As the global community grapples with pressing environmental challenges, businesses are increasingly recognising the need to align their operations with sustainable principles.
Sustainable procurement has emerged as a key factor for businesses’ shift towards responsible and ethical business practices.
Sustainable procurement is the integration of CSR principles into a company’s procurement processes and decisions. This integrates specifications, requirements, and criteria with environmental protection and societal well-being. It also ensures that a company’s core sustainability values permeate throughout the life cycle of its products and services.
This commitment can fortify a company’s brand reputation and pave the way for brand differentiation in a competitive market.
The Benefits of Sustainable Procurement
The World Economic Forum has shed light on the tangible benefits of sustainable procurement practices.
Organisations that adopt sustainable procurement can witness a remarkable increase in their brand value, ranging between 15-30%.
There’s also a direct impact on the bottom line as well. Sustainable procurement practices can lead to a cost reduction in the range of 9-16%.
Incorporating sustainability into procurement practices is not just about adhering to global standards or meeting environmental goals. It’s about future-proofing businesses, ensuring resilience, and paving the way for long-term profitability.
The NHS and Sustainable Procurement
The UK’s National Healthcare service, one of the world’s largest publicly funded health services, is paving the way in sustainable procurement practices.
As of April 2023, the NHS has mandated that all suppliers of new contracts for goods, services, and/or works with an anticipated contract value exceeding £5 million per year (excluding VAT) must publish a carbon reduction plan (CRP). This CRP should detail their emissions from the sources included in Scope 1 and 2 of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol, as well as a defined subset of Scope 3 emissions.
The NHS’s net zero supplier roadmap provides a clear path for suppliers, outlining the steps they must take to align with the NHS’s net zero ambitions by 2040. This roadmap is particularly significant given the NHS’s vast supply chain and its potential impact on the environment.
For entities as influential as the NHS, sustainable procurement is not just a trend but a necessity. By setting stringent requirements for its suppliers and prioritising sustainability in its procurement practices, the NHS is leading by example, demonstrating that large organisations can, and should, play a pivotal role in the global effort to combat climate change.
Current Business Landscape
While many companies acknowledge the critical importance of sustainable procurement, a smaller fraction have taken the leap from recognition to actual implementation.
This gap represents missed opportunities — not just for environmental stewardship but also for cost savings, brand reputation, and long-term business resilience.
The journey from understanding to action is paramount. Recognising the need for sustainable procurement is a commendable first step, but the real impact lies in its execution.
The Role of ClearVUE.Zero in Sustainable Procurement
Value chain emissions constitute a staggering 90% of a business’s total carbon footprint. A major first step companies can take to improve their sustainability performance and unlock public procurement opportunities is to know the source of these emissions.
ClearVUE.Zero provides a versatile carbon data sourcing platform, equipping companies with credible data for their sustainability disclosures.
This is no longer just about data collection; it’s about providing actionable insights that businesses can use to stay competitive.