CPOstrategy explores five barriers companies are faced with in terms of sustainable procurement.

A robust sustainability strategy isn’t only a ‘nice to have’ any longer, it is quickly becoming one of the top items on the agenda in procurement.

Many organisations are implementing sustainability programmes with a view of helping them to cut costs, make their companies more competitive and secure a greener future for all.

But, adopting a greener way of working isn’t necessarily straightforward. Here are five barriers companies are faced with in terms of sustainability in procurement.

1. Acceptance from senior employees

Change isn’t always welcomed. Executives, particularly those that have been served the industry for a significant time period, aren’t always receptive or quick to embrace new strategies. Without buy-in from senior executives, positive change is trickier to achieve. However, by informing employees of the considerable advantages by making a shift, it could lead to an easier experience with less pushback.

2. Limited time and resources

Time, funding, and other resources are vital in ensuring the best results from sustainability. On a busy schedule, it can be challenging to implement a sustainable procurement policy but it is important to retain the knowledge that it won’t be achieved overnight.

3. Lack of support from suppliers

In a similar way to senior employees, getting suppliers on side can also be a hurdle. As suppliers are separate from your company, they potentially have less resources available or a different mindset. Suppliers may not recognise the importance of sustainability in the same way which could lead to a misalignment of priorities.

4. Higher costs

The prospect of a higher cost is one of the biggest concerns companies have when thinking about sustainable procurement. After switching to a sustainable procurement strategy, costs do tend to rise but by not switching sooner, it could lead to organisations paying even more in the future. For companies without a sustainable strategy, they will have to question whether they can afford to watch competitors implement green strategies and the impact this will have on what their customers demand.

5. Accessing the right technology

Technology can be an influential tool to help drive an organisation’s sustainability goals. Sometimes, a different set of digital tools to what is already existing within a company is necessary to make more of a concerted environmentally friendly effort. However, this comes with the caveat of new tools being time-consuming and requiring training to improve skills and knowledge. But once up to speed, using technology will mean greater efficiency to scale sustainability strategies.

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