Membership Frequently Asked Questions
If my organization cannot issue payment fast enough to meet the deadline for an upcoming membership participation opportunity is there any way we can still participate?
My company doesn’t have dedicated procurement staff, but we want help with making our purchasing more sustainable. Can we join with the Purchaser Role?
I’m a sustainability professional at an organization that supplies institutions. What role do I fit in?
Other sustainability staff are primarily engaged in revenue-generating activities, such as developing sustainable product lines or producing marketing for sustainable solution offerings. These sustainability staff would only be eligible to participate in the Supplier Role.
Some sustainability staff have responsibilities both for improving the operational sustainability of their company, including indirect procurement, and for growing revenue from preferable product/service offerings. While these staff can speak knowledgeably to the purchaser perspective, they would only be eligible to participate in the Supplier Role. This is because their participation in the Council will afford them insights into the marketplace and access to purchasing professionals that will unavoidably inform and advance their market-facing initiatives. Furthermore, purchaser members have made it clear that in order to meet ethics requirements they need spaces within the Council where they can discuss specification and contract language for their upcoming procurements without tipping off staff at member supplier companies who could use that information to gain an unfair advantage over non-member suppliers. The Purchaser Role is how we distinguish who has access to these spaces (RFP discussion forums, procurement development ‘labs’ at conferences, etc). Allowing sustainability staff with revenue-generating responsibilities to participate in these spaces would compromise purchaser’s ethics requirements.
Can my organization be represented in Council activities by a consultant, rather than a 'regular employee'?
What about procurement of goods for resale? I purchase products for resale and therefore am a purchaser with responsibilities related to product/service development and revenue generation. What Role do I fit in?
While the Council’s focus is on addressing challenges facing institutional purchasers that are buying goods ands services for their organization’s own operations, it does recognize that direct purchasers and goods-for-resale buyers face many of the same challenges, such as product ingredient transparency, product lifecycle assessment, verifying sustainability-related product claims and more. To the extent that the Council’s guidance programs can be useful to direct purchasers and goods-for-resale buyers, the Council welcomes that. Indeed, members participating in the Supplier Role will have access to all the same guidance that members participating in the Purchaser Role will have.
That said, there are organizations that will be better able to assist direct purchasers and goods-for-resale buyers in many industries. For example, The Sustainability Consortium’s focus is on providing guidance to buyers of consumer products for resale. The auto industry’s Supplier Partnership is focused on increasing sustainability in auto parts sourcing. The Sustainable Food Lab’s focus is on providing detailed guidance and metrics to buyers of agricultural food products, such as grocery stores and food service companies. The Sustainable Apparel Coalition provides guidance to buyers of clothing for resale. The Council believes that these types of industry-specific collaborations are important efforts and looks to accelerate their work by encouraging institutional purchasers to prefer suppliers that are leveraging the insights they produce.
Several guiding principles were developed in the process of developing the dues schedule. One, the dues should scale with the size of the organization because the cost of servicing organizations will scale with their size, as will their ability to pay. Two, the dues should correspond to the size of the value proposition and the cost of obtaining similar value elsewhere. In the case of suppliers, we set the dues based on membership fees that suppliers, including Founders Circle members, typically pay for similar member benefits in other organizations that host communities of forward thinking buyers from organizations with substantial purchasing power. Purchasers tend to pay much lower dues to participate in those same organizations.
While we are committed to moving forward with the published dues schedule for 2013-2014, we do welcome and value your feedback.
The Council has made these distinctions between the Purchaser and Supplier Roles in order to ensure that purchasers are represented in guidance development decisions by procurement professionals who do not have a financial interest in the outcome of the guidance, and to ensure that the business development value of participating in the Council is reserved for companies that are supporting the Council’s work at a commensurate level.