Excerpt from the full article:

As part of the Achilles response to the global disruption COVID-19 has caused, we conducted a COVID-19 business continuity survey where we asked customers how their businesses are confronting the disruption in different business units including: health and safety, environment and sustainability, cyber risk, and ethical business management. A huge number of our customers participated in the survey enabling us to conclude that there are high levels of confidence around the visibility of risk and the mitigation plans in place. This is largely consistent across regions and sectors.

However, according to the survey responses there’s still some work to be done around business continuity plans and how to engage with supply chains to minimise disruption. While 59% of respondents have communicated with their supply chains around the measures that they are taking, 30% are not engaging with their supply chain on specific recommendations.

A clear theme is that collaboration is key, so we’ve gathered some feedback from our expert partners about how and where to focus efforts and some insight on what the ‘new normal’ might look like.

Environment and sustainability, Shaun McCarthy OBE, Chair of Supply Chain Sustainability School:

Sustainability took a back seat in previous crises; however, it is not the role it has taken in these unprecedented times.”

Sustainable procurement is not a new concept but it was codified into an international standard in 2017 with the publication of ISO 20400.

It applies to all types and sizes of organisation, from all sectors. It fits well with ISO 26000 and ISO 14001, describing how to address sustainability beyond the bounds of your own organisation and into the supply chain.

The four sections of the standard cover the strategic process. Starting with Fundamentals, it is necessary for organisations to create a ‘Golden Thread’ between organisational ambition and what to expect from your supply chain.

The next section, Policy and Strategy describes how to translate these requirements into something the supply chain can understand. This is often described in a policy document or ‘Charter’ (you can see an example available here).

One size does not fit all

One size does not fit all in sustainable procurement and the next section of the standard deals with how to organise your procurement function. Critical to this is the concept of setting priorities, understanding which categories of supply make the biggest contribution to your sustainability risks and opportunities.

Finally, the procurement process itself. If you have good procurement processes, they won’t need much change, you will just need to add your sustainability objectives to the many outcomes you try to achieve through good procurement.

A few things to consider:

  • It may be necessary to invest in building capacity in your supply chain, just dumping requirements on suppliers and relying entirely on the PQQ/tender process won’t work on its own
  • The culture of “let and forget” won’t work either. It is necessary to manage the sustainability performance of your supply chain is essential. What you measure is what you get
  • If sustainable procurement is done well it should not add cost. Sustainability should not cost you more but bad procurement will

For more information

Read the full article with all contributions on the Achilles website, 17 July 2020.

Shaun McCarthy OBE
Director
shaun@actionsustainability.com

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