The influence of sustainability is apparent across many organisations—seemingly due to their own conscience, but likely due to the increased pressures from investors, company boards and employee mentality. These internal and external opinions seem to provoke more change within a business.
It’s important to look further and delve deeper into what is really happening in terms of business sustainability practices and companies’ influences for targeting carbon neutrality, diversity and inclusion, and sustainable procurement. EcoVadis—provider of ’the world’s most trusted business sustainability ratings’—and the Stanford Graduate School of Business have released their Sustainable Procurement Barometer 2021, which highlights some of their findings.
The report was first published in 2007 and benchmarks the sustainable procurement initiatives of companies across various industries. The report incorporates the feedback from two surveys, one conducted on buyers and the other on suppliers. The key finding from this year’s publication, include:
- 63% of company executive teams say that sustainable procurement is a ‘very important’ factor in their business practices—compared to 25% in 2019—while the importance of cost reduction has reduced from 56% to 36% over the same period.
- 63% of buyers and 71% of suppliers say that sustainability helped them endure the Covid-19 pandemic.
- 70% of sustainable procurement leaders said that supply chain resilience is a desired outcome.
- Mid-size organisations are committing to sustainable procurement and they believe that tools and resources are limiting factors.
- Despite pressures from Covid-19, there was only a 7% decrease in sustainable procurement commitments.
- 46% of suppliers perceive their customer’s sustainability commitments—large organisations with revenue of US$1bn or more—as ‘important only on paper’—a similar figure to previous years.
Covid-19 Shapes Sustainable Procurement
Without a doubt, the coronavirus pandemic provoked its fair share of supply chain challenges. It soon became apparent that sustainability would grow as a result, but organisations seem to have accelerated their sustainability initiatives early on. As a result, the important aspects of sustainable procurement have come to light and the Barometer shows where they sit generally among the survey respondents.
The general trend shows that Covid-19 has preserved or accelerated sustainable procurement practices.
The report also highlights the shift in some of the main sustainable procurement drivers, including environmental impact, labour and human rights issues, social responsibility and business ethics.