what is sustainable procurement?
The new global ISO 20400 provides 3 key definitions that clearly explain what sustainable procurement is about:
Sustainability - State of the global system, including environmental, social and economic aspects, in which the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Procurement - activity of acquiring goods or services from suppliers (internal and external). The procurement process considers the whole life cycle from identification of needs through to the end of a services contract or the end of the life of goods, including disposal.
Sustainable Procurement - Procurement that has the most positive environmental, social and economic impacts on a whole life basis.
ISO 20400 explicitly refers to 2 fundamental concepts that constitute the scope of issues that should be managed when integrating sustainability into the procurement activity.
1. Sustainable Development and its triple bottom line: development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs (Brundtland report, 1987).
The Triple Bottom Line
2. Social responsibility and its 7 core issues: responsibility of an organisation for the impacts of its decisions and activities on society and the environment, through transparent and ethical behavior that:
- Contributes to sustainable development, including the health and the welfare of society;
- Takes into account the expectations of stakeholders;
- Is in compliance with applicable law and consistent with international norms of behavior; and
- Is integrated throughout the organisation and practiced in its relationships.
(ISO 26000 on Social Responsibility, 2010)
The 7 Core Issues of Social Responsibility