Top 5 Barriers to Sustainable Procurement and How to Overcome Them

Sustainable procurement is when an organisation purchases its goods and services to achieve value for money and benefit society, the local economy and the environment.

team discussing ideas in meeting room

Research has found that over 51% of organisations in the UK have successfully implemented a sustainable procurement policy — but it's likely that many of those have faced barriers along the way.

This article will discuss the top five barriers to sustainable procurement and provide guidance on how your organisation can overcome them.

  1. Getting Buy-in From Senior Employees
  2. Limited Time and Resources to Drive Ideas Forward 
  3. Not Enough Support From Suppliers
  4. Potential Higher Costs 
  5. Challenges Accessing the Right Technology


1. Getting Buy-in From Senior Employees

Sustainable procurement requires people to embrace change, which isn't always easy to achieve. Senior members of your organisation might have an "if it's not broken, why fix it?" mindset.

If you don't have buy-in from these members of your organisation, it's unlikely you'll drive forward positive change. This is where you have a key role in educating senior employees to ensure they understand the benefits of sustainable procurement. 

You'll need to have a solid business case, with knowledge of sustainable procurement benefits and how your organisation can make the shift. That's why you should consider attending events like the SUSTx Procurement Summit to discover the best sustainability ideas, strategies and solutions for procurement.



2. Limited Time and Resources to Drive Ideas Forward

You're working to a busy schedule. This leaves you little time to put energy into driving sustainable procurement practices in your organisation.

However, one of the critical benefits of sustainable procurement is it creates new efficiencies. Therefore, if you can successfully implement a sustainable procurement policy, you'll save time in the long run.

It's also important to remember that sustainable goals aren't achieved overnight. Be patient in your approach and focus your energy on upskilling your team members so you can drive changes together.


3. Not Enough Support From Suppliers

Similar to getting buy-in from senior employees, organisations can also face barriers when changing their suppliers' mindset.

Because suppliers are separate from your organisation, they might have different values or resources and may not be open to a new approach. It could also be possible that they don't understand the importance of sustainability and the benefits it can offer to their organisation, the environment and society.

We recommend you approach your suppliers once you've comfortably implemented sustainability practices in your organisation. You'll then be equipped with the knowledge and skills to educate them on the benefits of sustainable procurement.


4. Potential Higher Costs

Many organisations worry about the cost of changing their processes. Moving towards sustainable procurement can be costly during the initial stages, meaning it can be difficult to achieve buy-in from other staff members.

However, it's essential to remember sustainable procurement is an investment for the future. A successful sustainable procurement strategy can help you cut costs, improve risk management, promote innovation and reduce carbon emissions. 

It's always worth keeping a close eye on your competitors and other organisations that successfully implement sustainable procurement strategies. This will support you when building a business case and prove its value to senior employees and suppliers.


5. Challenges Accessing the Right Technology

Many tools and technology can support your organisation in becoming more sustainable. However, having the funds and resources to access and ensure employees know how to use them can be challenging.

These tools need to easily integrate into current systems and help streamline processes that you already have in place. This is why getting buy-in from other members of your organisation is crucial.

Not only will this ensure you get the budget to invest in the right tools and technology, but you'll also be able to provide employees with the time they need to receive training and attend events to improve their skills and knowledge.

Are you looking to future-proof your organisation through sustainability but need extra support getting started? Do you find it difficult to communicate the benefits of sustainability with key members of your organisation? Our SUSTx Procurement 2022 event can help you.


Start Making Your Organisation More Sustainable by Attending SUSTx Procurement 2022

On the 30th of November 2022, experts from around the world will gather to discuss all things sustainability. Together, we'll explore procurement and supply chain strategies, explaining how you can begin educating and engaging your supply chain partners.

Click below to find out more about the event and book your place.

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