Procurement Professionals Asked to Drive CSR Initiatives
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By Morgan International Staff Writers
Speaking at a summit in London, Matt Beddoe, head of Procurement at Nestle said. ‘“I don’t think it [CSR] is necessarily a procurement challenge, I think it’s about how procurement can support, and also bring new things to the party, to develop those greater purposes.” This core of Beddoe’s point was that we as individuals, as buyers, must take individual responsibility for our business’s CSP goals.
It is about culture
Getting this right starts with the hiring process – recruiting procurement professionals who professionally and personally have a commitment to the future of the planet – and see their own role in performing their role in a socially responsible way. The culture then needs to give that individual the right ecosystem to drive forward CSR initiatives. What do I mean by that? You can have a whole team of procurement professionals who want to do the ‘right thing’ but they have to have corporate backing.
A great example is straws. The buyer in our example needs to purchase 100,000 straws. They get a quote for plastic and paper. The paper straws are a third more expensive than the plastic straws. The buyer (thinking about disposal and recycling) puts forward a business case to buy the paper straws. But the corporation holds the purse strings. In summary, we can ask procurement professionals to be socially responsible, but they are ultimately bound by the strategy and culture of the organisation.
At the coalface
The reason procurement professionals are in an ideal position to drive forward CSR initiatives is because they are responsible for the purchase of goods and services – typically from cradle to grave. They manage the relationships with the suppliers who produce these good and services. This puts them in an ideal position of influence.
What this tells us is that not only is the procurement function absolutely integral to delivering upon CSR for the organisation, we are also seeing individuals with a genuine inclination to deliver their role in an ethical way.