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First international standard provides guidance on sustainable procurement
17/05/2017 07:36:46

First international standard provides guidance on sustainable procurement
Source: BSI
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Your supply chain can have a big impact on your organization’s performance and reputation. Increasingly supply chain partner failures can come back to bite you if their actions don’t align with your own approach to social responsibility and sustainability.

In response, BS ISO 20400 is the first truly global standard that can be used by multinational businesses, public bodies, and anyone who needs to deliver sustainable outcomes through their supply chains by integrating sustainability into their procurement process.

The standard has been designed to align with BS ISO 26000 and is based on BS 8903 so organizations using these standards will already be at an advantage.

BS ISO 20400:2017 Sustainable procurement. Guidance

What is this standard about?

Supply chain partners can have a big impact on an organization’s performance and reputation, and can also be seen as part of its responsibility. Organizations should therefore use their influence to help their supply chains act more responsibly and sustainably, which is what this standard aims to support.

Who is this standard for?

It can be applied by organization of any size, in any sector, but will typically be used in the following industries:

  • Construction
  • Facilities management
  • Hospitality
  • Catering
  • Clothing
  • Food
  • Manufacturing
  • Timber
  • Print and paper
  • Packaging

It will be used by:

  • Senior procurement and purchasing professionals
  • Commercial directors
  • Finance directors
  • Contract, tender and supply managers
  • Supply chain managers
  • Sustainability managers
  • Environment/waste managers
  • Operations managers
  • Facilities managers

Why should you use this standard?

This standard will help your organization practise sustainable procurement and thereby improve the sustainability performance of your supply chain and reduce risk. Users will benefit from:

  • An increased contribution to the organization’s overall sustainability strategy
  • Better risk and compliance management
  • Improved value and performance assessment
  • Better communications with stakeholders and along the supply chain
  • More opportunities to innovate

This standard is also compatible with the following related standards:

What’s changed since the last update?

BS ISO 20400 isn’t a revision – it’s a new international standard. But it does cover much the same ground as BS 8903:2010 Principles and framework for procuring sustainably. Guide, which it replaces. The core differences are:

  1. Fundamentals. In the new standard this section draws on BS ISO 26000:2010, which was published after BS 8903:2010. But it recognizes this is not the only starting point. The new standard also has a much stronger emphasis on social issues and human rights. It introduces the concept of complicity: saying “we didn’t know” will not be an acceptable response from a purchaser if something goes wrong in their supply chain. The section “Why procure sustainably?” will be familiar to BS 8903 users.
  2. Integrating sustainability into the organization’s procurement policy and strategy. This was covered in “Fundamentals” in BS 8903 but has its own short section in the new standard. It introduces ideas from BS ISO 26000 such as due diligence.
  3. Organizing the procurement function towards sustainability. This was called “enablers” in BS 8903 but this terminology didn’t translate well. The content is very similar to BS 8903, however, covering governing procurement, enabling people, stakeholder engagement, setting priorities and measuring and improving performance.
  4. Integrating sustainability into the procurement process. This section is similar in structure to BS 8903 in that it follows the procurement cycle, but it’s been updated to include new concepts such as lifecycle analysis, due diligence, complicity and global cost.

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