-reducing initiatives (which reduce energy costs), reduced over-specification, reduced consumption and reduced social and environmental compliance costs.


This is the reason many organizations invest in energy audits.


Risk Reduction


Examples of risk reduction from sustainability initiatives are enhanced brand value from potential bad supplier practices (child labour, local pollution, corrupt suppliers) and mitigating the economic cost of supply chain disruptions (non-compliance with environmental regulations).


Revenue Growth.


Examples of revenue growth from sustainability initiatives are through the adoption and innovation of eco-friendly products and services, price premium or income from recycling programs.


So how do you make sustainable procurement work in organization?


Be the champion:

Provide clear direction for both procurement and your supply base providing consistent leadership and policy-making on sustainable procurement issues.

Set the standard:

Fully implement existing procurement policy and standards and ensure these are extended across all procurement activity. This will improve performance and underline expectations, including the establishment of well understood minimum standards for your suppliers.


Rationalise existing procurement standards into a single integrated procurement framework, which covers both policy relevance and appropriateness.


Filter and select new procurement policies to ensure they are enforceable, before considering implementation.

Develop capability: 

Ensure you and your team have the requisite professional skills to support the efficient deployment of sustainable procurement.

Tool up: 

Provide the appropriate tools, training and information resources to execute these standards.