What is a sustainable purchasing policy?

Adopting a sustainable purchasing policy should be at the top of any company’s list of priorities. By partaking in ethical and eco-friendly purchasing, aligned with the global business strategy, you become an active participant in positively transforming the world and help raise consumer awareness through your exemplary attitude.

Why do you need a sustainable purchasing policy?

In response to the questioning of current consumption habits, as well as the weakened economic, social and environmental climate, businesses must recognise and assess their impact on society. As part of general CSR principles, the adoption of a sustainable purchasing policy will enable you to be a market player while at the same time protecting the environment.
Sustainable purchasing requires a company to assume all its responsibility, in complete transparency with its various stakeholders, both internal and external. It must take into account the economic, social, energy and environmental impact of every one of its actions, from the product/service’s design to the end of its lifecycle.
It is also a commitment to serve society by participating in the circular economy, in the process consuming more responsibly while control cost. A company that follows a voluntary and sustainable purchasing policy becomes a human citizen without losing competitiveness.

A sustainable purchasing policy: the keys to success

A sustainable purchasing policy cannot be improvised; its objectives need to be clearly defined. Prior preparation is essential for each stage of the process.

Strong societal engagement of stakeholders

Purchasing, due its key role at the core of the business strategy, is an important factor in the success and profitability of a company, providing it reduces costs. To avoid any negative impacts, the purchasing policy requires belief and commitment, as well as a global overview of the stakeholders so that each one can rise up to their societal responsibility within the respective sectors. Training, communication, mobilisation, dialogue and feedback are all necessary components to successfully combining an ethical policy with a sustainable strategy. You must foster a team dynamic that prioritises discourse and trust between the various stakeholders.

Sustainable relationships with suppliers

It is vital that you form close partnerships with suppliers in order to have tighter control over sourcing and to cut costs. A company must maintain an open dialogue to stay up to date with their services and seize opportunities for potential development. The evaluation of their societal and environmental responsibility is an important factor in the final choice of service provider. The ethical commitment must be mutual, in keeping with the core company values. This partnership can be formalised through a written charter.

A targeted purchasing policy for more ethical consumption

A powerful lever of sustainable development, it is a matter of purchasing more environmentally friendly, ethical and fair-trade products. Good purchasing practices, transparency on products’ manufacturing conditions and repeated communication campaigns encourage sustainable consumption.
A company can create real added value by raising public awareness on the environmental, social and energy quality of a product and/or service. By doing so, it promotes its image, expertise and reputation on the subject of CSR, increasing its appeal to consumers concerned by social issues.

Choosing the right products: which criteria to consider when buying IT equipment

Landline and mobile phones, computers, tablets, data centres and printers — the professional use of IT equipment results in enormous and worrying amounts of greenhouse gas emissions (an estimated 2.5% of global emissions).
To reduce this carbon footprint, a company’s purchasing policy must include certain criteria for IT investments: eco-designed, durable and energy-friendly products. Furthermore, these products must be produced by a CSR-mature manufacturer which has committed and taken concrete actions to reduce its environmental footprint.
To make these good practices reality, a company should also look out for European ecolabels, to ensure they invest in equipment that has the smallest possible impact on the environment throughout its lifecycle: from the sourcing of raw materials, to its manufacture, use and final recycling.
But besides the carbon footprint and environmental impact, the social footprint also plays a crucial role. Companies must pay close attention to all the stakeholders in its ecosystem, in order to conserve them in the long term.
Supply chain governance, exchange, dialogue, mutual engagement, long-term cost control and risk management: a sustainable purchasing policy (especially for IT equipment) is a fundamental pillar of sustainable development, itself a powerful driver of economic growth.

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