Various sustainability principles and guidelines should be applied to the procurement operation in general. Examples of these include:
Product and Process Design / Specifications
It should be standard criteria to apply a responsible sustainable approach into new or existing specifications for procurement requirements, sometimes referred to as “green design.”
For example, collaborating with suppliers and other supply chain partners when developing material specifications for new products can lead to more efficient uses of natural resources, less raw material consumption, and reduced waste.
Several techniques can be applied to ensure sustainable design and criteria are part of the design process. In general, it requires an understanding of the economic, social and environmental impact of materials and processes used in the design, as well as applying a reduce, reuse and recycle mentality when selecting materials.
Examples of methods for designing sustainability into products include:
It addresses the concepts of designing for:
One approach is to add a sustainability characteristic section to existing specifications, with an emphasis on how sustainability has been applied, such as the introduction of alternative materials, packaging redesign, reductions in waste, etc.
Obviously, not every specification can be made sustainable, due to certain materials and processes that are necessary to achieve it. Some sustainability design aspects may change the overall dimensions or appearance, have an impact on cost, or change the number of available suppliers. Supplier performance criteria may also need to be altered.