Written by: Emily Catterson

Posted on: 30/01/24

The 3 Pillars of Sustainable Sourcing

The world is becoming increasingly tilted towards sustainability and sustainable mindsets. Businesses who take the lead in adopting eco-friendly practices are making the change holistic, taking into account the full spectrum of their organisation. Procurement is a big part of how businesses can take steps to become more sustainable, and there are three pillars which form a strong foundation for so-called ‘sustainable sourcing’.

1. Ethical Sourcing

This is the pillar in which the social impact of purchasing comes into effect. Economic equity and fair working practices, like coffee grown and harvested by workers paid a fair wage, is the first pillar of sustainable sourcing. Every change implemented, every step taken to mitigate the negative impact of the buying process, helps your sourcing strategy become more ethical, and therefore sustainable.

2. Eco-friendly Materials

This involves long-term, big-picture thinking. Consider the lifespan of the materials, products, and ingredients of practically anything you are looking to procure: is it biodegradable, compostable, water-soluble? When undertaking strategic, sustainable sourcing, it’s important to think of what happens to things after they are bought and used for their intended purpose. If their end destination is ultimately landfill, that’s not a great look for your organisation. Supply chain circularity, while rare, is a growing phenomenon.

3. Supplier Diversity

This pillar will help strengthen your supply base in more ways than simply making it more sustainable. By diversifying your suppliers, not only are you supporting suppliers from diverse backgrounds, but you are also helping to mitigate the risk of a supply shortage should the unexpected happen. By collecting a wide range of supplier information and having that information to hand, you have a wide range of potential sources to employ for anything you might need. Everybody wins!

In conclusion, sustainable sourcing starts with a sustainable mindset. Taking a holistic approach and following the three pillars of sustainable sourcing is a great way to kick-start your journey towards a more sustainable and strategic sourcing approach. By enacting these changes not only will it improve the sustainability rating of your organisation, but it will help save money too, as these practices also mitigate certain risks associated with the supply chain.

If you’re at the beginning of your sustainable sourcing journey, it might be a good idea to look at digital solutions. ARCUS®, for example, can help you to reach your sustainable sourcing goals as it offers a streamlined approach to the entire sourcing process. You can embed sustainable values at the start of the supplier journey with our online tenders which feature customisable questionnaires for prospective suppliers. These questionnaires can feature sustainability-based questions, and that information can then inform the basis of a decision on whether or not to move forward with that particular supplier.

For more information on our Tenders and eAuctions, get in touch today, we’re happy to answer all queries.

Happy sustainable sourcing!