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Transforming Green Ideals into Fiscal Policies

An advisory issued by KPMG, Inc. this month notes that the company's survey of 600 senior-level procurement professionals found that "42 percent of respondents regularly evaluate suppliers on environmental and human rights performance."

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An advisory issued by KPMG, Inc. this month notes that the company's survey of 600 senior-level procurement professionals found that "42 percent of respondents regularly evaluate suppliers on environmental and human rights performance."

"Procurement's increasingly crucial role in sustainability initiatives stems from its singular ability to generate savings and efficiencies with each and every transaction an organization makes while ensuring compliance with purchasing guidelines," said Jamie Duke, chief operating officer at SciQuest, Inc. "The ability of eprocurement systems to control what items can be purchased from which suppliers carries great weight and gives organizations the oversight they need to ensure that their green purchasing policies are followed."

 

SciQuest is seeing a dramatic increase in interest among its customers regarding steps they can take to effectively utilize eprocurement to achieve core sustainability goals. Duke notes that organizations seeking to institute green procurement guidelines, processes or initiatives should consider three fundamental points:

   

    --  Develop sustainability guidelines for suppliers: Eprocurement solutions enable procurement operations to direct spending to preferred suppliers and are designed to help achieve compliance, whether it's buying against specific contracts, achieving diversity goals or doing business with suppliers that meet green standards. Leaders in sustainability put guidelines for suppliers in place and rate them on criteria such as the use of recycled materials, Energy Star compliance and earth-friendly packaging. These organizations then direct their spending or grant-preferred status to suppliers that score well.

 

    --  Utilize procurement dashboards for effective communication: Eprocurement solutions are particularly effective at communicating important information not only related to the purchase of items, but also their disposal in accordance with sustainability goals. For example, users at the University of California, San Diego not only purchase their computers through the SciQuest system, but can also find contact and additional information regarding how to dispose of existing hardware in order to redirect it from landfills. This ability is particularly relevant to the disposal of hazardous materials, such as chemicals and other items that can result in contamination.

 

    --  Consider solutions that integrate the entire internal and external purchasing process: Leading eprocurement solutions enable procurement operations to fully integrate the purchasing process for externally sourced goods and services with the operation of internal stockrooms, warehouses, lab freezers and supply closets. In addition to preventing the purchase of duplicate items already on site and more accurate inventory management, a fully integrated internal and external purchasing system enables organizations to increase the number of bulk purchases -- a key factor in decreasing the amount of packaging material used and the number of deliveries required.

  

While the KPMG survey found that green procurement is on the rise, it also noted that suppliers' sustainability and social responsibility records rank low among organizations' priorities when compared to factors such as price, quality and reliability.

 

“With the modern tools we have at our disposal, procurement professionals have the ability to not only save their organizations money while achieving environmental goals, but also to provide green companies with a significant market," said Linda Collins, Senior Director of Procurement and Contracts at the University of California, San Diego and a leading proponent of sustainability in higher education. "UC San Diego is one of the nation's greenest universities, so utilizing these tools meshes perfectly with our campus-wide commitment to environmentally sustainable solutions.

 

Source: SciQuest, Inc.