Why Green Procurement Matters Now!

At the onset of 2021, The Talanta Group of Companies, a network of Talanta.co firms operating in Africa, became a verified member of Leaders For Climate Action. At its core, this not-for-profit organization is a global community of organizations united by the will to counter the climate crisis through their actions.

Climate change is threatening the existence of human life on this planet. But unfortunately, humanity has been ignoring the problem for far too long. At Talanta.co, we joined this organization because we realized that we have to start acting on our own and use our influence and network to contribute to fighting climate change and caring for our environment.

An area that is intertwined with climate change’s seriousness is green procurement. A report by the Inter-American Development Bank described Green Procurement as “the acquisition of goods, works, services or consultancies whose results have the least possible harmful effects on the environment, human health and safety when compared to other competing and similar acquisitions or, those that make a positive impact on the environment.”

Green procurement compares price, technology, quality, and the product’s environmental impact, service, or contract. Its policies apply to all organizations, regardless of size. The programs may be as simple as purchasing renewable energy or recycled office paper or more involved such as setting environmental requirements for suppliers and contractors.

The beauty of “green” products or services is that they utilize fewer resources, last longer, and minimize their impact on the environment. True, some of these products or services have a higher initial outlay; however, the resultant savings are helpful in the long run.

Notwithstanding the high initial costs, green procurement policies and programs can reduce expenditure and waste; increase resource efficiency; and influence production, markets, prices, available services, and organizational behavior. They also assist countries in meeting multi-lateral requirements such as the Kyoto Protocol and Rotterdam Convention.

Are there any examples of companies with such procurement policies in place? Most certainly! Let us consider three examples.

Swedish-founded, Dutch-headquartered multinational conglomerate Ikea designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture. The company’s code of conduct focuses on environmental impact and working conditions. An external body verifies information submitted by suppliers. If suppliers do not meet the code, they are requested to remedy the situation, and if suppliers continually breach the code, they can be removed from Ikea’s suppliers’ list.

The code includes a list of non-negotiables, for example, waste and emission reductions, handling, storage and disposal of hazardous chemicals, and recycling, to name a few. The code also presses suppliers not to use chemical compounds and substances restricted by Ikea. It even goes as far as requiring suppliers to outline their source of the wood and associated processes.

In South Africa, Woolworths fish packaging has the words, ‘FISHING FOR THE FUTURE: Support our journey toward sustainable seafood.’ A quick search on their website and one finds this note:

“Given the importance of fish as a vital source of protein for billions of people, the state of the ocean’s fish stocks and marine ecosystems is a worldwide concern. Woolworths has shared this concern for a number of years. We’re therefore committed to procuring all our seafood from sustainable fisheries and responsible farming operations and are also working with local and international seafood sustainability awareness and certification programmes …… to ensure that all our seafood is responsibly sourced and traceable back to the ship that caught it or the farm that raised it.”

At our management consultancy, Talanta.co, we strive to incorporate green policies. As a remote-first consultancy, we have kept travel to client offices at an absolute minimum. In the process, we reduce carbon emissions; thus, when clients engage us and procure our services, they, too directly or indirectly, implement green procurement.

Every day we make choices that affect the environment. Therefore, it is essential to consider the environmental impact of our choices. Undoubtedly, food scarcity, global warming, and the population’s effects on the earth can be attributed mainly to industry. Sustainable procurement allows sectors and organizations to lead in reversing this damage. It shows that organizations are aware of future impacts and consider them when making purchasing decisions.

Let us help transform your organization’s supply chain to green procurement. Our expertise and talent are how we do it. So don’t hesitate to reach out to us at info@talanta.co.