Change Through Business Value Creation and the Global UN Sustainable Development Goals

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“It’s not enough to have lived, we should be determined to live for something” – Leo F. Buscaglia

The pursuit of greater meaning sits at the pinnacle of human nature. It reflects within all that we do, in our lives, and in our professions. As procurement or sourcing professionals, we strive every day to make a difference in the business, to solve problems while creating business value. The words “sustainability”, “sustainable”, and “impact” are commonplace these days in the procurement and sourcing world as the industry pushes towards a new future in sustainable business – but what can we really do to drive true change?

We believe Procurement has the expertise to drive sustainability while delivering the highest standard of work and championing continuous improvement in business by integrating our processes with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs).

Amidst all the various measures in the world today, the UN SDGs provides a solid benchmark for sustainable procurement and sourcing for the following reasons:

  • Globally accepted: the UN SDGs are a set of goals adopted across 193 Nations and provides a broad range of targets that any organization can impact with its spending
  • Tangible: the impact of each UN SDG can be felt in nations across the world, by improving just one UN SDG, the ripple effect on the local communities can be significant
  • Actionable: every business has the ability to impact at least one, if not multiple, UN SDGs through their spending and operations. From the smallest company to the largest, positive action is possible on these UN SDGs.
  • Measurable: too often, sustainability projects start with the best of intentions, without a clear measurable target at the end of the line. As professionals in our field, we specialize in creating tangible targets that tie back into the UN SDGs for not only ourselves, but also our suppliers in driving sustainability throughout our entire supply chain.

What does this look like in action?

Take any spend area, and while performing the standard category analysis of spend, contracts, industry, add in the possible UN SDG impact. The sourcing opportunities that come from this analysis now integrate a measurable impact within the UN SDG areas where they can be the most effective. Now it’s just about structuring the opportunity, the contract, and developing the right supplier relationship management framework that captures and maintains this impact along with the positive business value created from the opportunity.

The impact generated can then be built and integrated into your annual sustainability KPIs and impact reporting metrics. This will highlight the direct and measurable the strides your company is taking along with your end-to-end supply chain to tackle the globally recognized UN SDG targets, and strengthen your brand power by aligning to your stakeholder values.

All it takes is a little of the abundant creativity in this field. To get started, you will find below some examples of the impact that your organization’s spend area can have on each UN SDG with the right opportunity.

Jane Zhang, Co-Founder of ETCH Sourcing

Jane Zhang is the Co-Founder of ETCH Sourcing, a Canada based consultancy specializing in providing strategy and execution services in the sourcing, procurement and category management space. She loves people, solving problems, and has years of expertise working throughout the entire sourcing spectrum, from building and executing multi-million-dollar tactical strategies, to being entrusted with some of the most complex and strategic contractual negotiations on business-critical projects. Graduating from the Haskayne School of Business twice over with a Bachelor of Commerce in Marketing and an MBA in Finance with a focus on Global Energy Management and Sustainability, she has returned to build and teach business contract negotiations with her Co-Founder as a part of giving back and elevating her alma mater.  

Jane is passionate about education is a member for multiple boards, most notable is her role as Board Director and Chief Operating Officer of a non-profit designed to connect children aged 8-13 with industry learning and development through play.  

Jane’s latest passion is to champion the role of sustainability in procurement and is celebrating the launch of ETCH’s sustainable procurement offering, which integrates the UN SDGs as a sustainability function into the procurement process from an end-to-end perspective.