Sustainable and socially responsible procurement should not only be the responsibility of the procurement or purchasing department of an organization. In order to make a strong and lasting impact on the supply chain and on the business sector, the whole organization must be involved in the practice of sustainability. For this reason, the international guideline ISO 20400 has been developed. What is the ISO 20400? And how can organizations re-enforce their contribution to a green economy by using both the ISO 20400 and the CO2 Performance Ladder?
More and more organizations are seeing the relevance of corporate social responsibility. The growing urgency of climate change plays an important role in fueling this shift of priorities. Organizations are looking for solutions to not only implement sustainability in their own management, but also in their supply chain. After all, an organization can achieve more in its business sector and deliver a greater contribution to the battle against climate change when it works alongside its supply chain.
Capacity for sustainable procurement
By focusing on procurement, an organization can influence and steer its supply chain. The international guideline ISO 20400 provides a solution therein. The guideline is developed by the Netherlands in collaboration with more than 40 countries, such as the United States, the United Kingdom, China, Japan, Australia, Congo and Columbia. The development of the ISO 20400 went through many stages. For the development of the guideline, the Dutch standardization institute NEN has created a NEN normative commission to accelerate the ISO 20400. Dutch organizations such as ministries, Croon and Royal Haskoning DHV took part in the national commission.
Karin van IJsselmuide, manager of the Dutch professional association NEVI, is the president of this NEN-commission and delegate of the Netherlands and IFPSM. She is also a member of the international project group for sustainable procurement. According to the chairwoman, the ISO 20400 is an organizational guideline. “It is stated as guideline for Sustainable Procurement, but in the broadest sense it assists organizations in concretizing their goals in terms of socially responsible procurement. So it provides answers to questions such as, what am I doing? Where do I have a say in? What is my motivation and what are my stakeholders’ expectations? You might want to make the entire world sustainable, but it all comes down to decision making”, she said in an interview with the Dutch magazine for professionals in procurement, DEAL!
Dutch Wheel: From sustainable ideas to sustainable results
The ISO 20400 is a guideline, which means that an organization cannot gain a certificate by implementing this ISO-norm, unlike the implementation of norms such as the ISO 50001 and the ISO 140001. This is partly because the ISO 20400 is aimed at continuous improvement. The guideline offers tools for organizations to focus on sustainable procurement and each organization is free to decide which elements of the ISO 20400 they will implement within their business. The ‘Dutch Wheel©’ of NEVI, a roadmap for organizations to implement sustainable procurement, is centralized within the guideline.
The Dutch Wheel consists of three parts. The roadmap starts with the first section, which is the broad CSR policy and sustainable goals that the organization wishes to accomplish. These ambitions in sustainability are then translated to procurement goals. After stating these goals, the Dutch Wheel 1 transfers the sustainable procurement policy to the procurement and purchasing department of the organization. This policy is then enhanced with risk and priority analysis, due diligence, stakeholder analysis, performance measurements and training. This section of the Dutch Wheel describes how the procurement strategy can contribute towards achieving the sustainable goals that the organization has stated in its CSR-policy. And finally, the sustainable procurement policy is implemented in the procurement process according to Dutch Wheel 2. This section of the roadmap deals with operational decision making processes involving the procurement of products and materials that are supposed to minimize the environmental impact of the organization.
CO2 Performance Ladder to fulfill the ISO 20400
The CO2 Performance Ladder can fulfill the implementation of the ISO 20400 as a broader procurement system. When we take a look at Dutch Wheel 1 of the roadmap, it describes how the procurement strategy is developed. Sustainable procurement with the CO2 Performance Ladder means that the commissioning party works with contractors that are continuously working towards ambitious CO2 reduction within their company and within their projects. The contractors are evaluated annually by an independent party for their efforts to reduce CO2 emissions. For the commissioning parties, it means that CO2 reduction is prioritized within the projects that involve the CO2 Performance Ladder in its tendering process. The procurement strategy that is developed in Dutch Wheel 1 of the ISO 20400 roadmap is put to practice by the procuring organization in Dutch Wheel 2. That way, both purchasers and project leaders are actually focusing on CO2 reduction in tenders and projects.
Karin speaks about the ISO 20400 and the CO2 Performance Ladder: “Usingthe CO2 Performance Ladder provides insight that the sustainable procurement philosophy of the ISO20400 is implemented into the organization.. By subsequently communicating about this, not only the organization contributes to essential societal impact to sustainable supply chains, but also to CSR-policy, sustainable goals and ambitions of the organization and of course general reduction of CO2 emissions!”
This way, organizations that follow ISO 20400 for sustainable procurement can use the CO2 Performance Ladder as a means to structurally reduce their CO2 emissions within procurement processes. And this is how the CO2 Performance Ladder and the ISO 20400 strengthen one another. For more information about the ISO 20400, check: https://en.iso20400.nl/
More information about tenders and procurement with the CO2 Performance Ladder? Check our website: https://www.skao.nl/