The standard in development ISO 20400 Sustainable Procurement – Guidance has just reached a second Draft International Standard stage. Interested parties can once again provide feedback before the publication of the norm in 2017.
Sustainable procurement, extension of CSR in the supply chain
Sustainable procurement is defined in the standard ISO 26 000 a followed: “in its purchasing decisions, an organization should take into account the environmental, social and ethical performance of the products or services being procured, over their entire life cycles. Where possible, it should give preference to products or services with minimized impacts, making use of reliable and effective independently verified labelling schemes or other verification schemes, such as eco-labelling or auditing activities;”
The increasing importance of subcontracting in a context of globalization can lead to displace the social and environmental risks to other parts of the supply chain, harder to control. A sustainable procurement strategy helps identify such impacts and find solutions to manage them, such as code of conducts, requirements in bids of tender, supplier questionnaires and scorecard, audits, corrective action plans … However, so far there is no dedicated norm in this sense, hence the work on ISO 20400.
The draft norm in a nutshell.
The Second draft is composed of seven chapters:
- Normative reference
- Terms and definitions
- Understanding the fundamentals. This chapter explains the principles of sustainable procurement and explains the importance of such practices. For instance, sustainable procurement helps managing risks and benefit from opportunities.
- Integrating sustainability into the organization’s procurement policy and strategy. This part describes the main considerations when developing a policy/strategy. For example, it is paramount to engage the top management and to set dedicated targets, it ensures better success in the implementation.
- Organizing the procurement function towards sustainability. Here, the norm details how to engage all the dedicated stakeholders and to develop a culture of sustainable procurement with dedicated responsibilities, KPIs reflecting the targets, communication and grievance mechanisms.
- Integrating sustainability into the Procurement process. The final chapter gives an exhaustive list of solutions on how to actually roll out the program in the daily life of the procurement department: sourcing strategy, procurement criteria, supplier selection, contract management, among others.
As a partner of EcoVadis, leader in supply chain sustainability ratings., DFGE strongly believes in sustainable procurement practices (see our blog articles for more references) DFGE is looking forward to the release of the norm. If your organization needs sustainable procurement solutions, we would be happy to help devise the best strategy – contact us at