M  S Boss

10 top tips from your peers on how to inspire procurement to embrace sustainability

October 31, 2016


How do you build a culture that motivates purchasing teams to make responsible purchasing decisions? 

When Oliver Hurrey, Executive Director at 2degrees, was invited to take part in one of the panel discussions at Ethical Corporation’s Sustainable Supply Chain Summit, discussing how to "Create and build a culture mind-shift", we did what we do best at 2degrees. We canvassed our extensive network and crowdsourced the very best examples and case studies from experts across the industries.

Here are 10 of the best tips from those in both procurement and sustainability, to inspire your procurement team to embrace sustainability:


1. Successful, and advantaged, sustainability cultures embrace innovation. At Dell we have numerous venues for employees, suppliers, and want-to-be suppliers to bring their innovation ideas. That's how we developed our industry leading packaging, closed loop recycling, and many other award winning - and lower cost – programs.

- Oliver Campbell, Director Procurement & Packaging Innovation, Dell

2. Enhancing levels of relationship management through greater social interaction. The sharing of ideas freely between all stakeholders drives innovation, which in turn maximises value in the final marketplace at less cost to the supply chain as a whole.

- Professor Richard Wilding, chair of supply chain strategy, Cranfield School of Management

"Cultural flows through results, success breeding success." Andy Horne, KPMG

3. Adding a focus on an impact that matters. At Deloitte we focus on 'Making an impact that matters' ... for your company, for yourself and your team, and for society. Procurement have a huge role in making an impact commercially and to deliver value.

- Lance Younger, Supply Chain Partner, Deloitte

4. Building it into people’s goals and objectives. This may be frowned upon by some but it makes it real and heightens the importance. Cultural then flows through results, success breeding success. We've also seen a real difference when we've allowed the individual categories to create their own strategies on sustainability, our only request being, it has to link to our 3 areas of focus (environment, inclusion and diversity, and social mobility).

- Andy Horne, Supplier Management Centre of Excellence, KPMG

5. Seeing is believing and can really change hearts and minds. Give some of them the opportunity to travel with the sustainability team, meet with suppliers, and provide them with real life examples to cement their understanding. I firmly believe very few individuals set out to not respect human rights or have positive effect on environment, they just don't appreciate the impact of their actions.

- Louise Nicholls, Head of Responsible Sourcing, M&S

6. Giving the teams informed insights into their impacts. Building it into part of their everyday roles and encouraging teams to be fully accountable for the impact they have. Everyone has to own sustainability for it to become 'business as usual'- not just the 'sustainability' teams. Building into KPIS does help, but this alone won't change a mindset.

- Joanne Mourant, Made-By


7. Making sure sourcers understand the sustainability impact of their sourcing decisions on the ground and to help them understand the importance of sustainability through a lense they can relate to. I believe that no sourcer is indifferent to sustainability issues at their suppliers.

- Procurement Sustainability Manager, A major pharmaceutical company

8. Challenging the team's thinking around social, environmental and profitable impact. I've previously built this into the sourcing strategy process and during review meetings I’ve agreed routes forward with the team and business leadership.

- Edward Fuchs, Chief Procurement Officer, ARYTZA (a global baking company with brands such as Delice de France)

"You've hit the nail on the head when you link culture to sustainability" Chris Hughes, Heathrow Airport

9. Sharing insights and awareness so they pass knowledge on up and down the chain to help drive change. I think it is all about knowledge and understanding. Our business values are about buying ethically and sustainability. The team are exposed to stories which drive engagement - from environmental issues which our industry can effect to redesign a product; to having a sustainability story to challenge human rights issues. 

- Gill Thorpe, CEO, The Sourcing Team

10. You've hit the nail on the head when you link culture to sustainability. My team at Heathrow see sustainability first as a 'value' and then as a practical agenda. For us it's one of our core values which we describe as 'doing the right thing' - if sustainability is part of our values and culture then it's who we are and aspire to be; individually, as a procurement team and as a company.

- Chris Hughes, Head of Procurement Strategy, Heathrow Airport

11. What they all said(!)...

But you can also help your procurement team to empower your suppliers to cut cost, risk and drive innovation, at scale, through online collaboration. Suppliers that get the support from their peers to embed best-practice and go beyond compliance will be more valuable to you and will be lower risk. On average they trust their customers up to 4 times more than suppliers that don't get that support.

- Oliver Hurrey, Executive Director, 2degrees

Find out how we're helping procurement teams from major brands to collaborate with their suppliers on our new Sustainable Manufacturing Platform, to cut costs, risks and environmental impacts. We launch in January 2017, with a core group of pioneering businesses as founding partners - including Unilever and many of their manufacturing suppliers. To join them, please contact: Oliver Hurrey (+44 7585  906123).