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What does sustainability really mean to you? Procurement at SHV Energy

08/23/2021 By

This summer, Spend Matters is focusing on ESG, and particularly sustainability in the procurement context, as a discussion topic with the industry, with vendors, buyers and suppliers. This will take the shape of in-depth analyst-written PRO articles, podcasts with procurement professionals, panel discussions and more — all accessible from the Spend Matters site. Why? Because we think it’s time to take a look at the bigger picture, from different angles.

To discover what sustainability means; what ROI can be expected from a sustainability focus; what the tech landscape looks like and why we need ESG-enabled technology; the implications for e-procurement and how procurement can influence the ESG agenda, read our PRO series here.

As our technology analyst Bertrand Maltaverne puts it in that article and in the wake of the failings exposed by the Covid turbulence:

“Many organizations are also victims of a self-inflicted injury that jeopardized their capacity to operate during the crisis …  However, it seems like Covid will be the wakeup call that the supply chain world was waiting for. As a reaction to the events of the last months, the realization that organizations need better supply assurance (and that the Procurement function is critical in achieving this) spreads among organizations and management boards. This shift in priorities and mindset is an opportunity to go beyond ensuring business continuity. It is in fact a chance for building more antifragile, and more sustainable supply chains.”

To accompany our broader look at ESG in practice, this short series captures individual views on sustainability — we’ve posed three questions to a cross section of procurement and supply chain practitioners from the worlds of consultancy, specialist organizations and forums, FMCG, retail, oil & gas, tech and so on, to get a top-level understanding of what being sustainable really means to them.

We hope this will reap a set of interesting and useful answers for procurement software vendors to take note of, and for other practitioners to consider.

Today we hear from Rob Bonnar, Global Procurement Director at SHV Energy, a global distributor of off-grid energy, such as LPG and LNG, active in the area of sustainable fuels and renewable energy solutions.

We asked:

In an ideal world …

How would you ensure in your organization that ‘sustainability and responsibility’ is not just a tick-box exercise?

Rob has global responsibility for procurement transformation, category strategy and procurement excellence. He oversees €1bn spend acoss logistics, technical goods and indirect categories for the 18 business units.

  • “There needs to be actionable targets embedded in objectives for everyone, throughout the organization. It is easy to have a sustainability team but the responsibility and action relies on the whole organization pulling together.
  • Giving the targets a value or weighting which is budgeted by department as well as spend is a key factor in all sourcing and business case evaluation.”

What would help you ’embed’ sustainability and responsible practices/thinking into procurement?

  • “I think the main need is visibility. If the organization is uninformed then the materiality assessment and target setting is uninformed. So getting visibility easily through the tiers is critical.
  • Having one global method of recognizing and reporting impact would be a great level setting and enable comparison and collaboration between organizations.”

If you could have one wish from procurement tech/software vendors (to help with your sustainability goals/supply chain visibility/operations/measurement) what would that be?

  • “Industry standards — that’s not the easiest way for organizations to have a unique selling position of course — but having a standard way of building integrations and enabling the Hybrid/Best of Breed landscape is desirable.
  • Maintain the momentum — the explosion of options and creativity now is incredible, if we maintain this pace the future is really exciting.”

If you are doing a tech selection, you can get a shortlist fast with TechMatch℠.

Many thanks to Rob and SHV Energy — our analysts will take an aggregated look at all our responses in the coming weeks and give their take on the common themes that have emerged.  Look out for the other voices in the following weeks as we hear from the people who are ‘doing’ sustainability.

Here’s an index of what to expect in our ESG series this summer

If you are involved in sustainability in procurement for your organization, feel free to comment below or submit your own answers to

ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance)