What things to consider before investing in sustainable procurement?
Many people consider sustainable procurement a myth, and there is no way it can be implemented in the business, at least at the current time. However, seeing how the entire world was affected by the pandemic and the supply chain industry suffered the most, it is the peak time when a business can invest in sustainable procurement and convert it from a myth to a concept.
However, introducing sustainability in the procurement process is not easy. There are so many factors that you need to keep in mind at all levels of the supply chain, from raw material collection to disposal of waste. This is why we have introduced how sustainable procurement can be implemented at different levels of the supply chain business in the following article.
Collection of raw materials
The first step in our supply chain is collecting raw materials from various vendors. The raw materials include lumber, fabric, chemicals, minerals, etc. Regardless of what it is, you must find answers to the following questions if you want to establish sustainability in this particular step.
- Are the raw materials any component or a substance that would be used further in manufacturing?
- Can you reuse the materials being procured from the raw material supplier? Is it nonrenewable and renewable, and if it is renewable, is the material harmful to the environment and toxic to any living Organism?
- If the raw material needs to be extracted from somewhere, like minerals and ores, is the extraction method harmful to the environment or leaves any toxic residue? How much energy is consumed during the extraction process?
For product manufacturing, you need to focus on sustainability reporting and understand if the processes release any pollutants into the environment. Apart from this, you also need to check if it is consuming energy and, if so, how much energy is consumed for each manufacturing cycle.
To make the packaging process sustainable in the supply chain business, you must focus more on the quantity and quality of the materials used. For instance, you can ask the following questions:
- Is the material used for packaging reusable or recyclable?
- Is the business using an upskilled material for packaging?
- What type of packaging is used for the business?
- Can the packaging element be refilled with anything else at the user end?
During product distribution, you can use sustainability reporting software to check how much carbon emission is due to the transport vehicles. For instance, you can check how the carbon emission depends on the distance traveled, the type of vehicles being used, and the fuel used. Usually, many businesses have already adopted electric vehicles for transportation to reduce carbon footprint and pollution.
For waste disposal, you have to consider how the product can be disposed of and destroyed, the residues left after the disposal cycle is complete, and so on. It would help if you also focused more on finding ways to refurbish the waste and recycle it to make something productive.
Introducing sustainable procurement is not a cup of tea. There are so many things that need to be done, which have already been discussed in brief. In real-time, when you want to implement this theory, you have to focus on every aspect in detail to find the resolutions, predict any problem that might arise in the future, and have a fail-safe plan.