Sustainable procurement standard puts stakeholders on the price-tag

Press release: 17th August 2010

Organizations are increasingly looking at the environmental impact of their purchases, as a way to improve their relationships with stakeholders.

Sustainable procurement means considering the wider public when making purchasing decisions, adding a ‘triple bottom line’ to the cost of products and services. It’s a concept that’s already established in the public sector, and is now gaining traction in the private sector too.

"Understanding how our products, operations, and supply chain contribute to our overall environmental impact is fundamental to our business going forward." says Mark Chamberlain, head of procurement at BAE systems. And it’s more than just eco-friendly light bulbs and recycled paper. A sustainable procurement strategy can help develop stable relationships with suppliers and markets.

"Sustainable procurement is more than just buying 'Green' products" says Geoff Stafford, Ethical Trading and Sustainability Purchasing Manager at HSBC Bank. "It's another way of looking at how a firm spends its money. It can mean buying better products, but it can also mean buying products that were made in more environmentally and socially positive places and working with suppliers that share your own firm's values and support the communities in which they operate."

The benefits of sustainable procurement

As well as being a boon for stakeholders who often bare the costs of externalities like pollution, there are "tangible benefits" for organizations "through enhanced reputation, lower costs, and greater employee morale." according to Mr. Stafford.

BS 8903 is a new, ‘world first’ standard which can help organizations apply the principles of sustainable procurement. Developed by a committee of industry experts, the standard provides initial guidance for newcomers, as well as an organized roadmap for those who may have years of sustainability under their belts.

Adherence to British standards is voluntary. They are best practice documents agreed by experts in the field. As well as being widely used within the UK, they are used by many organizations around the world.