Procurement with Purpose – Paper and Pub Debate!

Our new briefing paper, supported by SAP Ariba is all about Procurement with Purpose.

It is titled “Making a Positive Impact on Organisations, Human Rights and Communities” and is available to download now, free on registration.  

As we mentioned previously, SAP Ariba is putting a lot of weight behind this concept, which was a central theme at their recent event in Amsterdam.  “Procurement with Purpose” broadly means organisations using their third-party spend to support causes that go beyond the immediate needs and operations of the firm – whether that might be carbon reduction, supporting diversity, encouraging local enterprise or reducing plastic waste.

And we’re delighted to announce, again in conjunction with SAP Ariba, that we will be running another of our famous “pub debates” in central London on July 4th at 5.30 – 7pm. The motion to be debated, in classic Cambridge Union fashion, will be this – “This House believes that Procurement with Purpose can Save the World”….

We’ll have great speakers, lively debate, questions from the floor, a vote – and some good networking, food and drink too, all free of charge thanks to the lovely people from SAP Ariba. Put it in the diary now, and we’ll tell you soon where you can book.

Here is another excerpt from the paper, taken from Part 1 – Explaining Procurement with a Purpose. But we do hope you will read the whole paper and find it useful and interesting, possibly before you come to the event!


The Organisation

Looking now at ‘procurement with a purpose’ from the perspective of the organisation, why is this so relevant today?  Why are organisations increasing their focus in this area? It is not purely out of the goodness of their hearts, rather, they understand that key stakeholder groups care about these issues.

Perhaps the most important stakeholders for most organisations are customers, who are concerned about various issues. That is true whether the business is selling principally to the final customer (B2C) or to other businesses (B2B).  For a food company, it may be the provenance of the raw materials that matters to customers, or issues of animal welfare in the supply chain.  For an oil and gas business, environmental issues, working conditions, even bribery and corruption might all be considered risk areas in the eyes of customers.

According to the 2016 US National Survey on Corporate Social Responsibility, which surveyed some 1200 individuals, 39% of consumers are likely not to buy a company’s products or services if they believe they are not “responsible”.  25% will actively advise friends and family to avoid the company.

Staff are also stakeholders. Employees at every level want to feel good about the organisation for which they work. There is evidence that the generation coming into the workforce today feels that more strongly than ever, and being seen as a good corporate citizen is a positive factor in the “war for talent”.

As we described in the previous section, governments and regulators are generally taking a more active role. Finally, shareholders increasingly care about these issues – because they see how both the risk and opportunity side of the equation can affect shareholder value.

So how can organisations use the idea of ‘procurement with a purpose’ positively to satisfy stakeholders?  The core principles centre on looking for opportunities and managing risk.

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