The State of Sustainable Procurement Reporting

ORSE (Observatoire sur la Responsabilite Societale des Entreprises) just released a detailed 36-page study on Sustainable Procurement Reporting, sponsored by Ecovadis, that aimed to identify the major trends in terms of Sustainable Procurement Policies. Many of the observations were not unexpected given the recent uptake in sustainability in the corporate world, but a few of the findings were disturbing.

First of all, the finding that European companies are twice as effective at communicating their sustainability goals and structuring their policies (75% of European companies are at an ‘advanced’ level compared to only 40% of American companies) is bothersome. Why is Europe so far ahead of us?

Secondly, despite the fact that 95% of companies mention Sustainable Procurement in their Sustainable Development reports, only 51% of companies have quantitative Sustainable Procurement targets. Without goals, it’s all just a bunch of hot air.

Thirdly, even though two thirds of North American companies (and almost nine tenths of European companies) analyze supplier performance, in some sectors, less than half of the companies assess the CSR performance of their suppliers. Why is performance so inconsistent across industries?

Fourth, only 13% of companies have a sustainable procurement team. While dedicated full time staff are not required, there should be a dedicated team of employees who have sustainable policy development, implementation, and (supplier) training as part of their job.

Fifth, on average, only 6% of companies train their suppliers to be sustainable. In order for sustainable practices to take root, they need to spread. In order for them to spread, they need to be taught.

In other words, the state of sustainable procurement reporting is improving, but there is still a long way to go. For more details, check out the detailed 36-page study on Sustainable Procurement Reporting.