Sustainable Procurement: A Guide to Ethical Purchasing | Aurora Dawn Benton | Skillshare

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Sustainable Procurement: A Guide to Ethical Purchasing

teacher avatar Aurora Dawn Benton, Illuminating. Inspiring. Instructing.

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

21 Lessons (2h 51m)
    • 1. Sustainable Procurement Preview

    • 2. Procurement Course Overview

    • 3. Procurement Context

    • 4. Triple Bottom Line

    • 5. Environmental and Social Issues

    • 6. Sustainability Reality & Trade off

    • 7. The Stakeholder Imperative

    • 8. Materials Management

    • 9. Plastics and Packaging

    • 10. Paper and Single Use Items

    • 11. Carbon Emissions in Supplies

    • 12. Chemicals and Human Health

    • 13. Humane Supply Chains

    • 14. Supplier Diversity

    • 15. Buy Local Strategies

    • 16. The Role of Certifications

    • 17. Prepare for Procurement Audit

    • 18. Perform a Procurement Audit

    • 19. Sustainable Policies & Practices

    • 20. Impact Goals and Reporting

    • 21. Next Steps

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About This Class

This course sheds light on the social and environmental issues organizations encounter in their supply chains and offers recommendations for ethical procurement. Every organization purchases something so every organization has an opportunity to make a positive impact on people, planet, and profit through responsible sourcing.

This course is perfect for any one in any type or size of organization who wants to learn more about how to improve environmental and social performance in daily operations. No expertise or experience in sustainability is required. It is ideal for general managers, small business owners, corporate procurement staff, sales teams, and anyone who wants better understand sustainability and take practical steps in the right direction.

Participants will learn to engage stakeholders, conduct a sustainable procurement audit, create ethical purchasing policies, and set goals to improve social and environmental performance. The course does not require any specialized skills or knowledge in procurement or sustainability. It invites learners to consider the implications of the purchases they can influence and offers practice steps forward.

The course includes information on sustainability topics such as circular economy, plastics and single-use items, toxic chemicals, carbon emissions, humane working conditions, supplier diversity, and buying local. There are several handouts you can download with additional resources and worksheets and guidance for preparing for and performing a sustainable procurement audit.

Course outcomes

  • Recognize the social and environmental impact of procurement through supply chain research.
  • Develop a research process for finding purchasing data needed to make informed decisions.
  • Conduct a sustainable purchasing audit.
  • Establish sustainable purchasing goals, policies, and practices.

Meet Your Teacher

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Aurora Dawn Benton

Illuminating. Inspiring. Instructing.


Hello, I'm Aurora Dawn Benton, Founder and Chief Change Agent at Astrapto. Astrapto means to ILLUMINATE and my mission is to shed light on issues that prevent people from driving positive change in the world! I am also passionate about entrepreneurship and I coach social entrepreneurs. I look forward to learning how I can help you!

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1. Sustainable Procurement Preview: Have you ever thought about how much plastic packaging your organization since to landfill? Do you wonder about the chemicals and the products you use every day? Are you familiar with the conditions? Are stories of those who make this applies you rely on if you believe your organization has the potential to positively impact the world, then you are right. And one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is procurement. I'm Dr. Rodin Benton, your course instructor. We help clients reduce food and materials waste, start Green Teams and engage community stakeholders. My passion is helping people who do not have experience or expertise in sustainability, but who do have curiosity, concern, and compassion in a world that increasingly values and expects corporate responsibility. This course is ideal for those who work in procurement, but also for departmental leaders who have sway over spending decisions within an organization. It's perfect for small business owners who want to know how they can impact the triple bottom line of people, planet and profit. I also recommend it for sales and marketing team so they can better understand what their customers want with regards to sustainable vendors and products. This course on sustainable procurement introduces you to concepts in digestible and practical lessons. We start with foundations that are important for anyone starting out on their sustainability journey, such as the business case and stakeholder engagement. Then we unpack environmental and social topics and we provide tips for addressing each in your supply chains. And I guide you through a sustainable procurement audit. Now, if that sounds daunting, it can be, but it does not have to be. My philosophy is, every step counts, even small ones. If you only evaluate one product you purchase, I consider that a success, and I gave you the tools to do it. The course comes with worksheets and a template for evaluating your procurement sustainability. Now get ready to make a ripple effect of positive impact as you transform your supply chains. 2. Procurement Course Overview: Hello, I'm Dr. Aurora dawn Benton. And I hope this course sparks a curiosity in you that ignites a passion for using your organization's purchasing power for positive impact. In many organizations, the top sustainability priorities with the most significant payback or initiatives that reduce energy, water, and waste. Procurement is an equally viable mechanism for environmental stewardship and social responsibility. Especially given the ripple effects of sourcing decisions both up and down the supply chain. Before we go any further, let's talk terms. There are several interchangeable terms presented in this course. When I say ethical purchasing, this can also be known as sustainable procurement. Environmentally preferable purchasing, responsible sourcing, or any other term which encompasses the notion of caring for people and planet through your spending on supplies, materials, ingredients, services, or whatever is needed to operate the organization and serve customers or constituents. Ultimately, we want suppliers, vendors, providers, manufacturers, distributors, and other intermediaries to be accountable to ethical standards. I designed this course for the person who has a passion for making an impact, but may feel they do not have the expertise to make a difference. My mission is to make sustainability accessible so that anyone in any position can drive positive impact in their workplace. I assume you have at least a basic awareness or interest in sustainability, but that's it. You do not need to have any special skills or position to leverage the knowledge or tips in part it in this course. In fact, in a college course that I teach, I ask my students to do the same sustainable procurement audit exercise I'm going to recommend to you in this course. The Lessons contain questions or tips that will help you take practical steps towards sustainable procurement. Keep in mind that you will not be able to make all the changes that you would like to overnight. There are often contracts, backlogged inventory, rigid mindsets, vendor relationships, budgetary approvals, logistical adjustments, design considerations, and other factors that go into changing what you purchase. For these reasons, I recommend you start small and in a product category or there will be little resistance to change and where the business case is clear. In this course, you will learn to recognize the social and environmental impact of procurement. The course includes suggestions for finding the data you need to make informed decisions. I always aim to find and prioritize resources that are digestible. And in layman's terms, however, some may be a bit more scientific and technical. There is a bottomless list of what you can learn about regarding the ethical implications of procurement and global supply chains. So do not get discouraged or overwhelmed because sustainability is a journey, not a destination. This course is designed to give you a process and whether you start with just one product. Or if you ultimately review your entire scope of purchasing, any improvement you make will leave the world a better place. I also want to take a moment to give you some advice about performing the research necessary for a sustainable procurement audit, considered a friendly warning to keep you from feeling frustration. When I ask college students to do this exercise, they frequently say it was one of the hardest assignments they ever did. But they also say it was the most eye-opening. In this course, I present information on key social and environmental concerns in supply chains. And if you perform the audit assignment in the course, you will conduct your own research to uncover issues in your supply chain. Before we get much further, I want you to understand that all of the information you would like to find will not be readily available. Some supply chains are inherently opaque with layers of producers, aggregators, distributors, and various vendors involved before a final product arrives on your receiving dock. Unfortunately, there is often corruption and fraud. Those engaged in these and other illegal or questionable activities do not want you to know the truth about their products or practices. And the more hands the product and its components pass through, the more difficult it is to get the details you might like to learn about how a product is made and what it is made up. The point is not that you will find out all those details, but the point is that you seek them, that you ask your vendors for this information. In my own experience, even manufacturers representatives, I'll often do not know the answers to these questions about the sustainability of their products. So don't get discouraged. Keep asking the questions. Keep exploring to make the course as accessible as possible to a wide audience. The resources included are generally free. But if you belong to any industry or professional association, you may find that your membership provides you access to relevant resources that you can leverage in your supply chain research. I also make an effort to reference articles and research that are based on data and science from reputable sources. But I may also sometimes include information or reports from companies because those are important indicators of how products are made and efforts to be transparent by those brands. Any mention of certain companies is no way an endorsement or judgment on those particular brands. Keep in mind that a topic like ethical supply chains is inherently very complex. And in this short course format, I can only cover so much content. I have aimed to impart wisdom and tips you can immediately put into practice. But I also hope that this course plants a seed and you continue seeking resources and support to further your sustainability journey. Before we move on to the next lesson, I recommend you take a moment to list out some of your expectations for the course. What prompted you to sign up for it? What sort of impact are you hoping to have? What action do you hope to take or inspire and others? It's helpful to consider your responses to these questions and set some early goals for completing the course and the audit. The intentions you set now will manifest later in making the world a better place. In the next lesson, I will introduce you to some context for the course that will be helpful for making the most of subsequent lessons get ready to make a ripple effect of impact through sustainable procurement. 3. Procurement Context: The concepts in this course can be applied to any size or type of organization. But for the sake of best demonstrating how these principles work. Many of the examples throughout the course will be in the context of hospitality, or more specifically a hotel or restaurant. Much of my consulting work has been in hospitality events and travel. So I've seen these things firsthand, but more important than that, hotels are the best case study scenario because of the sheer diversity and number of supply chains represented. Just think about all the industries that supply a typical hotel. Textiles are used in window and bed coverings, carpets, furniture and decor are placed throughout the property. Light fixtures, thermostats, electrical systems are used to keep the hotel comfortable for guests and staff. Bathroom fixtures are in guest rooms, public areas, and back-of-house food, whether packaged items and the sundry shop were fresh ingredients used in the restaurant plates, utensils, kitchen equipment, disposables, and the many other supplies needed for a successful restaurant operation. A wide variety of cleaning supplies and chemicals are needed to keep the hotel clean and safe. Paper, computers, printers, mobile devices, security systems, and on and on. Then there are the services that are likely outsourced, such as landscaping and grounds keeping and perhaps even a shuttle service to get guests to the airport or a nearby convention center. The sustainable procurement audit, I guide you through later in the course can be used for any supply in any organization. Other than familiarity and supply chain diversity, a hotel is not dissimilar from home. Like a hotel. Homes contain fixtures, faucets, food, fridges, and furnishings. So even if you are taking this course and not sure exactly where you will apply the concepts. The hotel examples may trigger ideas for how you are home purchases impact the health, your family and the planet. How many different supply chains to as your business or agency or home rely on. Even as a small business owner myself, I look around my home office and think about furniture, the fan and Echo Show that sits on my desk, flower pots and plants, a couple of lamps, some decorations, my laptop, a whiteboard, and more. So whatever industry you are in this course is applicable, it is also relevant to absolutely every type of organization there is. Corporate, non-profit, small business, government, private, public. Every organization buys some type of supplies or services. Every organization has an opportunity to use those funds, favor ethical suppliers. Let's take food for example. Even if your organization is not in food service, You'd probably have catered meals or an outsourced cafeteria in your building. Or maybe this will just resonate with you on a personal level as you plan your households meals over the coming weeks. For this exercise, I chose beef. Those who are vegan or vegetarian will probably already be familiar with the statistics. And you may have even chosen that lifestyle because of such awareness. And if you are a meat lover, Do not worry, I am not suggesting that you have to stop buying or eating beef. I use this example just to show the environmental consequences of one popular item. And to make a point about the consequences of making procurement changes. Did you know that beef is the second most land intensive agricultural product per kilogram of food produced, just behind lamb and mutton. If you go by calories, it is number one. From a greenhouse gas perspective, beef is the largest contributor, and that's just cows for beef. Herds for cheese and dairy are counted separately. And in water usage, beef comes in fifth after cheese and nuts, which require a lot of water to process. And farmed fish and prawns which well need water. Obviously. According to a study published in Nature Communications in December of 2020, a team of German researchers found that the cost of meat, if it embodied, it's true environmental cost would increase by 146%. If the cost of meat rises by that much, then our restaurants and caterers supposed to raise prices, eat the cost or simply eliminate B from their menu. This is a quick glimpse into how complicated the sustainable procurement process can get. Though the status quo might seem easier in the short term, there are often unforeseen negative consequences in the long term. Sustainability is not an all or nothing proposition. But the more informed you are about the options and consequences, the more you can ensure your procurement reflects your organization's values. So in the case of beef, perhaps you make the portion sizes smaller, or maybe you switch to a more eco-friendly type of beef, such as grass-fed or by local beef to at least reduce the carbon footprint of the supply chain. The topic of meat can be emotionally charged for both those who have chosen to abstain and for those who love a good steak, we can take criticism of our purchasing habits very personally. This is an important point because professional settings are no different. I recommend you go into this course with an open mind and a willingness to change. I recommend you suspend judgment of those you think are destroying the earth or humanity or animals with their choices. If you are looking for a right or wrong, you won't find it here. Procurement is nuanced supply chains and the data we gather from them is ever evolving. See this as a journey, not a destination. Anyone in an organization can contribute to sustainable sourcing initiatives. Even college students and entry-level employees have taken this course and perform the audit. They may not always have the power to make changes, but they do declare that it is an eye-opening experience and one that they share with their peers. And that's just a start. That level of awareness usually leads to change behavior. Ideally, you will engage someone with the authority or power to implement recommended changes. And the best-case scenario is that a team works on this effort together. There are several benefits to assigning a green team or taskforce to perform this sustainable procurement audit, diverse perspectives bring a wider range of insights. It's easier to divide and conquer the research. If you have different departments represented, you can learn about the opinions and requirements for purchases that could be missed if only one department or person is performing the audit. The audit findings will spark awareness and knowledge that can be more easily dispersed throughout the organization via team members who are involved. Now if possible, gather a small team and get ready to assess your organization's procurement power. Who have you noticed? Seems to care about environmental issues, which coworkers are known to volunteer their time to community efforts. Who, if you observe that as highly diligent and pays attention to details, begin considering who you will invite to join your team or task force to address sustainable procurement. Let's move on to the next lesson in which I focus on the profit aspect of the people planet profit dimensions of the triple bottom line. 4. Triple Bottom Line: In this course, we explore how procurement is a triple bottom line concept of sustainability. This means we aim to replenish or restore what we use or effect in the realms of the social, environmental, and the economic. The triple bottom line is often referred to as people, planet and profit or prosperity. This ladder element, the economic one, is our focus for this lesson. Procurement serves many purposes within an organization. It can range from sourcing raw materials to purchasing daily supplies needed to keep a building clean, safe, and operational. Each item procured has some quality or characteristic required for it to pass muster with those responsible for signing off on or paying for those supplies. Those requirements may include design features such as color or size or aesthetics, functionality specifications, durability, performance and effectiveness, delivery expectations, and even branding and reputational claims. Certainly price is critical, if not paramount, in this list of desirable traits. Responsible sourcing is a triple bottom line exercise as much as social and environmental impacts are prioritized. If profitability is not achievable, you won't get very far. There is often an assumption that opting for more sustainable raw materials or supplies will inevitably raise costs. And while social and environmental benefits do sometimes come with a higher price tag before you assume the economics don't add up, consider the following. First, a holistic sustainability program will often reduce waste. You will likely find you need fewer items or less inventory than you had previously. Sometimes this is simply a factor of paying close attention to something that had not been altered for a long time. There is often a copy and paste approach to buying ongoing provisions and materials. So a procurement review will almost certainly lead to discovering unneeded or excess supplies. Reducing waste and overall inventory is an excellent way to offset the cost of more expensive but more ethical products. Similarly, reduced packaging or shipments lowers costs and might allow for higher social or environmental quality in your supplies. Related to this is the concept of a total cost of ownership analysis. Ideally, you will take the time to ensure you are comparing apples to apples. In other words, a more environmentally friendly option may cost more, but you may get additional life or usage from the product. So you cannot fairly compare a cheap light bulb a to a more expensive light bulb be if light bulb B is giving you significantly longer usage and factor in less maintenance time and resources and changing bulbs. Perhaps light bulb be also comes in a different type of packaging that reduces waste. Or the light bulb be distributor will give you a larger discount for bulk ordering. Such an analysis is critical for making the business case. And surprisingly, this is often a missed opportunity. For some purchases, there may be other benefits you can factor in, such as air quality improvements that increase employee productivity and retention. Local business support that enhances your organization's reputation, size, or weight adjustments that reduced food waste and many other business case possibilities. Price is not the only consideration in purchasing that impacts revenue and profitability. You may even be able to pass part or all of the cost along to your customers if they are also in the market for more Triple Bottom Line options. Next, do the research and determine if in fact the better options will race cost. You may discover, especially with increased demands and improved technology, that the sustainable option is the same or even less than the traditional one. Also leverage your position, especially if you are in a large organization to negotiate better pricing or encourage your vendors to create new, more sustainable offerings. This gives them a market advantage and allows you to establish long-term favorable rates. If you are part of a smaller organization, then work with others in your community or industry to pool your resources and influence to make sustainable supplies available to more buyers depending on the kind of business you run, there will be different considerations. Let's look at a restaurant example. Have you ever gone to your favorite restaurant and notice the price of an item has gone up. Or maybe an ingredient that is normally on a dish is missing or substituted. I noticed this with avocados. When the price is high, restaurants will either decrease the amount they use or raise the prices of dishes with this ingredient. In this particular example, the cost and availability of avocados would likely have to be at a higher price for a sustained period. As a restaurant owner is not likely to change prices on a daily or even weekly basis. The prices of other products change more frequently and you are more likely to see a short-term reflection of this. If the price of oil goes up, you'll likely see an increase in airline ticket prices pretty quickly. For most products and services, consumers and clients are not tolerant of frequent swings and adjustments, and therefore, significant pressure exists to keep the cost of goods and purchasing expenses steady low enough that there is some wiggle room during fluctuating seasons. For these reasons, organizations typically prefer contracts that lock in prices and availability. Those contracts may be in place for a long time and block you from implementing sustainability programs in those areas. A similar scenario relates to quality. Companies such as large chains or franchises often mandate the characteristics of supplies so as to guarantee a consistent experience across locations. This is certainly the case in hospitality companies such as hotels and restaurants. Such stipulations also drive down prices is dozens, if not hundreds or thousands, of locations are all procuring from the same vendor. To capitalize on these economies of scale, there are often contracts in place that limit your ability to make changes in procurement or suppliers. If you're in one of these situations limited by contracts or other corporate red tape, I encourage you to do two things. First, start with what you do have control over, even if it's just a small number or fraction of overall purchasing. If there is any aspect of purchasing, you have the power to change even if it is just one product. Start there. My second piece of advice is do the research on other purchases. Anyway. Even if you do not have any influence on procurement of those materials, you will be amazed what you can learn. And when there is a window of opportunity to make a change, you will be ready with the research and alternatives. As we go through this course, there will be a great deal of focus on the social and environmental aspects of sourcing. But we can't forget the essential role of the profit component of the triple bottom line equation. Take time now to consider these questions. What elements of procurement most impact the profitability of your company? Or if you are a government or non-profit, think of this as financial viability. Which of the economic angles presented in this lesson most resonates for your organization's procurement. What business case can you develop for integrating sustainability into procurement? What contracts or other potential limitations will you need to keep in mind? What aspects of procurement need to be improved regardless of sustainability. While you are a revamping purchasing, it's a great time to also improve quality performance and other factors in your supplies. In the next lesson, I will introduce you to some key concepts of environmental and social sustainability supply chains before later lessons where we unpack specific issues and risks. 5. Environmental and Social Issues: Sustainable or ethical procurement may also be referred to as environmentally preferable purchasing or procurement. That is to say there is a policy for choosing items with better environmental performance. That is what we are aiming for in this course. However, we also need to consider the social angle of supply chains. First, let's review the imperative for environmental stewardship and procurement. If you come at this course with a passion for sustainability than this lesson may seem like a bit of a no-brainer. But I hope the course has drawn the curiosity seeker who might even need a bit more convincing. Let's start with a big picture reason for why the environmental consequences of our actions matter. Our planet provides what are known as ecosystem services or ecological resources. This includes air, water, forest, wildlife, and other elements of nature that make life possible. We share these resources, but unfortunately, some disproportionately used them. And we do not always share responsibility for the damage done to these resources. This is known as the tragedy of the commons. Here's some examples of negative consequences we can see today that relate to the tragedy of the comments. Farmers in one region use pesticides that run into rivers and harm the seafood stock farther downstream. Factories use toxic chemicals, seep into groundwater and deteriorate the health of nearby habitats. Burning fossil fuels contributes to global warming, increased storm intensity and temperature fluctuations, which throws off the balance of plant life, animal migratory patterns, ocean health and other impacts that are ultimately bad for the planet and people. Another common way to look at the environmental imperative is earth overshoot day. This is the day each year that our usage of these ecological resources surpasses what the earth can provide in 2020, that day was August 22nd. It's easy to see all of this as bad. But for many of the harmful practices, using pesticides, employing toxic chemicals, burning fossil fuels, we get things we want in life, strawberries year round, no matter where you live, non-stick cookware, and the opportunity to get on a plane and visit any place you wish. So quitting any of these bad practices is not simple or straightforward. And convincing the right people to change will require a shift in demand and spending that gets the attention of global corporations and or significant legislation to regulate and decrease negative impacts. One of the challenges of the sustainability and the environmental movement is that it invites people to think of issues on a global scale. But most of us struggle to know what we can do in our daily lives and choices. It's easy to just focus on what you see and experience every day. Why should droughts on the other side of the world concern you? Why should pesticide usage and another hemisphere be on your radar? How can you be expected to protect rivers or lakes and a country you've never even visited. And why should it matter to you? It matters for the same reason, the sophisticated supply chains that produce affordable goods at unprecedented rates matter. Because we are all connected in this global world. We are citizens of a planet that does not know or respect political or cultural boundaries or business contracts. Our planet works much like our bodies when our back is out of alignment. It can actually cause beat problems, headaches, digestive woes, and other paints. It's all integrated. This is the mantra of many in the sustainability field that we must come together and collectively agree on and address these issues. And if the big picture realities such as climate change, The Tragedy of the Commons, or earth overshoot. Don't convince you that consider that environmental stewardship is a lasting trend businesses cannot ignore. Here are just a few facts to support this. A report from the governance and accountability Institute found that in 2019, 90% of the companies on the S and P 500 index publish sustainability reports up from 20 percent in 2011. Esg, which stands for environmental, social, and governance, is a key factor for investing. A 2019 Morgan Stanley study of individual investors showed 85 percent are interested in sustainable investing and 52 percent have at least one sustainable investment. There are survey of institutional investors revealed even higher numbers with 57 percent saying they can quote, envision a time, they will only allocate to managers with a formal ESG approach. In quote, a report from Boston Consulting Group show that the top ESG performers enjoy upwards of 19% higher stock market valuations and 12 percent higher margins. A Fast Company survey of 100 and ploys and large companies found, quote, more than 70% said that they were more likely to choose to work at a company with a strong environmental agenda and quote, some, even said they would take a pay cut to do so. I could go on and on with such data support. But I think you get the point. It matters not because the planet needs it to matter. It matters because people in organizations think it matters. Throughout later lessons in the course, I will outline specific environmental problems along with data and resources you can share in your own efforts to change the hearts and minds of those in your world. Make it matter to them too. Similar to the environmental impacts. The implications of purchasing on society exist from extraction of raw materials, manufacturing of finished products, shipping and distribution, and usage and disposal. Communities, employees and customers are impacted by your sourcing practices. Some of the key concerns from a social perspective, our abuse and exploitation in the workplace. This can range from taking away all of our workers freedoms to sexual harassment and other forms of coercion. Hazardous working conditions. This is especially problematic in markets where there is little regulation or oversight of industries and where corruption is rampant, it's easier to pay off and Inspector then make the necessary investments in safety equipment and supplies. Unequal pay and a whole host of conditions that apply primarily to women. In some industries, women are forced to take pregnancy tests and are not afforded maternity benefits we are accustomed to in North America and Europe. Environmental practices that harm workers and communities such as the heavy use of pesticides and toxic chemicals. This is particularly concerning in places where workers are not even given proper protective gear. Or even worse, children are handling materials that contain extremely dangerous chemicals. Other than these concerns, similar consequences can be experienced by customers who use these products. I will tell you from my own personal experience. Over the years, I have developed chemical sensitivity. It started when I was about 20 and suddenly developed an allergy to common laundry detergent ingredients. Then in my 30s, I used to dye my hair and each time I would increasingly get a chemical burn on my head until one day I got my hair dyed and my head literally was swollen. My whole head, my coworker looked at me and asked, Is your head swollen? It was funny but not. I went to the hospital. I got a steroid pack and I've never dyed my hair sense. I'm fine with being a silver fox. Then in my forties, I experienced sick building syndrome. Office I was working in and got new carpet and furniture and paint and it literally made me sick. Sick building syndrome is what happens when the volatile organic compounds or VOCs are not able to properly off-gas from building materials. I develop headaches and even nausea. So let my cautionary tale show you the impact your choices can have on customers. All of these concepts of the triple bottom line work together. There's the concept of nested dependencies. Imagine three concentric circles. The smallest inner one is the economy or profit. And it is inside the circle for people. And that is inside the circle for the planet. You can't have a healthy economy without healthy people. And you can't have healthy people without a healthy planet. Before moving on, take a moment to reflect on your own personal experiences. Have you ever encountered products that made you ill? Have you ever had trouble moving comfortably around a building? Are there particular social or environmental issues that push your buttons and make you agitate it or worried, these can be a good place to start because you are more likely to be passionate and convincing about topics that have affected you personally. Just be careful not to make it too personal. Keep your emotions balanced and remain professional and presenting sustainability to others so that your message is well received and thoughtfully considered. In the next lesson, I want to take a few minutes to warn you about the reality and some trade offs that you should expect when attempting to make your procurement more sustainable. Don't worry, it's a word of warning, but it's also a word of encouragement. 6. Sustainability Reality & Trade off: A word of warning at this point, throughout this course, I will share some startling facts about supply chains. And in your own research, you will uncover facts and practices that are going to be negative. You may even think of them as appalling. But as you discover some of the awful truths of supply chains do not assume it is intentional, while some of the behavior is intentionally harmful or even criminal. It's important to realize that each step along the way, there's a possibility of withholding information, sometimes intentionally, sometimes inadvertently. And there are many different cultures and languages involved in different organizations. Even when everyone is on their best behavior, misinformation and mistakes can happen. Sometimes decision-makers don't know any better, just like you may not have been aware of these potential harmful side effects. They may have also been unaware. Some supply chain activities have been in play for so long. The few have ever question the approach or harmful outcomes. This, we've always done it this way. Thinking is the enemy of many, a sustainability initiative. Now I'm not making excuses for anyone. There are some out there that are just bad actors and they just don't care how their operations impact the planet, their employees or consumers. This is all the more reason we need to bring this information to light. This better enables policymakers, boards of directors, and other stakeholders to make decisions that result in positive impact. The sustainable procurement audit you will perform in this course helps you expose these realities and develop or update policies and practices. It is also important to note the concept of trade-offs. Sometimes we have to take the bad with the good. For example, if we want to keep using electronic devices and battery powered vehicles, certain metals will need to be mined from the earth. Sometimes these are even life-saving devices. Are you willing to give up your smartphone to reduce mining? So you see these choices are not always black and white. As you learn more about the supply chains of products you use every day, think about this in terms of a continuum. How can you make choices that are better? Since perfect is rarely an option and it doesn't end with procurement and usage of the product in the process, we should also examined disposal and possibilities for recycling, repurposing, and even upcycling. For example, electronic waste is sometimes sent to areas where children are forced to disassemble devices to retrieve precious metals. Toxins from these metals also seep into the nearby water supply. Again, I don't think any of us are ready to give up our phones. And you may not even be in a position to have any sway of the design or production of smart phones. But you can control the length of your phones useful life or its disposal method. And sometimes there are trade offs between planet and people. For example, when we choose to hold digital conferences and tell him meetings, we reduce carbon emissions by not flying and driving. But what about all those people employed by the airline industry? And what about the carbon emissions from electricity in datacenters that are needed to hold digital conferences. So you see, it can be maddening to think you can make a right or wrong choice. The key is to know the organizational or personal values and mission by which you will judge options. And other times the Trade-offs require a greater understanding of a full range of product and disposal aspects. For example, many in the food service industry assumed biodegradable service where is better than plastic. And generally that is true. But the conditions under which these bio-degradable or compostable products are manufactured, how far they are shipped, whether plastic can be re-used or properly recycled and so forth. All factor into which is truly the better option. Many of my clients and those in the audiences where I speak are looking for clear and simple choices. I often hear something to the effect of just tell me what to do. I wish it were that easy. This course and the work you will need to do to apply what you learn is challenging, but a worthy pursuit. So don't get discouraged along the way. It's about progress, not perfection. In the next lesson, I introduced the vital role of stakeholders in the ethical procurement process. And you can start building your sustainable procurement audit team. 7. The Stakeholder Imperative: In a later lesson, I will share steps for preparing for and performing a sustainable purchasing audit. Part of that process is to put together a cross-functional team, what some call a green team. Or it can simply be a task force designed for a short-term project. But I want to spend time now before you begin considering the details and nuances of environmental and social implications of procurement, explaining the vital importance of stakeholders. I will review a few different types of stakeholders. Why each should be a part of your ethical procurement considerations. Some tips for how to engage each. First, let's start with executives and organizational leadership. These are perhaps the most important stake holders because they generally have ultimate authority to approve or reject proposed changes. They can also open the doors and smooth the path necessary to establish an uphold new policies that promote sustainability and procurement. This executive stakeholder may or may not care about the environmental or social benefits, but they will definitely care about the business case. In an earlier lesson, I explain the relationship between sustainable procurement and the profit element of the triple bottom line. I provided some tips for finding the economic business case. And I cannot emphasize enough the value of developing a solid business case for any sustainability initiative. The executive stakeholder wants this first and foremost. Second, it's vital to engage your peers and staff from as many departments as possible. These are the people that have to live with your choices, so to speak. If you choose a more sustainable option for a tool, material, or solution they use on a daily basis, but did not include this important stakeholder in the decision-making process. You could face a sustainability mutiny. It's best if you acknowledge and lean on their expertise related to the supplies they use every day, they can provide insights deeper than whatever specification might be on paper. And while they should certainly have a vested interest in how the products they need to do their job could have potential harmful human health or environmental impacts. There's a good chance they are not even aware of these issues. Later when we get to the sustainable procurement audit, we will review additional tips for successfully involving staff. Third, your vendors are critical to obtaining the information you need to assess your supply chains. Be aware that your vendors will want to know about potential changes you plan to make and procurement, especially if it's detrimental to their sales projections. That does not mean you have to disclose all your plans. However, vendors can be the key to data and specifications you need to make informed decisions. Vendors can also be a powerful ally or a frustrating obstacle as you embark on this journey toward sustainable procurement, I recommend you be as transparent and clear with your expectations and build positive rather than adversarial relationships with them. Fourth, customers may care about the social and environmental impacts of your procurement, particularly as it pertains to their health and comfort. If you have customers who tend to care deeply about the kind of issues we discussed, then they will be keen to learn about your responsible sourcing efforts and even reward you with loyalty, advocacy, and higher price tolerance. Engaging customers and procurement decisions can be tricky. They are not likely to be aware of or care about the details. For example, many hotel customers just care that a room is clean, not necessarily that a specific green cleaning solution was used. They might care if they knew more about this product and its advantages over other cleaning products. The challenge is in a hotel scenario, it's easy to overwhelm a guest with education and signage about every sustainable choice. So you may need to go through a process of discovering which issues or aspects of your procurement would matter to them. You can do this with secondary market research or primary research such as surveys or focus groups. The fifth stakeholder is your local community. Those who live near your operations or those of your major suppliers, maybe exposed to harmful chemicals, polluted air, or other negative outputs of your or your suppliers operations. These can often be a forgotten stakeholder because they do not have the power or influence to get the attention of your organization. Unfortunately, we see this play out in decades long battles between vulnerable communities and large corporations. Ideally, you would investigate the effects of your procurement, I'll communities and make decisions accordingly. This can be one of the more difficult aspects to research as these situations often go unreported until there is enough momentum in the formal complaints and plenty of harm has already been done. A good approach is to ask vendors what policies and practices they have in place to protect communities. The sixth stakeholder includes the many non-profit organizations who perform research and do advocacy work related to issues such as climate change, pollution, animal welfare and more. They can be incredible sources of knowledge and sometimes even free tools. One such global organization is the World Wildlife Fund. Wwf is involved in topics ranging from biodiversity protection to food waste reduction and numerous others. And the final stakeholder in my list is industry groups and professional associations. If your competitors or those in similar roles are also experiencing the same challenges with social and environmental performance. There may be industry panels or groups working on common policies and solutions. This is the principle of the tide raises all boats. The tough social and environmental issues that plague an industry, supply chains become a common enemy you can band together to fight. This is the perfect opportunity to collaborate on solutions to common problems. There are likely other stakeholders you would encounter along the way. Apply the same principles noted here to engage them in a positive and productive manner. Take a moment now to list the stakeholders you should engage in each of these categories. In the next lesson, we dive into environmentally preferable purchasing in more detail, starting with materials, sustainability. 8. Materials Management: Our traditional approach to production and consumption has been a linear model, often referred to as take, make waste. Meaning we extract raw materials from the earth, a process which can have significant environmental consequences. We make stuff, a process which provides the goods and services we enjoy, but also results in negative social and environmental byproducts. Then we burn in communities and the planet with our waste. Over the last century, as production has become cheaper and faster, our consumption model has also sped up. We demand more and more stuff. And preferably the latest and greatest. Many who have a negative view of sustainability do so because the criticism of this model implies a need to slow down production and consumption and consequently slowing down the economy. Since that is a tide not easily turned, there are increased efforts to reduce the need to take or make new materials by reusing existing ones. This concept is called the circular economy. Circularity begins at the design stage when plans can be made such that products are more easily re-used, repurposed, or recycled. I'd like to take a moment to emphasize the importance of considering the lifecycle of the product you purchase. In fact, some manufacturers who take their environmental stewardship seriously will often perform what is called a life-cycle analysis, or LCA. This exercise assesses the environmental impact of a product from raw materials to production, to usage and finally disposal. Indeed, some markets or even instituting extended producer responsibility, or EPR. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, or OECD, defines APR as a policy approach under which producers are given a significant responsibility, financial and or physical for the treatment or disposal of post-consumer products. Such legislation forces manufacturers to be more mindful of the materials they use or the overall design that can either limit or facilitate recycling. Some products require special handling and processing and cannot be simply dropped off at a recycling center. Extended producer responsibility encourages Take back programs were those who are best equipped to recycle or repurpose part or all of a product will be responsible for doing so. Let's look more closely at the example of mattresses. As of early 2020, three US states participate in the mattress recycling Council program, which provides guidance and resources for manufacturers, retailers and commercial users such as hotels and hospitals, as well as consumers. According to their website, more than 50 thousand mattresses are thrown out. Every day. That's just in the United States. You can learn more about this at mattress recycling council, DOT ORG. An article in The Guardian points out that a common marketing practice in the industry fosters waste. If you have shopped for a mattress in the last couple of years, you may have received at 100 day money-back guarantee or similar trial period promotion that lowers the risk of purchase. And Wall Street Journal reporter calculated that if she responded to all the available offers, it would enable her to sleep on a free mattress for eight years. The reason I highlight this example is that it demonstrates how much we are driven by desire, pleasure, satisfaction, and basic human behavior. These things are not bad, but when unchecked and out of balance with the global consequences, we end up accelerating environmental disaster. Every single procurement decision in favor of environmental stewardship not only turns the tide of negative impacts, but also sends a message to industry leaders, customers, friends and neighbors, and co-workers. Never underestimate the power of your choices or actions. Let's look at other examples of material sustainability and circular economy. Textile industry is fraught with environmental issues. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation produced a circular economics publication on the textile life cycle. I'd like to read some quotes from this report. The industry relies on 98 million times in total of non-renewable resources per year producing plastic based fibers for textiles uses an estimated 342 million barrels of oil every year. And the production of cotton is estimated to require 200 thousand tons of pesticides and 8 million tons of fertilizers annually. 20% of industrial water pollution globally is attributable to the dying and treatment of textile. This includes pollution runoff from synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and insecticides. And last but not least, less than 1% of material used to produce clothing is recycled into new clothing, representing a loss of more than $100 billion worth of materials each year. You might consider the impacts of suppliers of uniforms, promotional t-shirts, and other clothing or fashion items required by your organization. Efforts by the fashion and textile producers to reduce their environmental footprint include vegan leathers, eucalyptus, hip, and Bamboo fibers, as well as other sustainably grown textile materials and textile recycling programs. The idea of a circular economy is not limited, just a textiles. Think of how the electronics and appliances we use every day are problematic because advancements and innovations render today's gadget obsolete within a few months or a few years. The Silicon Valley toxics coalition argues that according to the Environmental Protection Agency data, only 15 to 20 percent of e-waste is recycled. The electronics industry is responsible for a significant portion of metal extraction through unsustainable and inhumane mining practices, with over 80 percent of total supply going to the electronics industry for certain metals. According to a Swedish study published for the International Conference on information and communication technology for sustainability. This is just one more compelling point to support any effort you can make to reduce the need for new electronics through reuse and repair and to implement an electronics recycling program at your workplace. The reality for textiles and electronics is that they end up in the landfill because the path to sustainability is not always clear and rarely convenient When we cannot simply throw these items in the curbside recycling or the commercial recycling pickup. We toss them in the bin next to that, the one destined for the landfill. We have these options to consider. First is to repair and reuse if it can be reasonably restored to expected standards of quality and performance. Second, always donate anything that is still functional while a chair or TV might not live up to the standards of the hotel brand. It might still be perfectly usable at a local community center or school. A great first start is to create a list of what could be donated so that others can see that potential for generosity to those in need. Next, we so easily toss things out at the first sign of disrepair. But these items might still be useful if repurposed. For example, some textiles could be used for cleaning rags. Finally, when all of the above options have been exhausted, you should look into specialized recycling, such as the mattress resources presented earlier or regional electronics recyclers. Note that the order is important. Start with options to reuse and only recycle as a last resort, recycling materials requires additional energy and water to process, therefore has a higher environmental footprint than reuse or repurpose. Here are some questions to answer in your journey to achieve greater circularity in your organization. What circularity factors are currently considered in procurement? What are the existing policies and practices in place to extend the life of items? Or your peers and leaders aware of the environmental impact of their procurement. I recommend you convene a small task force and select just three to five items for a deeper dive circularity review for each, ask the following. What do you know about the raw materials required to make that item? What factors into the decision to discard the item? Where does it go? Can it be repurposed, donated, recycled? What new or alternative materials are on the market for this item? What change, either in what you procure or how you manage it, can you reasonably make to improve your environmental footprint? Remember to consider the business case. You might encounter resistance from the team who would be responsible for handling repairs or donations. But if you can show the financial benefits, such as tax deductions or reduced expenses, it's easier to get others on board. In the next lesson, we look at the serious problem of plastics and packaging. 9. Plastics and Packaging: Plastics. This is one of the topics I and other sustainability consultants get asked about the most. According to a 2019 Shelton groups survey of consumers, ocean plastic was the number one issue of concern out of a list of 10 environmental issues. Plastic waste in general appeared at the top of a list of environmental issues consumers feel they can personally impact. And that's where you come in. It is an area where you can have impact both as a consumer and more importantly, as a change maker in your organization. According to data shared on our world in In 2015, we the world that is produced more than 380 million tons of plastic. 380 million tons in one year. It's hard to really visualize how much that is. If you visit our world in and search on plastic pollution, you can see a plethora of data and graphs that you can download and use in your internal presentations. That same data source also shows that less than 20 percent of plastic gets recycled, about 20 percent gets incinerated, and the remainder is discarded mostly to landfills, but some ends up in waterways, beaches, and the ocean. According to World Wildlife Fund, a plastic water bottle or COP, will take about 450 years to break down in the ocean. Decomposition rates are similar for plastic that ends up in land. Any of these materials breaking down in our natural ecosystems is problematic, to say the least, these microplastics can harm and even destroy wildlife. And according to a 2019 World Wildlife Fund Commission study, people eat that plastic equivalent of about one credit card per week, mostly by drinking microplastics in water. Keep in mind, plastic is not all bad. Most of the life-saving devices found in hospitals are made of plastic. Mini plastic items have a useful life of many, many years. So when we talk about plastic as a problem, we are predominantly speaking of single or limited use plastic, some of which can be easily replaced with sustainable alternatives or practices. Hospitality operations rely heavily on disposable plastic items. You may have picked up on the pressure received by hotels and restaurants to address their plastic pollution. Particularly small, difficult to recycle items such as sterols and amenity bottles. The attention placed on straws and the effort to remove or replace them is a demonstration of how innovation and care for the environment can lead to new and different approaches to materials sourcing and product development. Straws can be found made out of bamboo, paper, avocado seats and straw. I especially loved the stories of materials replacements that also align with or enhance a branding strategy. Jose Clairvaux, the prolific tequila producer, is making biodegradable straws from a GAVI, the plant used to make tequila. Sterols are also a good model for how minor adjustments on the part of Businesses and consumers can make a difference for those unwilling to be completely rid of stalls. Or if you happen to have a few months of straw inventory on hand, you can always introduce behavior change initiatives like what many restaurants have done by requiring customers request to straw, rather than providing it automatically. There are scores of other plastics that can be either reduced or entirely eliminated with new product formations, such as concentrates or powdered format. Plastic makes it possible for us to ship anything anywhere. Some might argue we should not. But it is quite remarkable that it is possible and not realistic, but it will stop anytime soon. We need to make the changes we can to reduce excess use of plastic as well as fine, better materials for wrappers and padding. Think of all the condiment packages, shrink wrap, bubble wrap, and all the other soft plastics we rely on every day. Let's look at a couple of packaging examples from a hotel. First, if you were in charge of procurement for a new or renovated 100 room hotel, you would need to buy at least a 120 TVs or large monitors. Each comes in a box with plastic based packaging around the TVs. Each of the power cables is wrapped with plastic twist ties and inside additional soft plastic bags. The remote controls likely are in separate soft plastic bags. There are likely plastic films lining Not only the main screen, but the remote face, the back of the TV and other parts. All of that is intended to be removed and disposed and most of it is not recyclable. Imagine the impact if you could work with the supplier to reduce packaging for bulk orders, it's worth at least asking. The other hotel example comes from the restaurant. I've often seen large-scale catering kitchen prep. Our line cooks are opening packages of raw ingredients, could be fruit or nuts or cheese or whatever. In size is similar to what you might see at the grocery store or a wholesale stores. Imagine preparing lunch for 5 thousand people and opening 200 individual bags of broccoli. Would it be possible to work with a local farmer to get large boxes of broccoli not packed in plastic. Sometimes such packaging is necessary to keep ingredients fresher longer. And this goes back to the concept of trade-offs I mentioned earlier. Remember these choices are not black and white. And one choice you can always make is to question the status quo and your procurement process, but be careful not to judge the practice prematurely. Sometimes things that may seem wasteful on the surface end up preventing other waste. Perhaps smaller bags of produce make it easier to store, freeze, or donate, thereby reducing food waste. It is extremely common to run across these examples of excess right under your nose, just waiting for the right person to come along and say, hey, what if we did this instead? Every organization and industry and profession has ways of doing things because that's how it's always been done. So if you wonder why no one in your organization or your industry has noticed these things and made these changes. Well, maybe you were the missing ingredient. Maybe the situation needed someone like you who cares enough to notice, is willing enough to investigate the alternatives and present a business case and has the leadership to see it through. It takes courage and perseverance to get people to change, even when it comes to how broccoli is packaged. Another important thing to understand about plastics is the different types of plastic materials, how they are used and where or even if they can be recycled. Plastics are categorized using an acronym and number which you have probably seen on the bottom of a water bottle or a yogurt container. Learn which plastics are accepted in your area so that you can use that as a decision criteria for selecting alternative plastics where they are available. For example, if you live in an area that will only accept clear PT-1, which is polyethylene terephthalate, then you should be aware of that. You would not be able to recycle green or blue P t1 bottles. And don't worry, you won't be expected to remember polyethylene terephthalate, just remember PT-1. Same goes for other categories of plastics like HDP E2. High density polyethylene is used for bottles, for laundry detergents or cleaners, as well as milk jugs. These are commonly accepted at recycling centers, but not always. So you should do your homework and know what you can recycle. Number three is known as PVC and is not recyclable, but maybe re-used or repurposed number for a soft plastic, like what food is typically packaged in or the shrink wrap you find on most products and is rarely recycled. According to the plastic data at our world and, the largest category of plastic by weight is type for the flimsy LDP that is rarely recycled. As you consider your organization's plastics procurement, it may be helpful to do a plastics waste audit. Choose some plastic items you purchase more frequently. Look for plastics or pasta components that are really just entirely unnecessary. When you do your audit and begin suggesting changes you will face a lot of but what about this or that? This pushback is just a sign of people's natural resistance to change. Your job is to gather the data, make reasonable and approachable suggestions, build relationships with the objectors and gain acceptance or the business case and collaboration. I also recommend an audit of the packaging that many in the organization may never see or be aware of. If you have the space created an area where you can unpack items and put packaging in a pile, take photos of it, weigh it, observe it, and learn about which can be recycled and which cannot. The next lesson is a bit of a continuation of the topic of packaging as we cover paper and cardboard, as well as some other single use materials, such as aluminum and glass. 10. Paper and Single Use Items: In this lesson, I review the three main activities to keep in mind when it comes to sustainability for paper, cardboard, glass, aluminum, and other single or limited use items. Reduce, replace, recycle, reduction and recycling, or mostly about behavior change. But procurement can play a role in helping people reduce and prioritizing recyclable materials. Let's start with reduction. Reduction is a critical aspect of developing a business case for sustainability in general, and can offset increased costs for environmentally preferable materials. A common scenario I hear about in hotels is that several times per day, reports that are often several 100 pages long are printed out. The world states that 50% of business waste is paper, and that paper is about 26 percent of landfill waste. So there's clearly still room for improvement here. According to a report by the environmental paper network on paper consumption, quote, the global average is 55 kilograms per person per year. While regionally the consumption in North America is the highest registering for times that in quote, again from my American friends, I'll do the conversion and the math and tell you that's 485 pounds of paper per person per year. More than half of that is packaging and wrapping, with the second highest usage being printing. A couple of years ago, I got rid of my home office printer and I avoid printing as much as I possibly can. It's easier than you think to go paperless. Now, why would a hotel print so much paper? Those reports are mostly a backup plan if power or Internet go out. This is an excellent example of something people just keep doing because that's how they've always done it. Surely there must be options to eliminate the need for a printed hardcopy, even ones that can be in place when the Internet and electricity go down. You could set up a process whereby the report is sink to a secure, charged up tablet ready for reference when needed. Sometimes sustainability initiatives feel like simply getting with the times. And when you can't avoid printing out that long report, more efficient report design or a double-sided printing would reduce the number of pages. If you would like to better understand your environmental footprint associated with paper Visit paper Reduction strategies are a great way to achieve some wins that bring credibility to the green team or overall cause of sustainability. A participant in one of my sustainability courses worked for a small retailer located inside a hotel. She started noticing all the waste associated with the business. She began working on some small reduction efforts that really added up. For instance, she showed how a simple process change would save about $800 per year in paper towels. This built trust with the owners and made them more receptive to other procurement suggestions she had. She also observed that a manufacturer of sunscreens was sending tubes inside of boxes, inside of other boxes. It was complete packaging overkill. The inner box was not even branded or meant for the shelf and the tubes really did not need to be packaged in these individual boxes. She reached out to the manufacturer and they agreed to ship without the extra boxes. What a win for her and for the manufacturer. That's lowered material and shipping cost for them with a minimal or no risk to product quality. 90 percent of packages are shipped and cardboard, so any opportunity to reduce excess is a great step in the right direction. Next, let's talk replacement. Even with all the efforts to reduce, you will still need materials. So consider your options for replacing paper and other single or limited use items with better alternatives. What is a better alternative? When it comes to any material replacement, two key ways to reduce nor environmental footprint include increasing the recycled content and opting for rapidly renewable materials. It's always better to use recycled materials instead of virgin material. This goes back to the concept of the circular economy. Sometimes there will be a trade off in quality, but sometimes that doesn't matter. If you are printing pages for internal meetings. Does the paper need to be the highest quality? Probably not. According to green, recycled paper says 31 percent of the energy, 53 percent of the water, 39 percent in solid waste, and of course, 100% and trees. Another benefit of purchasing recycled content products is that it drives higher demand for recycling, which will make recycling more affordable and accessible for more people. The other consideration is the raw materials used to make products. Ideally, you will choose a rapidly renewable resource. This means it is a raw material that can be grown and harvested in less than 10 years. Most hardwood trees take much longer to mature, thus, bamboo, seeds, straw, sugarcane, corn, and other alternatives may be preferable. But be careful, remember to take into account the full spectrum of environmental and social factors. A rapidly renewable resource could still be grown using high levels of pesticides and other irresponsible agricultural practices and poor working conditions for glass consider replacing with lighter weight materials because the heaviness of glass as to the shipping footprint, this is another example of trade-offs. If plastic is the only alternative, it may be preferable to have a slightly more intensive shipping footprint, then descend plastic to landfill. When considering replacements, look beyond just the core material for a more complete sustainability strategy. So for paper, be sure to choose chlorine free processing, toxic free inks, and even consider the impact of habitats. I once participated in a behind the scenes sustainability tour of Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, where the football team, the Eagles play. The person leading the tour explained many aspects of sustainability. But the one that most struck me was that when they found out the manufacturer of their toilet paper harvested trees from forests which are Eagle habitat. They switched brands. I just loved that story. It shows how varied the sustainability opportunities are, how important it is to know more about the companies we purchased from, and how beautiful it is when we can align our sustainability efforts with brand values that will resonate with customers. Now for step 3, recycle, you'll still have materials that must be disposed off. So ensure the highest recycling rate you possibly can. Maybe participating in this course may work for organizations that still do not even have a recycle program. I have encountered this far more often than one would expect. Remember that businesses are often limited by the waste management services offered by their municipality or private waste management firms in the area. If your organization does not have a recycling programs, start with the materials that are most recyclable. The materials that waste management companies or municipalities except depend on the sorting capabilities and the demand for the recycled materials they process. The market driver is strongest for aluminum and cardboard. The key thing to remember is that aluminum and glass are infinitely recyclable, meaning the materials never degrade. Cardboard fibers can be recycled five to seven times over time, cardboard to grades and can be used to produce tissue and other paper packaging and products. Keep in mind that tape stickers and some inks can rent our paper, cardboard and plastic on recyclable. Check with your waste management representative to learn what is accepted and preferred. Partnering with them to select the best materials is a win-win for both. Since composting is basically recycling for food and natural materials, I'd like to point out some things to be aware of. Increasingly, paper and fiber products have become a replacement for plastics. Agricultural crops and byproducts are used to make compostable items, especially for food service. These are encouraging developments, but it is important to understand that compostable is not always as compostable as you might think, because liquids, particularly hot ones, can't be stored well or for a long and a paper-based vessel. These products need to be lined with materials, sometimes plastic based, that make them more difficult to break down. This means they typically don't do well in a backyard composting system. And you may need to check with your commercial composter to see how much of these materials they'll accept since such materials alter the compost formula and processing. At the end of the day, if they end up in landfill, it's still better than plastic. But I want you to be realistic about the environmental footprint if you don't take measures to recycle or compost. In the next lesson, you learned how to start assessing and lowering the carbon footprint of your procurement. 11. Carbon Emissions in Supplies: Here we will discuss the reasoning behind and strategies for reducing your organisation's carbon footprint through procurement decisions. Everything has a carbon footprint, but our goal is to reduce it as much as possible. This can be a daunting task, so it's important to separate areas where emissions reduction are possible and began to chip away one piece at a time before we get into the categories of emissions and how businesses choose to disclose reduce sad emissions. Let's review how the carbon cycle relates to procurement. The word carbon gets a bad reputation because of its chemical contribution to climate change. But we have to remember that every living thing is made from carbon is not the carbon molecule itself that's troublesome. Rather it's the concentration of carbon in the wrong places on earth and in the air that is cause for concern. Carbon is in what we eat, breathe, and build with. But too much of it in the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels is an overload that can influence the climate in unpredictable ways. The United Nations categorizes human-caused climate change through any large-scale negative human impact on the long-term health of the environment. In your procurement decisions, keep in mind the carbon that is unnaturally cycled in extraction, production, distribution, usage, disposal, and the combustion of fossil fuels that facilitate all of these processes. The overall goal of climate action through procurement should be to keep carbon out of the atmosphere as much as possible throughout your supply chains. And that all starts with holding companies accountable to their emissions. There are three general scopes of emissions for accompany scope 1, emissions are emissions as a direct result of your operations. Scope 2, emissions are indirect emissions from electricity generation needed to run your organization. Scope 3, emissions include all other indirect emissions. That means we try to aggregate all the emissions from upstream activities, including all the tiers of a supply chain involved in fulfilling procurement needs plus downstream emissions after the customer purchase. Many companies already focused on scope 1 and 2 emissions because those are the easiest to compute, regulate, and control. Scope 3, emissions are far more complex to assess because of capacity, fraud and other global supply chain challenges I referenced at the beginning of the course. Nonetheless, expectations among stakeholders increasingly drive ESG reporting. That's environmental, social, and governance. And scope 3, emissions reduction is gaining popularity in recent years. Your company may already or may soon be expected to report on scope 3 emissions. So how can you know your suppliers emissions or keep them accountable for managing and lowering emissions? There are established third-party organizations that have successfully began holding companies accountable to their scope 3 emissions. Such as Bloomberg's task force on climate related financial disclosures or T CFD. You can also learn more about climate related disclosures at CDP dotnet. Check out these resources to see if your vendors are transparent about their emissions. The state of green because 2021 report shows the number of companies that back TC FDI is five times what it was in 2011. Scope three reporting is increasingly a filter for choosing investments and companies are beginning to take that into account in business decision-making. Here are some strategies for climate action through procurement. Choose products with lower embodied energy. There is often a more efficient way to get the same good to the same place while also reducing the amount of energy used to do so. Take aluminum, for example. Recycled aluminum uses 95% less energy to create a new product compared to the mining and manufacturing process, a virgin material from ground to the final product. Or what about paper? Clearing forest is the highest contributor to climate change. You don't have to switch to 100% post-consumer recycled paper products. But you can find similar substitutes that have lower embodied energy if they are, let's say, made from 40 percent recycled content, that's small decision can have a huge impact at scale. And what about food? In a 2020 triple pundit article about the carbon footprint and the food industry, quote, a United Kingdom based meat alternative company named corn, announced their launch of a carbon labeling system for their own foods to help consumers understand the full lifecycle of every product. In quote, we won't get into the deep details, but the meat industry is responsible for a significant amount of deforestation, greenhouse gas emissions, land and water pollution, as well as animal rights violations. Through your decisions to decrease procured meet by say 10 percent. And instead source local produce, you can be a part of the solution. While we're talking about local sourcing, it's important to notice how reducing shipping for everything, not just food, can save both carbon emissions as well as money when you approach it with the right strategies. Project Drawdown provide some excellent guidance on climate action decisions that businesses can suggest or demand from vendors and themselves, ranging from nutrient management in agricultural practices to efficient ocean shipping for supply chains. Remember that when we talk about scope three Upstream emissions, we're not only talking about carbon dioxide reduction, we also want to take an all encompassing approach to assess the sustainability of your vendors and your own company by looking at environmental impacts on nearby land, air, water, and people, we need to recognize the inefficient use of water and our global infrastructure. Water is a finite resource and reducing the amount of water wasted throughout your supply chain can have a significant impact, especially for the most water-scarce Communities. Project Drawdown also published quote. The World Bank calculates that 8.6 trillion gallons are lost each year through leaks. When it comes to climate action, reducing water usage and water waste is one of the easiest to implement and has one of the most immediate benefits on people and planet. You can easily search the amount of water required to produce everyday products by checking out the website, water The last strategy for climate action through procurement will bring us right back to the standard metric for measuring emissions. Greenhouse gases, also known as GH jeez. You can and should hold suppliers accountable for GHG, such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and other air pollutants such as sulfur dioxide, nitrous oxide, methane, and chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs. Sometimes you may hear greenhouse gases reported in terms of CO2 equivalent. That means that all GHG are converted to their equivalency in carbon dioxide. It's just an easy way to simplify reporting so that we can compare apples to apples, whether it's reducing embodied energy overall or more specific carbon emissions reduction strategies. There are small steps that can make you a leader in climate action through procurement. The end result should always be a reduction of your carbon footprint from purchasing. In the next lesson, I recommend how you can learn more about the potentially harmful chemicals in your supply chains. 12. Chemicals and Human Health: This lesson served as a broad overview of chemicals of concern and they're harmful effects on human health. Keep in mind that though the consumer perception of chemicals is often negative, chemicals can be naturally occurring. And most synthetic chemicals are designed and intended for good purposes. For example, pesticides and herbicides were developed to generate more efficient agricultural yields to feed a growing global population. This phenols and violates make plastic moldable, flexible and durable. Flame retardants prevent fires from spreading. Antimicrobials are used to make cleaning products more effective. Pair fluorinated compounds, also known as PFAS, are chemicals that make waterproof, close, and non-stick cookware. Possible. Volatile organic compounds or VOCs, give us lovely vanilla scented candles and other pleasing fragrances. Now with the good side of chemicals comes the baggage that gives the word chemicals a negative reputation. Unfortunately, some chemicals can be harmful to human health. Many are endocrine disruptors, which means they have been shown to cause cancer, reproductive problems, birth defects and impaired neurological development. Chemicals in our food and every day supplies have been linked to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, migraines and headaches, dizziness, nausea, and other health concerns. The impact of harmful cleaning chemicals has been linked to higher rates of asthma and ear, nose and throat irritation and custodial workers. Many of the goods in your procurement have a chemical footprint, which is defined by the chemical footprint project as a metric measuring the chemicals of concern in products, manufacturing processes, facilities, supply chains and packaging. Think about the many goods your company purchases, cleaning materials, paint, fragrances and deodorizers, furniture, plastics of any kind, food paper. These are all goods that can have a chemical footprint you may not even know about. The most important thing to do is continue learning about chemicals in your supplies and expect transparency from your vendors. The resources I point to in this lesson, we'll lay a foundation to get you started. Let's begin with food and excellent resource for learning about chemicals, especially those found in food, is the Environmental Working Group. The website is where you can find their famous dirty dozen report and shopper's guide. Each year, they publish a list of the 12 foods that contain the most pesticide residue. These are foods you should try to buy organic as much as possible. The report provides more details about the chemicals the agricultural industry uses prolifically, including chemicals found to be carcinogenic. There is a wide range of chemicals that go into food production. Some good, some bad, some unavoidable. But what we should be paying attention to is the amount of potentially harmful chemicals found in any good you purchase. Herbicides and pesticides on farms which kill pollinators, such as honey bees and other wildlife, are sometimes found in larger concentrations than recommended on ready to eat produce not good. Furthermore, additives, such as preserve had his coloring and other chemicals are used on many of the products that line the supermarket shelves. Also not good. And the packaging itself contains the chemicals mentioned earlier, such as PFAS, lines, cans, and other packaging. One study actually found that powdered, she's like what you would find in a box of mac and cheese contained four times the fight or flight level of unprocessed cheese. So you see there are so many ways that harmful chemicals can be embedded in your procurement. Like the plastics industry and other areas of environmental concern. The chemicals industry issues are exacerbated by international supply chains with layers of middlemen that further prevent us from fully knowing what's in a product. Many chemical formulas are protected by patents or considered proprietary, and therefore companies are not always required to disclose the exact components or amounts. Complex and sometimes conflicting scientific studies add to the confusion. A lack of regulation, along with powerful lobbies and industry associations fight against both regulation and the dissemination of accurate information. Increasingly, some regions of the world are introducing bands to harmful chemicals. The European Union has already banned many chemicals still allowed in the United States. And within the US, California tends to lead the way with regulating chemicals. This does not always mean they are banned, but it is a step in the right direction. In some cases, it means the addition of warning labels or other disclosures meant to protect consumers. If you live in the US, you may notice warning tags on items or packaging that specifically reference California Codes. Government regulation is a touchy topic because it is so political, so I won't weigh in too much on that. But it is worth noting that regulations like Eco certifications that I will discuss in an upcoming lesson, do simplify your job as it relates to ethical procurement. And understandably, given all the great things chemicals can do for us, the general population is mostly unaware of the problems or unwilling to give up their favorite salt, a pan, or beauty cream. Similarly, you may have an internal battle in your hands if you try to remove a supply or your coworkers love or find super convenient. If you really want to make changes in your procurement, it will take time, time to change minds and habits of your peers, but also lots of time to do the research. Researching sustainability issues can quickly lead you down a rabbit hole. No doubt you are a busy person and most likely your main job is not sustainable procurement. Here are a few steps you can take. First, prioritize your list. Almost everything you purchase has a chemical in it. It can be overwhelming. So figure out a way to narrow down where you should start. For example, a hotel could start with Lenin's. Cotton makes up 3% of the world's crops, but uses 25 percent of the world's pesticides. Don't think that because you're not eating sheets or towels, those pesticides do not impact human health. Your skin is your largest organ. If it's on you, it's in you. And also remember that those pesticides do horrific damage to pollinators, wildlife habitats, soil and water. How these are all those ecosystem services I explained in an earlier lesson. You could also prioritized based on volume of spin or based on corporate or customer interests. Perhaps one of the chemicals I listed caught your attention. Start there and expand your research as you and your taskforce feel comfortable doing so. Next, get familiar with some of those certifications and list out there that help you identify better options. While the sustainable procurement audit you do in the course is more about data then decisions. It does help to have a list of alternatives ready. And in this category, certifications facilitate this. Look for the presence of certifications such as Green Seal or green screen. Also use the website and app to look into items you buy. You can also request a health product declaration on supplies typically used in building, construction, and renovation, including paints, glues, and carpet. Third, learn what you can about your existing suppliers. It might be easier to research the good stuff than the bad, because transparency is still a challenge in chemical supply chains. For example, the US Food and Drug Administration does not require companies to disclose certain chemical details because those formulations are considered trade secrets. I generally try to stay positive and assume the best in people. But if you're a vendor is not freely disclosing partner and accurate details about their chemical footprint. You might start with the assumption that they are using harmful chemicals. This doesn't mean you abandon them right away. In some product categories, you may have few places to turn, but learn what you can about any programs, commitments, declarations, or other initiatives they are involved in that indicate their intentions and efforts to move in the right direction. Visit the website chemical, and search on the case studies and look through other resources to learn what participating manufacturers are doing to reduce chemicals in their supply chains and products. To learn more about the chemicals of concern listed in this lesson, visit the website six For short videos and other helpful resources. You might also search on the Red List by the Living Future Institute, an organization that certifies sustainability and buildings. This is a list of chemical classes that should be banned or phased out of building materials. Again, such list and certifications and resources can really save you a lot of time in your research. And be encouraged that any step you take in the right direction is a good one. In the next lesson, we'll discuss humane supply chains. 13. Humane Supply Chains: As I stated in an earlier lesson, finding the research for the supply chain issues is tough. If you have been doing some research along the way, you may have discovered this as well. Even a Harvard Business Review article from 2020 points out that social impact compliance in supply chains is quote, an admiral idea, but it's been hard to realize in practice. In quote, it is challenging. But let's talk more about why it's so important. According to The Guardian, young women consider garments worn one or two times to be old. In order for manufacturers and retailers to offer clothing cheap enough that one could consider wearing it. Only a timer to the industry has to drive down cost and the supply chain. And that can be to the detriment of workers. If you're like me and where your clothes far more often than just a time or two. That doesn't necessarily mean you are not contributing to the problem. If you pay $5 for a t-shirt rather than $20, someone along the supply chain may be paying the price for that cheaply produced item. So retailers drive down costs to attract both the trend seeking and budget conscious shopper. According to the website fashion, 93% of evaluated brands are not paying garment workers a living wage, fashion checker defined on their site, quote, a living wage, recognized by the United Nations as a human right is a wage that is sufficient to afford a decent standard of living for a worker and their family. And quote, now to be fair, some companies are counted among those not paying living wages because they are not providing proof. To the contrary, this underscores the vital importance of transparency and sustainability reporting. Increasingly, if you cannot prove you're doing the right thing, advocacy groups and even consumers will assume you're doing the wrong thing. Did you know that in today's supply chains, there are more than 24 million adults in slavery and more than 150 million in child labor. Only 29 percent of companies surveyed by the United Nations Global Compact actually assess labor rights in their supply chain. There could be a number of factors at play, but remember that supply chains are opaque and complex. A policy might be a chicken and egg game. You might choose to create an ethical procurement policy to reflect practices you already have in place. Or you can use a policy to enforce compliance to responsible sourcing practices you would like to have in place. For some companies, choosing the ladder might put them in a position of suddenly losing access to much of the supply offered within the price range. Their entire business model is based on, in 2010 when I was beginning to explore and learn more about the social impact of supply chains. I learned the uncomfortable truth about slave labor in the chocolate industry. Well, I love chocolate. So I made a decision right then to only buy chocolate bars labeled fair or direct trade. These are schemes that ensure farmers are paid a fair price and workers earn a living wage. There has been an increased awareness through advocacy groups, journalism and consumer pushback. There have been more efforts through technology partnerships and transparent reporting to address the problems in their supply chains. And chocolate is just one of many agricultural commodities in which the farmers and workers are exploited. Even I cannot possibly proactively research every single thing I buy. It can just be too overwhelming and time-consuming. And this is why I recommend you start small and look for certifications such as fair trade and others I will discuss in an upcoming lesson, I tend to make changes as I learn about new issues I had previously been unaware of. For example, a couple of years ago, I learned that the same cartels involved in illicit drug trade are now involved in Avocados. What? I love avocados, how disappointing to hear that. Here's the challenge. I can't walk into my local supermarket and ask, do the avocados come from socially just supply chains where workers are treated and paid. Well, I'm sure I would get some strange looks. And if I were purchasing manager for a hotel, I probably wouldn't have much more like getting a good answer to that either from my distributor. So how can you do the research for this aspect of the supply chain? Here are a few options to consider. First, you can go directly to the person you are sourcing from. Unfortunately, they often represent products which they know very little about because there are many intermediary companies involved before a product reaches its final destination, but it is worth at least asking. If you do not have access to a person to speak to or they are unable or unwilling to answer your questions. Go to the websites of your vendors and see if they have publicly available information on working conditions in their supply chains. I will go ahead and warn you that you will not find much here either. It depends a lot on what type of supplier you are working with and what part they play in the supply chain. The vendor whose label or brand you see may not be the actual manufacturer. And if you do find the actual manufacturer, that company is unlikely to have such transparent reporting. So even though you may not find much information on your vendor websites, it's worth starting there. And if your vendor doesn't respect your brand's values, perhaps it's time to start exploring other suppliers. The second option for researching your supply chain is to do an Internet search on your vendor's name plus terms like social impact and supply chain or supply chain transparency. This would only add to the first step if a journalist or watchdog group has reported on your vendors. Again, it is not likely this will be as helpful as you'd want it to be because of the many tiers in most supply chains. And you are likely to only know the final stop. That said, you should still do an Internet search. It only takes a few minutes. And if you happen to find a good source of data, then that's fantastic. Otherwise, you can check this one off your list and move on to the next step. Third, learn what you can about the general conditions of that industry or raw material. If you work in a hotel, it would be smart to learn as much as you can about textiles and linens. In general. This can be easily accomplished by search terms such as sustainability in the textile industry. Then you may even break it down by sub-categories such as carpets, garments, and linens. You will likely find articles that detail specific events such as the fires and building collapses in garment factories in India. Or you may discover websites and organizations devoted to the cause of sustainability in that industry. For example, you may want to visit the website labor behind the A website such as this can clue you into important dynamics about an industry. For example, about 80% of garment workers are women who are in as little as $21 per month and work in abusive and unsafe environments forth, which will likely have crossover with the previous step. Learn about the regions where products are coming from. You may not be able to find out much about the makers of your linens, but they are likely to have a tag that says made in Vietnam or made in China. What are the human rights records of these countries? Of course, just because a country has a bad reputation with regards to human rights, doesn't mean this particular manufacturer does. Something to keep in mind is that the definition of humane treatment is not a readily agreed upon concept. The United Nations Guiding Principles for business and human rights is one of the many international guidance documents. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder when it comes to things like humane treatment, it is contextual in terms of history, culture, and other factors. This is why it's important to know about international standards and declarations and at least ensure the vendors in your supply chains adhere to these. In the next lesson, we explore the hot topic of supplier diversity. 14. Supplier Diversity: Diversity, equity and inclusion, commonly referred to as DEI, undoubtedly have prominent positions in the corporate responsibility landscape. The acknowledgment that inequality and racism stem from systemic practices is behind many organizations efforts to diversify their supply chains. In this lesson, I present four types of businesses you should aim to include in your procurement strategy. These are not presented in any order of importance as each is a vital contributor to a strong and vibrant economy. The first is women owned businesses. As part of the gender discussion and supplier diversity, you may also note an increased emphasis on LGBTQ Plus as yet another dimension to consider. The American Sustainable Business Council reported in 2018 that only 18 percent of companies evaluated have a policy for purchasing from women owned businesses. And to demonstrate the integrated concept of the triple bottom line of sustainability when you factor in companies with green policies in place, the number of these companies with policies to purchase from women owned businesses jumps to 51%, showing that an overall eat those of ethical purchasing is both an environmental and social endeavor and it needs to be reinforced through an organizational policy. A common complaint or obstacle you might hear from a procurement manager as it relates to women owned businesses or the other types of businesses presented in this lesson is that there are not enough options to choose from statistics to back that up to some extent, but you may need to push your colleagues to dig deeper before just dismissing the idea. According to a 2019 study commissioned by American Express in the United States, the growth of women owned businesses has outpaced that of all businesses. So re-evaluating your procurement choices now may result in different findings. The last time someone in your organization did a DEI focused review, according to the 2019 state of women owned businesses report, women on to 42% of the businesses in the US, but only accounted for 8% of employment and 4% of revenue. This could be interpreted to mean that many of the women owned businesses are very small or microenterprises and would be less likely in a position to offer the products or services you require. One reason for this could be because women tend to start businesses that allow them to work from home and care for a family at the same time. But more likely it is because women are often rejected for bank financing and other resources needed to scale a business. A project in Lebanon found 30% of small businesses were owned by women, but they received only 3% of bank loans. Now, while this may be an extreme case, it proves the point globally, there is a lack of equity and equality for women. One report suggested equal participation of genders in the world economy would add $28 trillion over a decade. The next category is minority owned businesses. You may also hear the term BIPOC. Which stands for black, indigenous, or people of color. According to that same american Express report referenced earlier, the growth rate for women of color from 2014 to 2019 was 43 percent. That is fantastic news. But before we celebrate our achievements in diversity, accept the reality that there is still a long way to go to bring about equity for minority owned enterprises. Another study found that black women earned less than 17%. The average earnings of all women owned businesses. Studies also show black business owners pay higher interest rates on their business loans. And these statistics do underscore the fact that racism is systemic and needs to be addressed and corporate policies, banking practices, government procurement, and other aspects of the overall business ecosystem. You can be a change maker with your supplier diversity decision, no matter how small your actions might seem, like many categories of ethical purchasing. If you want to do good, you have to be willing to go the extra distance and spend additional time on research and vendor evaluation. You will not be able to tackle it all at once. This course introduces you to several categories of environmental and social performance. And there is no right or wrong answer with regard to where you start. The third category is veteran and disabled owned businesses. Not all veterans are disabled and not all business owners with disabilities have served in the military. Many of the primary obstacles veteran space in starting and succeeding and business stem from wounds, whether physical or psychological inflicted during military service, including this category of vendors, is especially helpful if you are trying to better serve customers with accessibility needs. Vendors who experienced this personally, it will be especially knowledgeable and insightful in offering products and services that are accommodating. Keep in mind you should also be able to accommodate your suppliers with disabilities, particularly if site visits, inspections, or other physical activities are required as part of the buyer-seller relationship. The final category is social enterprises. A social enterprise is sometimes a non-profit or a mission-driven for-profit. Mostly these organizations are designed to provide employment, economic opportunity for vulnerable populations such as abused women, orphaned youth, teen moms, the intellectually disabled, or those transitioning from homelessness. Similarly, social enterprises create jobs for those who face significant barriers to employment, such as ex-offenders or those recovering from addiction. Providing these populations with economic opportunity is vital to overall community health. Economics and help are directly related. Areas with greater poverty rates experience higher rates of poor physical health. Studies show that social enterprises that brain jobs to disadvantaged communities also bring improvements in health, including mental health and well-being. This translates into reduce the strain on local support systems, such as emergency rooms and police departments. Ultimately, the business case for the community is reduced. Taxes needed to support social services. You can learn more about social enterprises and find a US directory at social enterprise dot us. Remember that with many social enterprises, the cause comes first and the widget produced is just one of the many strategies they employ to meet that need. So you might find they can be flexible on their output in order to achieve their social mission. If you require a different widget, approach them about making adjustments in their product mix to accommodate you and bring about greater social return. Each of the categories described in this lesson are eligible for official designations that verify their status as a particular type of business ownership, typically by a third party government agency. Or in the case of social enterprises, they may choose a specific corporate entity type that denotes a mission or purpose oriented business, such as the L3C or benefit corporation, legal structures. As we'll discuss more in an upcoming lesson, seeking out certifications is a fast-track method to finding qualified suppliers. In addition to seeking out women and minority on suppliers, you should also prioritize other vendors based on their policies and practices related to diversity. For example, visit disability for the disability equality index and a list of the top places to work for people with disabilities. As you reflect on what you learned in this lesson, consider these questions. Do you have a policy for women? Don't business purchasing for people of color or other categories of diverse suppliers? Do you have a mechanism for supporting or developing diverse suppliers where the options are inadequate. Many global corporations have supplier diversity funds or offices established to promote and support development of under-resourced minority and women owned businesses. These programs provide mentoring, business skill courses, financing certifications and other assistance. Does your organization report on its supplier diversity? Begin thinking about the metric you can capture about your vendors that would give you a better understanding of your diversity score. Think beyond metrics and also capture the story and impact your purchases have on suppliers. Do you have existing purchases that could be instead allocated to a social enterprise? In the next lesson, we focused this lens of social impact on the specific benefits and options for buying local. 15. Buy Local Strategies: No doubt you have picked up on the trend of by local, whether it's the increased number of farmers markets in your community or the frequency at which you see restaurant's Tao, the local farms they source from. The biological movement seems to be the most prolific and the food industry, there's a good reason for that. When you buy a local food, you not only reap all the normal triple bottom line benefits of buying local, but you also get a tastier and more nutritional food. I once attended a Food Systems Conference in Detroit and in a breakout session, someone working on hunger and food waste alleviation programs in the area schools shared a fascinating story. She said they have a food share table where students can place items like bags of chips or whole fruit that they did not want so that other students in need could take extra home. They noticed that when apples are in season in Michigan, the students take and eat all the apples. But when apples are not in season, meaning they are shipped hundreds or thousands of miles and ripened and containers. They are always left on the feature table. Even kids noticed the difference and our bodies due to when produces picked, it begins to lose its nutritional value. So the less time between harvest and consumption, the better. I imagine most people intuitively or through experience, understand that local food is ideal. However, the biological possibilities extend far beyond just food. Buying local and supporting small businesses can have a significant positive impact on your community. Small businesses make up about 90 percent of businesses worldwide and employ about half the workforce, yet receive a disproportionately small share of corporate and government procurement spending. Thus, your business to business spending with local partners gives them opportunities to thrive. Global research shows that 50% of new businesses fail within the first five years. Now more than ever, corporations and governments should shift any part of their spinning they can to smaller businesses, especially towards minority owned and operated businesses and social enterprises, as discussed in the previous lesson, the reality is only so much of that institutional procurement can be shifted from national and multinational vendors to small local businesses. But wherever feasible, tried to do so. Your seemingly small order could equate to a significant triumph for a local business. Winning just one corporate deal can be the difference in the small business securing capital through equity or qualifying for a bank loan. Imagine making an entrepreneur's dreams come true with one procurement decision. When it comes to it by local strategy, the best way to get going is to just start with local shopping. The easiest place for a hotel to start is with food. The executive chef probably already visits local farmers markets. So it's just a question of determining where the opportunities are to take it to the next level and what metrics and reporting you put in place so that you can honestly and transparently showcase what you're already doing. Most hotels have contracts with national or regional distributors and some of their food inventory may come from national aggregators and distributors. It can be challenging to purchase outside these contracts, but sometimes distributors are willing to add local food companies to their catalogs. This facilitates payments and contractual obligations, but such arrangements can cut into the profits of local farmers and producers. If you can work directly with the farmer and producer even better outside of food, see if there are other spinning categories where I, local producer, distributor, or retailer can serve your needs. For example, as the procurement manager for a new boutique hotel, you might find out that there is a furniture manufacturer 75 miles up the road, who can fulfill your need for 100 new desk for the hotels rooms, that would lead to a far more positive impact on your community than importing them from thousands of miles away. And let me take a moment to clarify what I mean by local in terms of location, local is more or less what you determine it to be. There's no concrete definition, although most people consider it to be within 250 miles, but more importantly, local means owned and operated by local people, rather than an international conglomerate. Buying from a local unit of a global company may feel like it's buying local, but it truly is not. One study showed that when you spend at a local business, 25 cents more of every dollar spent stays in the community than if you spend with a non-local business. This is realized through salaries paid to local employees, local taxes, donations to local causes as sourcing from other local suppliers. So when I recommend that you see if there are other spending categories where a local business can serve your needs. I'm not just referring to the address. Local is about roots, connection and commitment to your community. As you break down barriers to buying local, you go beyond just basic shopping. In the case of the boutique hotel that needs to procure desk for the rooms. Let's say you found this furniture manufacturer, but they currently manufacturer mainly dining tables and chairs, Not desk, dressers or other furniture types you might need. I imagine if you were able to place an order of 100 desk with the potential for additional furniture procurement in the future, they would be willing and able to make adjustments to manufacturing processes to accommodate your needs. You may be surprised to see that they exceed expectations because they have something to prove. Furthermore, this would allow you to make custom designs and features that could help differentiate your hotel from others in the area. The possibilities are endless. You may find new opportunities hiding in plain sight. Here are a few other inspirational examples. A hotel chain works with a local artist who paints scenes of the city to purchase silkscreen prints of her artwork. The hotel then works with the local textile company to make custom pillows out of those silkscreens. Another example is in an effort to reduce waste from glass bottles. A restaurant approaches a local winery about providing kegs wine. This is a new product line for the winery and a great opportunity to expand into new markets with even larger clients. Or how about this one? A regional hotel chain contracts with a small ceramic manufacturer to make flower pots and decorative goods with custom logos, color schemes, and other branding elements unique to the hotel. This contract is not only a significant order for the entrepreneur. It could represent an ongoing revenue stream as the hotel opens new locations. And yet another example, a spa owner reaches out to a small soap making startup to see if they would consider different packaging. He wants to buy local, but is also committed to 0 waste efforts. The soap maker now has a lower risk opportunity to make packaging adjustments, which will ultimately allow her to capitalize on the growing environmental trend in health and beauty products. Buying local may require deeper relationships with your vendors. More flexibility in design specifications, delivery windows and other procurement requirements. Sometimes smaller businesses need some patients and hand-holding as they scale. Here are some questions you will need to address to set up a successful by local strategy. What metrics and goals are in place for buying local? In my work, I often encounter businesses, especially in hospitality, who are buying local, but almost never is there a formal set of goals or metrics if you are already buying local, be sure your specificly capturing data on who you're buying from, how much you are spending and what sort of impact you're having. One of my catering clients at a convention center sources, they're bred from a family owned bakery who supports 57 families through their business. This cater or proudly demonstrates their impact on the local community by finding and reporting such data to stakeholders, such as clients and visitors, city officials, and city residents. Next question for you to consider is what obstacles exist to buying local? There are likely a few barriers. Contracts are the most common, especially if you are in a national or global company where contracts are often established and a divisional or national level, it can be difficult to procure outside those boundaries. So learn as much as you can about those contracts so that you can find the entry points for local procurement. Another common obstacle is there simply no local option for some categories of spending. This will be true for much of your purchasing needs. But before you assume, I recommend you lead your procurement task force in a scavenger hunt of local businesses, divide up a list of common supplies and ask each member to find as many local options as possible for their assigned segment of the list. This research and brainstorming project may reveal some surprising options nearby which you can act on immediately. And finally, gather a list of local resources that can help you carry out a biological strategy. Your local mayor's office or Chamber of Commerce, or the state's economic development agency, university incubators and other groups who are charged with promoting and facilitating the growth of local businesses can be of assistance. They are your advocates and excellent resources of reliable information and connections. In the next lesson, I will present the value of certifications in the sustainable procurement process. 16. The Role of Certifications: Now you have a good foundation of the types of environmental and social issues you might prioritize in your ethical purchasing strategy, it is time to start getting to the practicality of performing a sustainable procurement audit and developing or enhancing policies. In this lesson, I will share details about certifications and standards, which will help you tremendously in gathering data, but more importantly, with future evaluations of products and services. A popular example of a sustainability certification is the USDA certified organic label, or the equivalent in the European Union. Sustainability certifications are sometimes referred to as Eco certifications or eco-labels. But remember that we also include the social return in our ethical purchasing strategy. It's important to understand that there are three types of certifications. The first is when an organization has developed an internal checklist and deems itself sustainable. Many hotels have internal sustainability certifications. Each location that can check off the list can claim it is certified. This self certification represents a conflict of interest and could be deceiving, misleading, exaggerated, or downright false claims about sustainability is also referred to as greenwashing. The next type is a bit better in that someone else is making the determination, but that someone else is someone with a vested interests. The assessment might be performed by a paid consultant, vendor, or client. This is called second party certification. The most stringent and most recommended approach to certification is third party. This means that an independent third party is responsible for verifying compliance, while not always the case, most of the time, a third party scenario will have the most rigorous processes and audit the documentation and evidence needed to prove and environmental and social standards compliance can be exhaustive. And generally, an in-person inspection is conducted by an expert in the field because third party certification is more strenuous and hands-on, it can be rather expensive for the organization pursuing it. For this reason, many small businesses who are legitimately practicing these standards simply cannot afford the certification. Keeping in mind the need to work with such organizations as outlined in the previous two lessons. In these cases, you may choose to create your own checklist and do your own informal audit of your vendors. Remember the earlier lesson on trade-offs. This is an excellent example of where a trade-off may be acceptable in order to support small and local businesses where third party certification exist in your supply alternatives, you may find those products cost bore. Remember that those vendors are relying on the technical expertise of scientists and engineers with specialized equipment and know how to test and ensure compliance, as well as providing knowledge about necessary improvements in their industry. Because of the ongoing relationships these certification agencies have with companies, they can exert influence for necessary change that companies might otherwise resist. For example, according to an article in green lodging news, the bio-degradable products Institute, the organization that certifies whether and to what degree disposable products are compostable, is mandating certified manufacturers to phase out PFAS, a harmful chemical use to grease proof food packaging. Legally, a certain amount of PFAS is still allowed. So in this case, the certification body can go above and beyond and protect the environment society, when governments are unable or unwilling, it's worth a few cents more for each copper plate. Know that you are using products that are safe and healthy for your customers and staff. The process of exploring certification options, you should note what exactly the certification covers. Is it for the overall organization or a specific product or service? For example, there are certifications for buildings, as well as separate certifications for the operations and maintenance of that building. One of the most globally recognized standards for buildings is the US Green Building Councils leed certification series. Some certifications are specific to one industry. The global sustainable tourism council certifies hotels and other travel providers and programs around the world. So don't forget about corporate travel as an element of procurement you might want to address. And still other certifications are four ingredients or components that might be used in many industries. You may notice on many of the more sustainable food products that there are multiple certifications appearing on the label, such as non-GMO, fair trade, and certified vegan or kosher. Once you have identified and selected relevant certifications, pay attention to the level the ingredient, product or company a Certified some certifications or simply a yes or no. Either you made the cut and got to use the logo or you did not. But many certification schemes have progressive levels, such as bronze, silver, and gold to represent the respective level of compliance. Or there might be a numeric scheme or other ways to distinguish levels of rigor. As you progress through your sustainability journey, you may require increasingly higher levels of certification. Other features of certifications you might take note of include, how often does an organization have to re certify and how recognizable is the certification among your customers. When you are first starting out in your sustainability journey, you may just aim to have the presence of any certification of any type at any level. As you learn more and become more sophisticated in your environmental and social expectations, you can raise the minimum threshold of what you expect. Now that I've presented some basics on what certifications are, let's look at a few examples. There are dozens, if not hundreds, more certifications that may apply to your supply chain. So I encourage you to search for the relevant standards for your purchasing. One of my personal favorites is certified B Corporation. This is an example of the entire organization being certified. A comprehensive list of criteria can be found at B The criteria cover community impact, environmental performance, employee benefits, and so much more. An excellent example of a certification that is prolific, but you may not even pay much attention to. Is the Forest Stewardship Council FSC label. Basically, anything made out of a tree can carry the FSC label. Tissues, cardboard, copier, paper, furniture, and thousands more products. Some suppliers of these goods, particularly very large companies, own and manage the forest and the manufacturing. But in other supply chains, the manufacturer is several steps or layers from the company managing the forest. Fsc is a label that ensures forest are properly and sustainably managed. Look for the little tree icon with the letters FSC on the wood-based products in your workplace, there are multiple certifications related to sustainability that are under the umbrella of ISO. Iso has many standards pertaining to quality and other specifications of products and industries. The most notable for us in this case, our ISO 14000 one for environmental management and ISO 26000 for social responsibility. These are all process certifications. Then there's fair trade, Rainforest Alliance and other certifications focused on equity and justice for farmers and workers in the supply chain, these tend to be heavily concentrated on agricultural industries. Similar to these on the animal side are leaping bunny for cruelty free certification and cosmetics and other consumer goods, as well as Certified Humane for animal food products such as eggs and beef. For green cleaning supplies and other products in the chemical domain. Check out Green and use their directory to search for vendors for sustainable textiles. There's the HIG index, that's H IgG, or gods DOT S certification for appliances, there's energy star and for bathroom fixtures, there's water since there are so many more certifications and you can find one for just about anything and some are not on labels, so you will uncover them as you do more research and review the websites for your vendors and the industries from which you source your supplies. A key benefit of certification is that they can save you the time and energy of trying to be an expert on every sustainability factor of your supplies and vendors. In the next lesson, we review formal steps to preparing for your sustainable procurement audit. 17. Prepare for Procurement Audit: By now you should be geared up and ready to perform your first sustainable procurement audit. In fact, you may have already been evaluating your organization's ethical purchasing practices or lack thereof. As you learned about environmental and social issues in supply chains through previous lessons. But in case you are hesitant to step out and take such a formal step as an audit, let's review some steps to ensure a productive experience. I will outline steps to preparation for the sustainable purchasing audit by explaining the what, who, where, and when. First, what exactly will you be doing? You probably have an idea if you've ever done an audit or been audited. And audit is defined as an official inspection of an organization's accounts. Generally, this applies to financial accounts. However, an audit can be of any records, transactions, or activities. The key thing to note about an audit is it is only formation. While it is ideal, you will actually drive change with your findings. Technically, an audit is just about gathering information. I say this because if key organizational members are averse to change, you may not be able to switch vendors or products right away. And that's okay. You're just gathering data for now. Change begins with awareness and the information you can share with others from this course. And the audit will be an amazing foundation of new and enlightening knowledge to spread. And if it makes you feel any better, you're free to use a word other than audit, such as assessment, review or evaluation. Let's move on to the WHO. In an earlier lesson, I outlined a handful of stakeholders you shouldn't involve to some degree or another in your journey towards sustainable procurement. The three stakeholders I will elaborate on here, our executives, peers or staff and vendors. From an executive standpoint, it's best that you have their blessing to perform the audit before you begin, many participants in my course have performed audits without seeking executive approval. And since they were just filling in a worksheet, there is no harm done. But the point of the exercise is to spark change. Therefore, I encourage you to explain your intent and get their acceptance and support. Here are three questions or concerns executives may have. First, executives may want to understand why you care or wish to perform the audit. I recommend you briefly explain a few of the most pertinent environmental and social issues. Use statistics from recognizable and reputable sources. I also recommend you provide a high level business case. You will not be able to present a complete business case until you've gathered all the necessary data. But you could share an example of one, ideally based on observations and predictions you already have in mind. Perhaps include an example of an environmental initiative of a top competitor. Second, executives may be concerned about the time and resources the audit itself will take. It is natural and executive would worry this project would be a distraction and take you and the audit team away from your normal duties and responsibilities. I suggest you provide a time estimate or agree to a limit on how much of your day or week the audit will take. Third, executives may resist change in general. So they may wonder what the end result or benefit of the audit may be. Reassure them that any proposed changes will follow an executive approved action plan and through the proper channels and procedures. As vital as decision-making executives are to the process, the next stakeholder is equally important. Your peers. I warned you earlier that if you do not have their involvement, you could end up with a sustainability mutiny. You may select a new product that they misuse or refuse to use, creating a negative association with your endeavor. The best way to involve them is asked them to be on the audit team and how you frame their involvement in the project will heavily influenced their excitement towards it. Make them feel valued, respected, and essential. Create a Green Team or Task Force, and give each person a specific role. Best practices for this include inviting representation from each department and making strides towards diversity of background and thought spanning all levels of the organization. Do not assume that those who have not expressed interest in sustainability are not suited for the team. Other motives may include leadership development and advancement opportunities and excuse to get out of the daily grind or try something different, or being part of a group, a sense of belonging to something important, like having a say or control over their jobs, the products they use, and how they perform their duties. It's better to give them an opportunity to be part of the process so that later when you recommend changes, they will back your choices when you need them to. You may be limited in how many people can be on your team, making some feel left out. So be sure to involve others through questionnaires or interviews. Ask questions such as, where have you noticed excess waste? What supplies do you use daily that do not seem to live up to your expectations? What efforts have been made at home to be more sustainable? Depending on their level of experience and knowledge. You may even want to start with questions like, what environmental or social issues are you concerned about? The third stakeholder that will prove to be vital IS vendors? Because much of the information gathering is about the Berry products and services they offer, they are theoretically the best source of detailed specifications of your supplies. However, you should not be surprised when they cannot answer your questions. Indeed, they may not even understand what you're asking. Be patient with them, be willing to educate them. Be willing to learn from them as they may have a storehouse of sustainability ideas and offerings, but just didn't think you were interested. You won't know unless you ask. The next component is the where. While it is important to have a place where your team can meet and work on the audit. The critical element of where that I want to bring up here is where is the data you need to perform the audit? These days, almost all the data will be electronic. But I have certainly seen many instances where data is stored in paper copies of invoices. So be prepared to do some old school data reconnaissance. Also, much of the information you may want to find on a product can be seen directly on a label or packaging. So you may need access to the physical products themselves or the boxes are bags they came in. The most important thing to keep in mind is that you may not readily have access to all of this. You will likely need keys, passwords, permissions, etc. So all the more reason to get the right gatekeepers on your audit task force. So to prepare for the audit, make a list of where you expect to find the data you will need and how you will find it. And finally, let's address the when timing is critical. I strongly advocate for avoiding any excuse to delay starting sustainability projects. It's always better to take whatever step forward, no matter how small. However, sometimes an organization is going through something so critical that introducing the idea of an audit can be disastrous. You will need to use intuition and seek wisdom from colleagues to discern the right timing for your organization. Don't let little excuses get in the way. Only delay in the case of truly disruptive activities. For example, if the business or key employees have recently experienced some sort of personal or professional tragedy, or if the organization is about to undergo a major change such as a merger or relocation, people have the bandwidth to only go through so much change at once. And remember that the audit can either be a short-term intensive project or something you work on slowly over a much longer time period. Either way, the best thing to do is just get started, but remain sensitive to the need to adjust timing to accommodate other critical organizational or personal situations. In the next lesson, we will cover the how of an audit, including the list of data points and tips for researching this information. 18. Perform a Procurement Audit: As I mentioned previously, the audit is about gathering information. There's no right or wrong regarding what data to collect because you don't yet know where the greatest potential may be. The audit is a living document that will evolve over time. And what I share in this lesson are tips and steps to get you started. First and very important, use a spreadsheet such as Microsoft Excel or Google sheets. If you're super comfortable with technology platforms and have access to database tools, you can use those, but try to keep it simple and accessible to all who will participate in the audit. As you enter the data, be sure to enter the numeric data in a format that makes it easy to perform calculations. This may seem like elementary advice, but I frequently work with clients who track data in ways that make it difficult to later sort, filter, perform calculations, and create graphs and charts. I recommend each row of the spreadsheet represents a single product. If you buy the same item in different sizes or colors, it may or may not be necessary to have separate rows. You'll get a feel for that as you gather data and learn more about which details are pertinent to sustainability. And I suggest you make each variation of a product a separate row. For example, let's say you currently by a cleaning product and the 32 ounce bottle. Later you decide to buy a concentrated version and a 64 outsize. You'll use the original 32 ounce bottle to mix the concentrate with water. In such a case, you should have a row for the concentrate size and one for the standard size. Since the pricing and perhaps other factors such as delivery frequency and packaging will differ. Ultimately, you'll use both rows to demonstrate how you've reduced plastic waste and probably spending. Some of the columns you should start with include the following. The name of the person auditing the product. This will be helpful to ensure everyone involved is accountable for their assignments. I recommend as you divide this research among your team, that in the beginning you frequently check in with each other and compare what and how you are gathering data to ensure consistency and reduce errors. Some may find this exercise more difficult than the other. So be patient and share best practices. Delegate according to interests and abilities. In the next column, enter the department primarily responsible for using or ordering the item. Here, you might break products into categories. For example, in a hotel there would be a department called housekeeping. And then product categories such as cleaning appliances, cleaning solvents, cleaning supplies, et cetera. Then a column for the product name. I recommend a separate column for brand name and a separate column for a model number. When I say brand, you ideally want the name of the company responsible for the sustainability of that product. In many cases, the distributor or vendor you buy from is different from the manufacturer. Or distributor may have sway over packaging and shipping, but not product design or upstream supply chain activities. You probably need a column for the distributor as well, which will come in handy when you start shopping for alternative products. Add a column for price. You may want multiple such as list price, discounted price, or most recent price. Now be careful not to over-engineer the audit. It can be helpful to have all this granular level of detail, especially for making a financial business case. But you also could spend a lot of time digging up information that ultimately may not factor into making decisions. You should also include frequency the item is bought. Imagine someone wants to add a commercial kitchen oven to the audit list. While it would be an interesting exercise to learn about the social and environmental aspects of ovens. If you're not scheduled by another oven for at least three years, then I recommend you hold off on additional research and instead start with items ordered daily, weekly, or monthly. Oftentimes the information in these initial columns already exist in other internal systems, databases or spreadsheets. So the easiest thing to do is just import or copy and paste whatever you can get from other sources. Now that you have much of the basic product information gathered is time to start filling in the environmental and social data. And this is where the research really starts. One data point I definitely recommend you track is any certifications awarded to the products and vendors you use. This will also be one of the easier data points to research. So a good place to start. For the remainder of the sustainability data points. I certainly do not recommend you try to record every single environmental element of every product. That's too daunting and overwhelming. If you already know some key criteria you'd like to prioritize that can help brainstorm a list of questions you want answered. Perhaps you want to know how many of our paper products or FSC certified, how many of our food and beverage items are packaged in plastic with BPA, how many products do we buy the have the PFAS chemicals beyond the levels recommended by leading advocates. And do we purchase from any company that has committed human rights violations? Let's walk through an example. You may choose to audit packaging because you know you want to reduce plastic waste. You can start with qualitative descriptions that you later transformed to quantitative data. When you first start out, you might say these paper towels come wrapped in soft plastic. The later you measure and determine its 1.3 square meters of plastic for each large box of paper towels. Wherever possible, you should use weight, length, count, or other units of measure. So in this case you enter 1.3 in one column and square meters in a separate units column. Then later when you switch to a vendor that does not wrap paper towels in plastic, you multiply the average number of boxes purchase per month times 1.3 square meters per box for the total plastic saved. This might be interesting to staff and if you can take that data and compare it to something familiar, then you can make it really relatable. For instance, you might announce that it accompanies saved enough plastic to cover the entire floor of the building lobby. Let's walk through another example. Say you want products with higher post-consumer recycled or PCr content. For all the relevant products, you'd want to call them where you can track the PCR. But that same information will not be applicable to other items you are evaluating. So you can put data in separate tabs based on key objectives. When searching for PCR levels and other environmental factors, you may find it printed on the actual product or on a label or the package that came in. If not there, go to the catalog website page. If the product description does not include any details on recycled content, which is generally expressed as a percentage, then you can assume the product is made of virgin materials. And of course, ask your vendors to confirm this. As you do research to learn about the environmental and social performance of products, companies and industries. Be aware that some websites you may search will present a biased view of sustainability. Industry associations will often downplay the potential human or environmental harm their products and processes. My half, when making changes to procurement that could be controversial in your organization, it's best to have multiple reputable research sources. Remember how important your vendors can be in this process. They should be able to help you answer a lot of your questions, but they may not be willing or able. I suggest you first do some research so you feel more confident and prepared going into the conversation. Finally, if after this list of data points and examples I've shared, you're still unsure where to start. That's okay. Here's an exercise that might spark ideas and momentum for your top five or so vendors. Find their sustainability report and learn what they are doing to transform their products and industry. Or take one of the reports or websites I referenced in less than seven through 14 and read more on a particular issue or industry. For example, the new plastics Economy report lists signatory companies all aiming in some way to reduce negative impacts of plastics. If your vendor is not on that list, is their competitor. That is self, is an interesting data point you can add to the audit spreadsheet. In the next lesson, I gave you tips on what to do with your audit findings, including establishing new policies and practices. 19. Sustainable Policies & Practices: In this lesson, I will provide some guidance on what to do now that you're gathering details and tracking data on environmental and social performance of your procurement, vendors and supply chains. First, recognize that you will not be able to change everything right away. An excellent next step after your initial assessment of some areas of procurement is to present your key findings and recommendations to stake holders, especially executives. Be sure you've stored links to research in your audit sheets so you can quickly pull together some compelling bullet points on social and environmental risks and opportunities. Don't overwhelm your audience with technical details. Instead, focus on highlighting statistics that might spark an emotional response. Definitely show any data that supports the business case for change. If you don't feel comfortable or confident presenting to your team, you might start with sharing brief online videos that describe the most pressing issues such as plastic pollution, climate change, or supplier diversity. Once you get buy-in from top stake holders, you can start taking the practical steps of creating or updating policies and practices. Policies are an excellent mechanism for change because they remind employees and vendors that the organization takes this matter seriously and there may be consequences to noncompliance when setting new or updating existing policies. Don't try to start out with complex, comprehensive requirements. I often describe sustainability initiatives like fitting a size 10 foot into a size six shoe. You have to stretch the leather to properly fit the foot, or you'll run the shoe and the foot. An organization often needs to ease into some of these changes. If you are starting from scratch and have never developed a procurement or sustainability policy, you can get inspiration from other organizations. You might be surprised how many environmental purchasing policies you can find and download online. Remember to vary your search terms by using words like ethical purchasing, responsible sourcing, environmentally preferable, and so forth. And add the industry purchasing category or other words that help narrow down the search results. Review different examples and model your policies after those that most appeal to you and your team. Remember, mandating certain certifications will greatly facilitate the process and cut through the clutter of vendor and product options. Rather than spelling out all the specific details of environmental or social performance of a product category, you can simply mandate that all such products have a certain certification and even a certain level of certification such as gold versus silver, or a minimum of a level three out of five, depending on the scheme. For some products requiring a certification may greatly limit your options. But for others, there are enough available options that this is a reasonable ask. For example, requiring the Forest Stewardship Council certification on all wood-based supplies is a no-brainer because the FSC label is so prolific. For other categories of spinning, you can create a policy listing certifications which are preferred but may not be required. Other considerations for the policy could be minimum thresholds of recycled content, supplier diversity, local vendors, and other factors you have decided to prioritize. And although not a procurement activity per se, you can use this opportunity to set up policies related to recycling and donation. One common criticism you'll hear about policies is how difficult they are to execute. As you are crafting the policy. Think about how you will make the policy easy to follow. Who will train staff on it, how you will inform vendors and who will enforce it. A policy is one of the most straightforward ways you can convert audit findings into real change. But there are other practices that can make a big impact and some may be easier to implement than a policy. One of the best things you can do is update all your RFPs moving forward. Most companies have a template request for proposal that they tweak each time they are renewing contracts. Entertaining potential new vendors. Ensure sustainability questions are added to that template and make them specific. Don't just add, tell us about your sustainability initiatives. Ask questions pertinent to that product categories such as provide the recycled content for each item or describe your company's efforts to incorporate alternative fibers and materials. There are lots of companies out there doing amazing things when it comes to sustainability. There's sustainability teams are just wishing and hoping you will care more about sustainability in their products and services. Reward them for being proactive and making efforts. This stuff isn't easy. Evaluating new products, you can create a decision-making framework. So instead of mandating certain criteria via policy, you can weigh them as part of an overall list of requirements under consideration. This might be an easier step for some in the organization who initially resist the idea of a policy. The way such a decision-making approach might work is to put a weighted score on each of several categories of requirements. For example, in evaluating a number of alternatives for our paper towel purchase, you might normally have a list of key criteria such as durability, price, delivery fees, and thickness. Depending on the product, there's a wide range of descriptors that might go in this list. Now for your paper towel evaluation, you will add sustainability factors. So you might add PCR percentage and FSC certified revisit Lessons 9 and 15 for a refresher on those terms, each of the six criteria now on your list will have a weight. When your organization is first adopting sustainability, the PCR might only get a weight of 5%. And same for the FSC certification. But over time, those criteria might carry a weight of 25 percent each, meaning sustainability with significantly influence which products are chosen. In the early stages when sustainability may not be the top decision criteria. It could be the tiebreaker between similar products or even in negotiating strategy with a vendor. Another practice that can help galvanize the support and excitement of co-workers is to pilot innovative and unique replacements to a handful of items. This type of experimentation is a great way to stir up some excitement around the sorts of alternatives available and help overcome the negative perceptions and assumptions people have. For example, there are pervasive myths that green cleaning products don't work or that recycled content paper products are poor quality. If you announce you are switching to a more environmental options, some people will straight up, reject it with no consideration of actual quality or performance. This doesn't make them bad people. It's just that people don't like change. If you're married or have roommates, you're probably familiar with how heated things can get when it comes to choosing what brand of toilet paper to buy. People get stuck in their ways and want to have control over their lives as much as possible. Keep this in mind as you begin adjusting procurement. If you change too much at once, you'll risk of toilet paper inspired mutiny. Piloting new products and a low-risk manner or holding a sustainability fair where you ask vendors to come in and showcase their green products, are engaging ways to get people to open up to new ideas. And of course, one of the most impactful practices is to continue building on your sustainable procurement audit and green team activities. You may form the task force initially for a short-term research and audit project, you should absolutely encouraged leadership to support an ongoing effort to evaluate procurement and make recommendations for improved environmental and social performance. We're getting close to the end of the course. If you've made it this far, you are truly committed to the cause of sustainability and I'm excited to guide you along your journey. In the next lesson, I gave you tips for setting goals and reporting on your progress. 20. Impact Goals and Reporting: In most business school courses and business literature, experts suggest you start with goals. Goal setting can be terribly challenging when you're starting from a blank slate, especially if you want to set smart goals. Smart not only means intelligent in this context, but also serves as an acronym that stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Often, you cannot know enough to set smart goals until you first have done an extensive analysis of where you are. For this reason, I am now addressing goal-setting here, here the end of the course. First, let's talk about some examples of types of goals you might set. While some of your goal should be related to procurement itself, such as reducing plastic waste by 10 percent or replacing 50 percent of paper products with rapidly renewable resources. Other goals can specifically pertain to improving the procurement process. Say to aim to add 20 purchases to your research and audit each quarter, or make a commitment to add new columns of information to the initial audit. As noted before, you might add details on business ownership or location in terms of kilometers or miles from your building, which is helpful if you are looking to reach one of your bio local procurement goals. How about setting a goal to find at least one sustainable alternative for each item added to your audit. You might set a goal to rotate one new team member into the procurement taskforce every six months, or to prepare a blog for the company newsletter to explain what your green team is up to. I recommend you also set a goal for issuing requests for proposals or RFPs and inviting new and diverse vendors to present their offerings for consideration. You might notice that these goals are stated in very specific terms. It's hard to get people on board with a plan or a goal when it's vague, like, let's reduce waste or we want to be more sustainable. The next letters and smart or M for measurable and a for attainable or achievable. To set measurable and attainable goals, you need a baseline. The sustainable procurement audit becomes your baseline because it is a data-driven starting point. Many of your goals will relate to reductions or additions stated in terms of a percentage. So it's essential to have some numeric data to evaluate or compare to. It's hard to know which goals are achievable until you have a solid understanding of your baseline and have had enough experience researching alternatives. Sometimes you find there are no alternatives or that the available alternatives are expensive and unrealistic. Or you may not have realized how many objections you are going to face from those in your organization who question and resist any change. These are all important factors in ensuring a goal is achievable and inspiring. Let's say you would like to set a goal for 10 percent of overall corporate spending going to businesses within a 100-mile radius? Well, to do that, you must first know what you currently spin with local businesses and you may even need an interim step or someone has to determine which of your current vendors are actually located within 100 miles. Now let's say that 9% of corporate spending is already going towards local businesses, then a goal of 10% is, well, it's not an ambitious enough. That's why you need to gather the relevant information for your baseline to ensure your goals are attainable yet still aspirational. The orange smart is for relevant. And I like to emphasize the importance of aligning your goals with the organization stated values or even your own or your coworkers values. If there's already excitement and momentum in a specific area, it will be much easier to reach your goals. If you find that lots of your coworkers are passionate about well-being and fitness. You could set a goal to add three new VK and menu items in the office Cafeteria by the end of the upcoming month. As the leader of this ethical purchasing initiative. If you are worried about plastic pollution or were particularly struck when you learn about one of the chemicals of concern, you might set a goal to phase out plastic items with BPA over the next two years. Review your organization's mission statement, culture or value statements, or other declarations that will give you clues on what is most relevant as it relates to sustainability. The last T is time-bound. Give yourself or your team a deadline or a frequency. For example, set a goal to review your audited purchases on an annual basis or set a goal to reduce printing by 25 percent within one year. If you're just starting out in your journey to ethical purchasing, remember to start small and don't overwhelm yourself or others in your organization with new data collection requirements or stringent expectations, set a goal to add new data points each quarter and make an effort to report on what you learned from those data points so that others see the value in the effort required. Start with data points that are easier to gather. For example, track the number of materials you source that have a third party certification for meeting social and environmental standards. Record data on supplier diversity where available. Track waste reduction by requesting monthly waste management and recycling reports. So you can see if changes in spinning our resulting in decreased waste or increased recycling rates. If you are not sure which data points should be prioritized, ask key stake holders what they want to know. Obviously, executives will want you to report back on changes in spending. Did costs go up or down? Did overall expenses go up or down? Remember from an earlier lesson, it's important to compare apples to apples if costs did go up. Be sure you are also reporting on offsetting factors such as increased lifespan, durability, customer satisfaction, and so on. You use the data from your audit and the outcomes and results of your changes in procurement to prepare internal reports and share your findings, employees are likely to find data on supplier diversity and positive impact to the environment to be encouraging. Such activities increase employee retention and lower turnover. As you become more sophisticated in your data tracking and reporting, begin sharing this information with external stakeholders, such as the local community, investors or customers. Impact metrics are an important way you can signal to stakeholders your results and intentions for further improvements. And the marketing and sales team might appreciate the additional selling point as well. In the final lesson, I will share some thoughts on overcoming objections that you may encounter along the way and some other next step recommendations. 21. Next Steps: I must admit I'm sad, our journey in this course is coming to a close. But I'm thrilled that you allow me to be your guide and that your journey continues. If there's one thing I know about sustainability, It's addictive and complex, and a lot of work, but so worth it. And it's not something you can or even should try to do alone. Over the years of being a sustainability speaker and consultant, I've worked with and learn from some of the most amazing people, those who have dedicated themselves to positive impact are truly special human beings. In fact, I'd like to take a moment to give a huge thanks to a member of my team, Joseph, while he was invaluable in helping me with the ideas, edits, and research for this course. I know the reality is most people are going out of it alone and their sustainability endeavors in the workplace, I frequently hear from people that they feel frustrated and unsure of their ability to drive change in their organizations. One reason for this is lack of knowledge and you don't know much about a big topic. It's easy to avoid any risk by refusing to even speak about it. Now that you know so much more about sustainable procurement, you will have more confidence to lead efforts in your organization. The obstacles do not end with knowledge. So much of sustainability requires helping people change their minds and behavior. It would almost be easier if you were alone because then you wouldn't have to worry about whether people will accept your ideas and changes. As you continue learning more about the environmental and social implications of supply chains, you need to focus as much attention on the change management element as you can. It can be difficult to overcome entrenched ideas about what sustainability means. Plus there's always a general resistance to change. As a case in point, I recently spoke with a hotel banquets manager. He was lamenting how challenging it is to get others to agree to purchase healthier ingredients. He was referring to objections by the culinary team, the sales team, the procurement manager, and their main supplier. We discussed the need to educate them on the benefits of better choices and start with small but impactful changes at first, facing objections to sustainability is commonplace. I hear it all the time, but I also frequently hear inspiring stories of people who stick with it and produce amazing sustainability results. Remain hopeful and be ready to persevere even through some really lame pushed back. It's natural for people to resist change, even when the change is ultimately for their benefit. Every step counts no matter how small and never underestimate the power of your influence on others thinking and behavior. For you to be this effective leader, you should continue building your knowledge and skills in sustainability. I'd like to outline a few steps you can take to further your journey. First, seek out a community of like-minded people. Ideally, you will bond with your green team and encourage one another. However, you may need to look for sustainability comrades outside your organization. You may find LinkedIn groups or perhaps through volunteer initiatives with others who share similar concerns over social and environmental issues. Second, take time to regularly read sustainability news. Sign up for a few of the newsletters on the topics that most resonate with you or are most relevant to your organisation, or seek out the general sustainability news sources I referenced in lesson 1 and throughout the course. Third, register for conferences, webinars and workshops on sustainability topics. There is a whole universe of options out there and many are even free. But it's worth asking your executive leadership or human resources department to fund your professional development in this area. Or if you already have plans to attend industry trade shows or professional events, choose the sustainability education track where you can meet and network with peers who share a common interest in the triple bottom line. Next, depending on where you are in your career, you may choose to get a degree in sustainability. But if going to college is not your preference, there are many sustainability related credentials you could work on to further your knowledge and reinforce your credibility. The International Society of sustainability professionals has courses and offers a professional credential. You might also consider a leed Green associate. There's also the true advisors certification for those interested in 0 waste and industry specific resources such as the events industry councils, sustainable event professional certificate. Finally, if you really want to advance on the topic of sustainable procurement and network with others, consider joining the sustainable purchasing leadership council or the council of supplier diversity professionals. There are many more responsible sourcing guides and resources online. At the end of the day, remember this sustainability is more a journey than a destination. Celebrate along the way, have fun with it. Meet new people, pilot new products, help spread innovation, launched new businesses, have ICO parties give awards. And remember, any step forward matters. Every step counts. I am truly grateful for your participation in this course. I appreciate the effort it takes to make time to learn and take steps to change. I'm Dr. Aurora dawn Benton, and this concludes our course, sustainable procurement and castrato guy to ethical purchasing.