What is Sustainable Sourcing?
Sustainable sourcing is a process of selecting materials, products, and services from suppliers in a sustainable way. In applying sustainable sourcing, organizations integrate social, ethical, and environmental factors into selecting their suppliers.
This concept involves purchasing sustainable products, such as recycled or remanufactured products. It also includes adhering to the green purchasing guidelines that pertain to specific commodities.
As supply chains continue to expand into developing countries, the concept of sustainable sourcing is becoming more vital. While their continuous move lowers costs and increases production capacity, it also heightens risk. For instance, there’s the risk of purchasing non-sustainable materials over sustainable alternatives due to price differences.
However, consumers, employees, and other company stakeholders are starting to question the source and method of production of these products. Organizations, therefore, have a responsibility to account for the environmental and social impact of its supply chain’s strategies and activities.
Sustainability also extends beyond the management level. An entire value chain of an organization needs to be committed to the cause of sustainability.
Pros of Sustainable Sourcing
Reduced Environmental Impact
By implementing sustainable sourcing, corporations can reduce their waste, environmental footprint, and other harmful activities. For instance, indiscriminate farming methods can cause soil infertility. However, organizations can commit to getting farm produce only from farms practicing sustainable farming, to help the environment.
Protects Brand Reputation
According to research, 67% of consumers are more willing to work for socially responsible organizations. This statistic implies that the actions of an organization’s supply chain can affect their brand perception. Therefore, sustainable sourcing can improve a brand’s reputation and awareness.
Increases Business Revenue
Sustainable sourcing differentiates a product, gives it a competitive advantage and access to new markets. Research also showed that 55% of consumers pay for products and services from socially responsible companies.
Firstly, it means that individuals are becoming more conscious of brands that they patronize. More importantly, their buying decision will favor businesses practicing sustainable sourcing, leading to increased revenue.
Attracts Business Partnerships
Brands like to associate themselves with other brands whose values align with theirs. Therefore, an organization that implements sustainable sourcing is an attractive prospect for partnership with other companies.
Improves Risk Management
Sustainable sourcing helps companies avoid several risks that may disrupt their business. For instance, it ensures that they’re compliant with laws and regulations that may affect the materials sourced. It also reduces the risk of supply chain disruptions.
Cons of Sustainable Sourcing
Cost of Implementation
Companies who make commitments to implement sustainable sourcing may find the initial process costly. For instance, companies need to apply a fair and ethical treatment of workers. However, they may spend more on paying reasonable wages to match working hours. Sometimes also, the switch to using more sustainable materials can lead to a high cost in production processes.
Challenge of Continuous Monitoring
While it’s not easy to implement sustainability, it’s even more challenging to maintain a positive impact. Corporations have a responsibility to keep monitoring and sometimes to report their sourcing strategies. They also need to ensure that line managers, supply chain staff, and other key employees are committed to the cause. However, organizations may consider this continuous monitoring may be difficult to maintain
Sustainable sourcing is a vital concept for the responsible growth of businesses. Therefore, organizations should continually look into the sourcing methods of their supply chain. Otherwise, they’ll be held accountable for the source of their products.
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