‘Bottom-up’ sustainability at the Sustainable Events Summit 24/01/2013
I attended the Sustainable events summit last Thursday and found the day really useful day in terms of both speakers and the issues that arose out of the debates.
It is clear that sustainability isn’t a passing fad and is here to stay, and following the Olympics, today major corporate brands and events organisers see sustainability as part of their DNA. There are some really innovative suppliers out there but potential customers don’t know who they are. The problem seems to be a lack of engagement. What is really needed, is a means to bridge this gap and bring the two together. Events like the summit are one way for suppliers to speak to the companies further up the chain on how they can enhance the sustainability credentials of an event. Being innovative doesn’t always attract the attention of the target companies, nor does it always address the barriers of getting a target company to use new supplies. A comprehensive sustainability policy may be one method of overcoming this barrier.
Another question that was discussed is whether a company is swayed by the sustainability standards of its current suppliers? Or will the company change to new suppliers with higher sustainability standards? A solution is for the company to assess its procurement criteria and engage with its current suppliers on the potential to meet higher sustainability standards. If this is not possible within a certain timeframe then there is the possibility that different suppliers will be procured. Factors affecting this solution include: the company’s drivers for managing sustainability issues, its relationship with its current suppliers, and the weighting of procurement criteria such as cost and operational performance versus sustainability weightings.
A company needs to think about how far sustainability issues are integrated within its procurement policies and procedures. Sustainability criteria could be set through stakeholder engagement processes and a benchmarking exercise. The benchmarking exercise will make the process more impartial and could include an assessment of competitor’s suppliers, and the suppliers identified during networking events and other desk-top research.
There are a number of benefits from having sustainable procurement policies and procedures such as companies and their suppliers realising resource efficiency savings, risk reduction, reputation enhancement, and importantly, a fully engaged supply chain.
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