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Four tips for how procurement can bridge the sustainability gap – SAP

Procurement leaders can play a key role to bridge the sustainability gap, new SAP consumer research indicates. 

SAP surveyed consumers to understand how they prioritise sustainability in their purchasing decisions and what factors influence those decisions. 

It found that consumers are increasingly focused on making sustainable buying decisions, with more than half of consumers (51%) saying they made an effort to purchase from brands that practice sustainability during the past two years. 

This figure was an increase from 36% in SAP’s February 2022 survey and one in three consumers (36%) say that, when possible, they purchase from brands that practice ethical sourcing for their products.

SAP’s research also indicated inflation is biting a consumer’s willingness to buy more sustainably. Despite increasing their efforts to buy sustainably, 64% of consumers also say inflation has impacted their ability to prioritise sustainable and/or ethical products and services. The majority, 85%, said they would prioritise making more sustainable purchases if the cost barrier to do so was lower.

SAP says the survey “makes it clear that businesses need to reimagine existing business processes with sustainability in mind” and procurement can lay the foundations. 

“Procurement leaders cannot tackle this challenge alone. However, they can lay the foundation for success by harnessing their unique position to pave the way for sustainable innovation across the supply chain,” say SAP. 

Four key areas are suggested for a sustainable procurement plan: 

  1. Embrace sustainable sourcing: To reduce your company’s carbon footprint and greenhouse gas emissions, prioritise sustainable sourcing of materials and products.
  2. Adopt circular economy principles: Work collaboratively with suppliers to develop innovative solutions to recycle and reuse materials, reducing waste and minimizing the impact on the environment.
  3. Conduct supplier due diligence: Ensure that the vendors you work with follow ethical labour practices and protect the environment, mitigating risks to your company’s reputation.
  4. Promote social responsibility: Seek out and work with businesses that prioritize sustainability as a core business outcome and demonstrate their commitment to ethical and sustainable practices. Choose to partner with certified green businesses and ethical suppliers.

Read How Can Procurement Leaders Reimagine Business Processes for a Sustainable Future?

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