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Sustainable procurement doesn’t have to be a headache – here’s how your business can benefit

Smart business buying solutions from Amazon Business can help operationalise and scale your organisation's responsible purchasing programme.

For business leaders, environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals are very much front of mind. More than 70 countries, including China, the US and the European Union, now have firm pledges to reach Net Zero, and the UK is committed to hitting this by 2050. Businesses of all sizes are increasingly aware that they have to be part of the solution, rather than add to the problem.


Procurement leaders are uniquely positioned to drive positive change and broader business impacts on ESG goals. While organisational sustainability efforts have historically been grounded in ensuring compliance with regulations, a comprehensive, proactive approach to sustainable procurement can reduce risk exposure (such as reputational, brand safety or regulatory), create savings, and improve brand value for the enterprise.


Procurement departments are certainly aware of the need to thoroughly assess the provenance of the products they purchase. But while this may be possible with core purchases – usually involving large amounts of money where there is a direct relationship with the supplier – it is simply not possible to vet every single product, particularly in categories such as IT purchases, catering items and health products, where the overall spend may be lower but individual purchase volumes are higher.


A trusted smart business buying solution, such as Amazon Business, can help operationalise and scale a responsible purchasing program. As well as other benefits, including access to business-only pricing, a familiar user interface, and Amazon’s reliable delivery network, buyers can select more sustainable products across business-relevant categories, specifying from over 40 certifications covering a wide range of credentials.


This allows businesses to set specific requirements, and even set preferences, ahead of employee product searches. These out-of-the-box buying policies can direct your team to products and sellers that can help satisfy your organisation’s purchasing goals, and would make products with certain sustainability certifications the preferred product in a buyer’s search results.

“Our aim is to be a frontrunner in the industry and set an example of how it is possible to combine technology and sustainability. People are more likely to choose a greener option when it’s easier and more accessible.”

— Tash Clementis, Director of Marketing, Portus Digital

Clear labelling of products with sustainability certifications frees up time spent finding, validating and growing a base of suppliers that can help you meet your organisation’s responsible purchasing criteria, using an interface with which employees may already be familiar. In turn, business leaders can access pre-built reports (for example, orders, shipments, returns, refunds, reconciliation, related offers and the credentials report which contains product sustainability details), or build custom reports to identify purchasing patterns and track spend toward more sustainable products that meet ESG goals.


One example of a supplier that offer products with sustainability certifications is UK firm Portus Digital,[1] which helps to repurpose or recycle redundant computer equipment. “Our aim is to be a frontrunner in the industry and set an example of how it is possible to combine technology and sustainability,” explains Tash Clementis, Director of Marketing. “People are more likely to choose a greener option when it’s easier and more accessible.”


Amazon Business also works with suppliers to help them become certified, ensuring they can benefit from organisations looking to make more sustainable and responsible purchases. “We launched on Amazon to help more businesses make sustainable IT decisions,” says Rob Judd, Director of Sales at Portus Digital. “We’re pleased by the response we’ve managed to generate so far – it’s exceeded our expectations.”


Research from McKinsey[2] shows that organisations that embrace a comprehensive ESG strategy can enhance investment returns, increase top-line growth and keep and attract quality talent. Further, improvements on reporting can help businesses demonstrate their progress towards ESG goals more broadly, providing specific metrics to proactively measure against social responsibility and sustainability goals.


Amazon Business can also partner with organisations as they look to improve sustainability in other ways. Amazon Business Prime members can choose to consolidate their deliveries using Amazon Day, which gives them the choice of two days each week during which they can receive their orders. On, average, this reduces the number of packages. For larger orders, it’s also possible to receive bulk deliveries by the pallet, meaning organisations can stock up on items while minimising delivery journeys, where available.


Amazon Business, as part of Amazon, is committed to adopting sustainable practices, including reducing packaging and making use of electric delivery vehicles. It has also committed to power its operations with 100 per cent renewable energy by 2025.


With sustainability and responsible business rising up the agenda for organisations, investors and consumers, it’s vital companies take steps – and can demonstrate those steps – to source responsibly. This is an issue that all businesses must embrace, and one they cannot afford to ignore.



[1] Interview with Portus Digital occured in 2021

[2] https://www.mckinsey.com/capabilities/strategy-and-corporate-finance/our-insights/five-ways-that-esg-creates-value


Originally published on The Independent.

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