Our purchaser engagement team supports public and private organizations all over the world with advice on sustainable procurement. We asked them what’s on the agenda right now and what positive trends they can spot.

Clare Hobby, what can you see from a global perspective?

“Three things come to mind. Firstly, we’re seeing a much deeper understanding of sustainability as simply good business. Environmental and social factors are no longer just a special interest of a few engaged people in the organization, but are becoming a more integrated aspect of organizational strategy. What’s great about this is that when senior management gets behind sustainability, it becomes a more prioritized part of all operations. That’s when we see measurable improvement on some of the bigger challenges.

“Secondly, from the IT perspective, there’s clearly a growing awareness of supply chain and social responsibility issues among purchasing organizations, as they figure out ways to include those factors in procurement. While “green” issues like energy and product take-back have been on the table for a while, it’s good to see a more holistic approach evolving. This is where TCO Certified really adds value as we offer a really solid set of up to date, leadership criteria on both the environmental and social/supply chain sides, of course independently verified.

“And finally, we have to mention the circular economy. The circular economy is really driving some of the most interesting conversations and innovative thinking in how to manage product life cycles. And when you think about it, procurement really plays a central role here. Purchasers are asking some really fundamental questions like, “how can I use these products longer” and “do we want a product or a service”? So the circular economy conversation is really changing things up in a big way. I’m often asked where to start — and the best way is to use your products longer. We’ll be doing some more around this moving forward, so stay tuned!”