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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sustainability Takes Shape as a Procurement Strategy

The Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council (SPLC) is scheduled to begin operations in Washington, D.C., with a webcast at 1 p.m. on July 23. The group views procurement as a strategic element of corporate social responsibility, and seeks to assemble “visionary professionals” who will “simplify, optimize, and standardize the practice of sustainable procurement.”

Credit: patpitchaya at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Credit: patpitchaya at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

A major goal of the SPLC is to channel some of the trillions of dollars spent by government, universities, private organizations, and others toward influencing the life-cycle impact of goods and services. To that end, the SPLC will establish procurement standards, devise a method of benchmarking progress, and formally recognize organizations and individuals that advance this and other related goals.

The start-up staff is small — two people: Executive Director Jason Pearson, and Outreach Director Sam Hummel. Once the webcast takes place next month, the organization will shift to a board-run operation. A founding summit is slated for Aug. 27-28 at the National Academy of Science, during which four goals will be discussed:

  • Build consensus around the mission and vision of the SPLC
  • Finalize governance of the council
  • Adopt a work plan for the upcoming year (2013-14)
  • Formalize the SPLC’s principles of sustainable purchasing.

Sustainability is, of course, a vital business concept. The idea, which basically means using resources efficiently and productively, and with an eye toward renewing them for coming generations, can be a powerful incentive in the development of complementary supports, from technology to business models and product development.

If nothing else, a serious commitment to sustainability aligns businesses and the private sector with laudable objectives regarding conservation of natural resources, which can yield positive returns in market perception and revenue.

This organization could be a factor in the development of procurement strategies. In a future posting I will look at the SPLC, its members, and how sustainability might affect procurement.

For now, check out the group at www.purchasingcouncil.org, where you can also register for the launch webinar.

 

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