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2019 Sustainable Procurement Barometer: From Compliance to Performance

July 23, 2019 EcoVadis EN

See insights into how sustainability is evolving in procurement priorities, and the tools and processes being used to drive tangible improvements and business results. Conducted with NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business, the analysis suggests organizations are placing greater emphasis on business ethics and labor and human rights practices compared to three years ago.

While commitment to sustainable procurement has increased significantly over the past three years (81%), most companies today are still managing programs from a compliance standpoint, a trap that leads to limited engagement and lacks incentives to drive performance and long-term improvements.

The study found that 66% of procurement organizations cite regulatory compliance as a critically important aspect of their sustainable procurement programs, which could mean companies aren’t realizing that more innovative approaches are available that can drive competitive advantage and business value.

Despite the emphasis on compliance, organizations in sustainable procurement are seeing their programs progress and drive positive impact. Other key findings include:

  • Executive-level support has increased significantly. In 2013, the number one obstacle facing procurement teams was executive and board support (50%). Today, leadership buy-in is only seen as a challenge for 13% of respondents (compared to 24% in 2017).
  • There’s a clear return on investment. Over half (58%) of respondents say they’re better able to mitigate risk through sustainable procurement, and 30% say their programs contribute to cost reduction. Other benefits include innovation and access to new categories (25%) and improved procurement metrics (24%). Companies with mature programs reported more benefits across the board – risk mitigation (88%), cost savings (35%), innovation (29%) and improved procurement metrics (53%).
  • Greater emphasis is placed on all sustainability themes. For 34% of procurement organizations, labor and human rights practices have become significantly more important over the past three years and 33% say business ethics have become more important. Only 22% observed the same shift in environmental concerns.

For a complete look at the key trends and issues in the sustainable procurement landscape today, download the 2019 Sustainable Procurement Barometer and read our Barometer insights blog series.

About the Author

EcoVadis EN

EcoVadis is a purpose-driven company whose mission is to provide the world's most trusted business sustainability ratings. Businesses of all sizes rely on EcoVadis’ expert intelligence and evidence-based ratings to manage risk and compliance, drive decarbonization, and improve the sustainability performance of their business and value chain. Its AI-powered risk mapping, actionable scorecards, benchmarks, carbon action tools, and insights guide a resilience and improvement journey for environmental, social and ethical practices across 200 industry categories and 175 countries.

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