How can the procurement department lead the way in company green initiatives?

September 10th, 2008

The role of procurement is pretty clear. At least it is to this author. It is also why procurement is the most important job in retail.

The role of procurement is pretty clear. At least it is to this author. It is also why procurement is the most important job in retail.

Others may argue with the last sentence, so let’s be more specific as to the other departments that are vital, yet no where near as important or in the position to lead as procurement. Not store operations, not finance, not information technology, not loss prevention, not human resources. They all use the products and services you negotiate the terms, conditions and pricing for. The impact these organizations can have on the net profitability of a company pale by comparison to what can be accomplished by procurement professionals armed with the most current e-procurement tools. Every good and service for resale and not for resale that comes in to a retail establishment has to go through the procurement process. That means it goes through buyers, category managers and other spend authorized team members. So, with the role of being the most important department, it is also incumbent upon procurement thought leaders to seize the opportunity to lead by example. One area that deserves your attention is driving and supporting green initiatives and corporate sustainability initiatives beyond simply making sure the products you procure support eco friendly standards.

So where might procurement thought leaders aid their companies approach to sustainability efforts. The following are are ten simple suggestions to stimulate your thinking. How many more can your team come up with?

1. Provide your team with the tools to work from home.
2. Ask your vendors to not come to the office weekly anymore. Have them communicate via the internet.
3. Host more reverse auctions and RFI’s as a standard way of procuring your products.
4. Use recycled office supplies such as pens, pencils and paper.
5. Make all corporate non shipping fleet vehicles hybrids.
6. Reduce the use of paper contracts.
7. Make sure all contractors for remodels and new construction are LEEDS certified
8. Use eco friendly lighting at home and in the office.
9. Car pool to lunch.
10. Have a team whiteboard session on ways to use clean technologies such as wind, bio-fuel, solar etc.

We look forward to your comments.

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