Sustainable procurement: brief writing, contract specifications, tender evaluation, supply chain management

Week 4 by Bronwyn Rice 16/8/16

Diversity at governance levels

There is existing data showing that Fortune 500 companies with a larger representation of women in management roles, perform better than those with little to no representation on women in management roles.

Risk Management

Risk management must be internalised as much as possible, rather than outsourced for practical reasons. Results of inapproropriate risk management:

  • damage to reputation
  • damaging costs
  • injury, illness and possibly even death

Avoiding greenwash

  • hidden trade offs
  • no proof
  • vagueness
  • false labels e.g. WWF label only means the company donates to the WWF, i.e. buying the label
  • irrelevance
  • fibbing
  • lesser of two evils; fuel efficient or an environmentally friendly car

Strategic Sustainable Procurement

Should align supply contracts to business strategy and aims; emebdding sustainability into procurement embeds it into business operations rather than acting reactively. These processes need to strt at the start, not after any contracts have been signed. Policies and principles are a good start, but what we really need is active innovation. There is also a constant need for training and retraining.

Sourcing methodology – use (at minimum), best practice procurement practice.

Researching the opportunity

Genuine commitment is required from organisations and you need to know how far they are willing to back you. This also requires knowledge in the maturity in the supply market. Ensure planning for any transitioning and piloting costs, as well as allocating appropriate resources, including human resources. This entire process relies on clear, concise and consistent communication.

Researching the Specification

No need to reinvent the whell – share ideas and stand on the shoulders of giants! This helps to increas market response as more information becomes available. Having said this, sometimes it is required that you start from scratch. Mix of technical and performanced based specification. Have specific direction and know how you validate your outcomes, and monitor the claims of any suppliers.


Procurement seeks a value for money result. There are 2 key sets of respondant information:

  • Internal sustainability practices
  • sustainability attributes of the goods and services

Additional scores can be awarded for innovation, leading edge, certified, validated solutions that meet or exceed any requirements. Site visits can also assist in testing any claims, as well as talking to any of their clients. This helps to avoid the worst practitioners.


Outline all expectations early, so that there is no dispute between parties, and sustainability becomes part of the culture of the project. Have a clear bottom line, so there is sufficient evidence in the case whrere a default is required and a contract needs to be broken. A performance framework should be frequently inputted with data and clear communication. SMART KPI framework is an easy and clear example of goal setting; this can also be linked to incentives such as automatic option to extend a contract if all requirements are met within a certain timeframe.

Supply Chain

Ensure transparency through third party auditing and certifications.


Further References

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