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The Business Case for Sustainable Purchasing

10:10am  -  11:10am, Tuesday, May 9, 2017  |  Tower Court C
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Establishing the business case for sustainable purchasing requires diverse expertise. Supply chain management standards of price, quality and delivery may be affected by sustainability issues as diverse as climate change, human rights, corruption and more. This talk will discuss how to identify material issues, and how to translate those issues into costs and benefits. Fundamentally the business case is constructed by combining an assessment of costs and benefits. Supply chain sustainability requirements have the potential to impact brand reputation, business continuity, materials costs and more. Technical analysis contribute to more robust financial assessment. For example to consider whether a sourced product is subject to price increases or availability risks due to a climate change related decrease in precipitation requires some familiarity with climate modeling and water risk tools. Similarly expertise is required to differentiate between sustainability certifications – for example how do FSC and SFI certified woods differ and are both equally acceptable to the targeted customer? Yet technical analysis must be used judiciously given limited budgets.

An efficient approach to a meaningful business case finds a balance between technical rigor and cost. This talk will discuss how to identify material issues (i.e. understanding the Environmental, Social and Economic impacts of purchasing), and how to cost efficiently collect the information required to establish the potential business impacts of these material issues. The talk will include a business case from Millipore Sigma’s experience in value creation by enhancing the sustainability performance of a product class.