The Task

Having undertaken their first ISO 20400 evaluation in 2017 (and the first evaluation anywhere in the world), Balfour Beatty wanted to have a re-evaluation to understand how far they have progressed over the intervening three years in aligning their procurement approach to the ISO 20400 Standard. As with the first evaluation, Action Sustainability’s assessment and subsequent report’s findings and recommendations will help Balfour Beatty take their procurement to even higher levels of sustainability.

The Action

Our team deployed our tried and tested method of assessing Balfour Beatty’s procurement policies and processes to understand how well sustainability is embedded in them and implemented in the projects. We reviewed Balfour Beatty’s approach against the ISO 20400 Standard’s evaluation sections – Policy and Strategy, Organising the procurement function and the Procurement Process.

The first phase of the evaluation involved reviewing Balfour Beatty’s documentation such as policies, strategies, job descriptions and tender assessment documents. The second part of our process involved interviewing various key people from across Balfour Beatty’s business, at different levels and in different roles. Through this engagement we were able to test how effectively sustainability objectives are deployed through procurement.

Due to the geographical spread of Balfour Beatty’s employees, it was decided to conduct all interviews over video conferencing. This was the first time we had conducted all evaluation interviews remotely. This enabled us to speak to a more diverse range of employees and removed the environmental impact of travel, simultaneously we did not lose any depth in the conversations.

The Outcome

Balfour Beatty were found to have significantly improved their approach to sustainable procurement and it is now assessed to be ‘mature’. This reflects a 30% increase on their initial assessment in 2017. The evaluation results give them an updated action plan to use across their business, helping them cement sustainability even more deeply into their interactions and relationships with their suppliers, contractors and stakeholders, as well as developing the sustainability knowledge of their staff. All of which contributes to achieving their sustainability goals and targets to reduce carbon emissions, material consumption and waste production, whilst improving labour standards, social value and wellbeing. The ISO 20400 Standard is an ideal platform to use to assess and then improve your procurement, supply chain management and sustainability outcomes.