I nestled into the Head of Consulting role in 2019, this role encompassed many things, one of the main priorities was to champion the Sustainable Choice program and the lovey ladies that make it all happen.
Whilst I would support all products that come under my purview, sustainability including recycling, reuse, green solutions, saving our planet through better, greener choices has always been important to me. I am child of the 60’s, growing up in the simpler 70’s when milk was delivered in bottles, fruit was bought at the fruit markets and taken away in waxed cardboard boxes loose – no plastics. Cars were, made from metal in the most part. Soft drinks, like milk came in glass bottles. Life just seemed simpler. But I became a vocal advocate after seeing “The Inconvenient Truth” with Al Gore, in 2006.
In early 2020 the sustainable consultants and I agreed that one of our objectives was to move our sector from procurement to sustainable procurement. Everyone knew about sustainability but from the perspective of procurement staff it was difficult to know when and how to incorporate it. And therein did lie the problem. People were trying to include or incorporate sustainability.
When we realised this, our messaging was changed to emphasise, that sustainability was not an after-thought or an add-on. To embed sustainability, procurement staff needed to replace procurement with sustainable procurement.
If a council wanted to buy an item the question the procurement staff needed to ask was not which was the cheapest, how much could I save? But, if I buy this thing, will the supplier be a Modern Slavery free supplier, or will the supplier utilise local or indigenous labour to build or manufacture the item in Australia?
The question procurement staff should be asking in 2024 is, how can my procurement influence the market to create local jobs, or encourage utilisation of green energy, or encourage better product manufacturing that reduces energy, reduces waste, includes diversity and inclusivity, or enables innovation.
A good procurement outcome is the delivery of a quality product at a reasonable price with agreed supplier support and customer service.
A sustainable procurement outcome is all the above plus a social, community or environmental outcome that may increase the cost of the procurement but has long term benefits.
So, I was elated when I saw an article that is linked to this website and that Procurement Trend #08 noted the words that I had repeated many times over the last three years. This is precisely what we had identified and have tried to raise within our Local Government sector. Procurement as a Force for Good – this is the apex of our profession.
Sustainable Choice and LGP Consulting are ready and waiting to answer all your sustainable procurement questions. To do so, contact us via email.