John Elkington is a world authority on corporate responsibility and sustainable development, and was one of the keynote speakers for the EcoVadis SustaIn 2015 event held in Paris earlier this year. Elkington is the Founding Partner and Executive Chairman of Volans and co-founder of SustainAbility. He also writes extensively in many publications including The Guardian, and for GreenBiz.
In this video, John discusses sustainable procurement challenges and the role of Ecovadis.
‘Sustainable procurement is a discipline which is emergent, but for many people in the wider world, including many people in business, it is still out of sight, out of mind. It’s a bit like Total Quality Management when that first came through. I think one of the expectations I have is that in the same way that we are seeing Chief Sustainability Officers sort of surfacing in different parts of the world in the last couple of years, 5-7 years, I think we will see Chief Purchasing and Procurement Officers going through some sort of similar arc in this space of sustainability.
I think there is now a strengthening business case for sustainable procurement. The problem is that the sustainability agenda just has so many different issues now and so you’ve got to go through the process in thinking about what are the real priorities. People talk about materiality assessments and so on, but once that’s done, then I think there is a great deal that CPOs can bring to bear in this space.
And I think Ecovadis as a… service provider in that space is enormously important. I think over time, probably will also need to play a role in terms of building that wider perception of just why this is so important. Partly that’s media and partly also it’s persuading business leaders in the sorts of places where they gather, political and governmental leaders, that more needs to be done and now there are better ways of doing some of that stuff.’
-Transcript of video interview with John Elkington, EcoVadis Sustain2015 client committee event, March 2015.