CSR, Sustainability and SRM – A Powerful Partnership (part 2)


In Part 1, Lance Younger, CEO, and Nils van de Winkel, Analyst, Statess, and Alis Sindbjerg Hemmingsen, Responsible Procurement, highlighted the business imperative and opportunity for the integration of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Sustainability and Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) to address supply chain issues and performance. In part 2, they explain how CSR and SRM can be combined.

The 2014 global SRM research, undertaken by State of Flux, with more than 500 companies, shows that over 55 percent of the organisations state that supporting sustainability and CSR is an important business driver for SRM.

How To Combine CSR And SRM

The key to a successful implementation and combination of CSR and SRM is first of all to start viewing CSR as a proactive approach as opposed to doing it to fulfil a compliance purpose. In doing so it is important to set clear goals and objectives.

The SRM approach has to be clearly aligned to these business drivers and at all stages of the procurement lifecycle. It is also recommended to develop a SRM value proposition where CSR is called out, which can describe the “what’s in it for me?” and “what does it take?” questions for all stakeholders, including the suppliers along the lifecycle.

To support the SRM approach there are a number of clear actions to incorporate:

  1. Make it matter - establish a clear CSR value proposition and targets: Align the supplier management CSR agenda to the company goals. Incorporate external and applicable requirements both legislative and societal. This should be supported by a clear business case. Where necessary start small and create small successes to build on.


  1. Identify and engage key stakeholders – internally and externally: Gain leadership, operational and supplier advocacy and support. Key is the alignment and engagement of CSR and SRM or procurement functions. Establish partnership or alliances with public bodies which support the objectives and can help deliver the results. Build an ecosystem with a common mission.


  1. Embed CSR activities into established SRM and supplier management processes: Create CSR and SRM activities and teams – create collaborative networks. Intertwine processes and where appropriate governance. This should drive the DNA of the ecosystem.


  1. Identify a cohort of suppliers – CSR critical suppliers: Engage suppliers that influence and support the CSR objectives i.e. ‘early adopters’ or ‘problem children.’ Use this group to champion change.


  1. Connect information flows to raise profile: Big data is scary, start with small data that is critical and actionable. Look to combine and potentially triage data from multiple sources (ideally linked to the source). Accessibility and transparency of data is imperative for CSR activities.


  1. Use technology to ensure compliance, accelerate activity and enhance visibility: Use sustainability platforms like Sedex and EcoVadis integrated with supplier management platforms like Statess to provide end-to-end integration of CSR and SRM. Combining CSR and SRM technology creates a digital flow of information. "Design sustainability for scale from the get go in the right areas” Peter McAllister, Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI).


  1. Measure and celebrate success: Demonstrate the results of activity. Create, share and showcase CSR and SRM supplier case studies.


  1. Review, improve, excel: Review steps one to seven and polish the areas with the newly gained experience. Expand the SRM and CSR reach to increase the long-term benefits.


Collaboration with suppliers is the key word when it comes to driving and creating more sustainable value in procurement. Hence the use of SRM is an approach that can support your company on the CSR journey and magnify the impact of your efforts. This applies for the management and minimisation of risks as well as the delivery of value through the supply chain.

Share on Procurious

Discuss this:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.