Action Guide

Develop Procurement Strategies

Environmental Defense Fund

Developing procurement strategies to reduce GHG emissions in your supply chain requires a multi-faceted approach that involves close coordination with your procurement team and executives. Working together, you can develop a strategy and approach suppliers to realize GHG emissions reductions.

By implementing green procurement practices, you can lower your operating risks and attract customers and employees who are looking for more sustainable options. To successfully implement green procurement strategies, it’s essential to get buy in from your procurement team and key executives, and to work with them to develop a seamless governance structure. Working with your procurement team will help you build sustainability into your company’s sourcing practices. This can have a significant effect on Scope 3 emissions and help your company meet its sustainability targets. 

Procurement Strategies

You should work with your company’s procurement team, and relevant executives, to clarify the importance of sustainability as a factor in procurement. Once you have organizational buy-in, you should work with the procurement team to develop solutions that support sustainability. These could include:

  1. Sustainability Contract Clauses: As procurement works with vendors to source materials, from paper to laptops, you can coordinate with them to embed sustainability clauses into these sourcing agreements. For example, you can require that leased laptops are responsibly recycled after they are returned to the supplier. 
  2. Alternative Sourcing: Procurement can consider looking at alternative suppliers to source more sustainable versions of products. You can work with procurement to help them understand the trade offs between different products and vendors. 
  3. Sustainable Choices: Procurement may be able to work with vendors to choose more sustainable packaging, product transportation, or delivery. 

In addition to these sustainability solutions, you should work with the procurement team to develop a governance structure that helps you execute on these solutions. For example, you could create a process where sustainability and procurement teams assess different delivery options based on business need and GHG emissions, and then choose the optimal delivery option based on these factors. Working closely with the procurement team as you develop a governance structure will clarify roles and responsibilities and will help maintain a collaborative approach to sourcing. 

Engage with Suppliers 

You will also need to coordinate with the procurement team as you work on Scope 3 emissions with your suppliers. The procurement team, owning those relationships, can help you reach out to suppliers to communicate the company’s sustainability goals, build relationships focused on sustainability, and collect supplier emissions data.  

Because procurement teams work with suppliers on a regular basis, they can continue to check in with suppliers on their sustainability journey and let you know if they hear about challenges or opportunities to support suppliers.