At last year's FM Supplier day, held by the Supply Chain Sustainability School, Several of our customers, Interserve, Skanska and Bidfood, were presenting on their improvement initiatives in regards to corporate sustainability. These companies all have strong strategies striving to embed a sustainable culture – making sustainable practice part of their day-to-day business processes. A strong message of the day was ‘Sustainable practice is good business sense.’ Many companies have already jumped onto the sustainability bandwagon because of the shot in the arm it gives to ROI, reputation and the quality of the supply chain.
© COPYRIGHT ACTION SUSTAINABILITY 2015
How to Identify Business Sustainability Opportunities:
There are various guises which sustainability can be identified within your business. The supply chain is normally the first place to start. Fully understanding your supply chain processes will put you in the best position to begin to overcome challenges, some of which include: Modern Slavery, Social Value, Sustainable Products and Resource Efficiency.
Sustainability is now not just a ‘nice to have’, quite often customers require their suppliers to be compliant with the Sustainable Procurement Standard BS8903 prior to any work being awarded or continuing. Securing this standard against every aspect of your supply chain, including your own suppliers, can help provide competitive advantage when bidding for new business and add greater value to your customers and establish better best practice for your business.
Generating awareness for the importance of business sustainability practices across an organisation can be the biggest challenge of all. Discussions on the day highlighted the following as key objectives for embedding sustainability as a core business principle:
- Obtain Board level support/endorsement
- Show the benefits. – e.g. By adding sustainable products to our supply chain we saved £££’s
- Run reports as a standard measure
- Make senior management accountable -build targets in with personal development goals
- Encourage bottom up and top down support
- Run rewards and initiatives for ideas – Green Awards, Material Swap Shops
- Target different audiences with the correct message. Why it’s important for them?
- Share your news with your organisation and your customers – social media and blogging
Supply Chain Sustainability: the Results:
Many of the challenges above are very familiar to those seen when trying to implement best practice and continuous improvement across organisations.
Interserve, Skanska and Bidfood have been driving these improvements across their organisations. for some time, in fact, Skanska were awarded for their sustainability focus with the Environmental Sustainability in the Highways Sector Award at the Highways Magazine Excellence Awards.
Image sourced from: skanska.co.uk
Sustainable practice will become part of ‘business as usual’ for many of us over the coming 2-5 years. The business landscape is ever changing and it's the organisations that adapt best to the current shift towards corporate responsibility and sustainability that have the best chance for success.
Trying to implement a new strategy in a business will always be a challenge, however, aligning this with day to day business activities and the Price, Product and Processes of a business is essential to getting it right.
There is an ongoing debate surrounding the right methods and approach to sustainability but at the end of the day, what is right for one organisation may not be right for the next. The best approach is to understand your current business processes which paves the way for positive change and improvement to be introduced incorporating new strategies.
How to Create a Sustainability Focus:
At Triaster, the content we produce is always intended to create pathways for organisational improvement. Our customers have some of the best minds in process improvement and quality and we make use of those minds as often as we can.
Mark Braham is a CQI category A liaison at ISO/TC176 - the international working committee responsible for writing lSO 9001:2015. He is also the Chair of the UK national standards body (BSI) and managed QS1 who are responsible for collating and drafting all UK responses to ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) and UK voting on the Standard.
He recently wrote a white paper outlining how to achieve ISO 9001:2015 (a key certification on the road to sustainability). I encourage you to read the article - as they don't come more knowledgable than Mark, who was involved in drafting the quality standard.