When did sustainability become synonymous with the environment?

August 18th, 2011

Whenever I discuss sustainability of the e-procurement process, someone in the room inevitably asks what procurement has to do with the environment. The answer is a lot, however that is the subject of another post.

In this case sustainability has less to do with the environment and more to do with process, discipline and execution. Which can also impact green programs focused on  a company’s carbon footprint

According to Wikipedia a simple definition of sustainability, in general terms, is the ability to maintain balance of a certain process or state in any system. It is now most frequently used in connection with biological and human systems. In an ecological context, sustainability can be defined as the ability of an ecosystem to maintain ecological processes, functions, biodiversity and productivity into the future.

Sustainability has become a complex term that can be applied to almost every system on earth.

From a corporate perspective many investors look at sustainability as a framework for disciplined and responsible management, a key success factor in achieving economic gains.  Relative to e-negotiation this means being able to run the same process (events) over and over again quarter after quarter and year after year as the standard way in which  a company endeavors to improve quality, workflow and compress prices. To the extent that this process supports companies social initiatives relative to the environment and humanity new terminologies such as the term triple bottom line are emerging in discussions at the board level.

The Global Sourcing Council tells us that although sustainability has found its permanent place in corporate boardrooms, execution is still a challenging journey. Implementing sustainability in global sourcing operations becomes even more complex as it creates its own unique challenges.

Global service providers that subscribe to sustainable strategies will benefit by gaining competitive, green advantage with the global organizations.

Ask your e-negotiation service provider how they intend to implement a sustainable program for your company.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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