The Post-COVID Supply Chain: Driving Value with Sustainable Procurement

Sustainable Procurement

COVID-19 has created a ripple effect of disruption through supply chains across the world, causing many companies to assess their weak spots and reevaluate their operations to ensure future resiliency and continuity.

Rebounding from the current crisis with more solid resilience is itself creating immense value. Forward-thinking companies are looking a step further, perhaps with the climate crisis clearly in view. They are leveraging sustainability and purpose – with an upside creating long-term value across a wide range of business levers, from competitive differentiation, grow sales revenue, supplier innovation to support future circular business models, talent recruitment and retention.

Procurement’s Key Role in Turning Purpose into Profit

With momentum growing toward stakeholder capitalism, businesses have made a greater commitment to sustainable purpose through reducing emissions of greenhouse gas, limiting plastic use, providing decent working conditions and more. The recent COVID-19 pandemic has brought risk mitigation and resiliency top-of-mind – and we’re seeing clear proof points that sustainable procurement is the answer.

Leading companies are finding their procurement teams are in the pole position to drive sustainable value. Studies show that 90% of a company’s sustainability impact can be attributed to the supply chain. That ROI increases along the procurement maturity curve as related measures are in place. For example, 88% of business leaders saw benefit in mitigating risk as a result of sustainable procurement initiatives and 35% saw a boost in their overall sales revenue.

It’s no surprise, then, that businesses are making key investments to engage more deeply in sustainable procurement practices, because they are seeing a positive return on seven levers that clearly make the business case.


>>Learn More: Sustainable Sourcing 101<<

Key Levers to Measure Sustainable Value

One of the most important levers for measuring value is the supply chain’s ability to mitigate risk and offer resilience. As business sustainability management continues to be tested, those with comprehensive supplier-monitoring systems in place will come out on top. These companies are better equipped to manage unforeseen risks – a vital part of a strong, sustainable procurement program.

Metrics such as cost, quality and delivery are also key indicators for value measurement. According to a recent report, 53% of sustainable procurement leaders claim their organization’s procurement metrics have improved thanks to their responsible purchasing practices. A sound sustainable procurement program, that also measures suppliers’ sustainability performance, is essential to creating operational efficiencies and overall cost savings.

Lastly, measuring and creating brand differentiation is crucial. As more people care about where their products come from, how they’re made and the materials used to make them, companies need to take steps to establish their sustainability credentials and communicate those to consumers. When used properly, this brand differentiation can become a strategic part of sustainability programs, driving monetary returns and improving reputation.

Committing to Purpose as a Key to Success

Using sustainability and purpose as a means of value creation has never been more critical. As business leaders learn from the lessons of today’s crisis, they must leverage sustainable procurement in their supply chains – doing so goes beyond strengthening resiliency and creates a competitive advantage that positions them for success well into the future.

Looking to learn more about the value of responsible procurement and how sustainability plays a role? Check out EcoVadis’ latest ebook.


David McClintock, Marketing Director, EcoVadis

David has a strong passion for bringing complex technologies to productive, everyday use. Before joining EcoVadis in 2014, David was co-founder and CMO at Xform Computing, a cloud computing and mobile apps startup. Prior to that he was VP Marketing at, and Director of Product Management at Callwave, Inc., both in VoIP-related technology and services. David holds a degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.