What are some actions companies can take to implement an environmentally conscious purchasing program?

October 5th, 2011

Today’s post is by Ryan Melowic; Director of Customer Services at SafeSourcing.

With “green” sourcing becoming ever more important in today’s corporate landscape, let’s take a look at some actions companies can take to purchase environmentally focused, low cost quality products.

Request Green Products – When executing RFIs, RFPs and RFQs make sure you are clear with the participants on what it is you want.  Be sure to ask suppliers to offer you the most environmentally friendly product, with the highest quality and at the lowest price.   Remember, if you don’t ask you will not get it.

Create a Business Rule that includes Green – Express to potential vendors what you expect from your suppliers.  Industry groups have rules of conduct that stipulate behaviors in terms of emissions and handling waste.  Make reference to those or create your own, but be clear that it is more than a suggestion; that it is the way you want to do business and expect them to follow suit.

Train your suppliers – Most large companies have Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) professionals employed to help steer the roads of procurement and the supply chain.  Most medium to small companies, however, don’t have a devoted employee that is dedicated to learning about sustainably.  By creating training programs you can indicate what you are looking for from your supply sources.  When you do this, you’re raising the bar because you are training your suppliers in your best practices.

Award Companies that are doing things correctly – Keeping tabs on your suppliers and encouraging them to achieve certifications that support your CSR initiatives will show them you’re committed to being green.   Having these certifications required as part of how you review bids and award business will show them that it is beneficial for them to be similarly focused.

There will always be examples of companies whose reputation has been tarnished by some supplier. Proactive Management of your suppliers in support of your goals is a way to mitigate your risk. This can also show promote your company’s promise to reducing the environmental effect or carbon footprint of your business.

We look forward to and appreciate your comments.

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