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Very often procurement is treated as a mechanistic operation rather than as a creative strategy for achieving multiple objectives of creating a sustainable and successful business while also meeting objectives that contribute to building sustainable and healthy communities.
To effectively adopt social procurement practices an organization needs leadership, motivation, resources, and integration. Without these key supportive ingredients it will be challenging, and in some cases impossible to implement.
It is essential that there be a champion at the senior executive level and that the initiative receive the support of the senior executive team.
Staff at all levels of the organization have to buy into the importance of sustainable purchasing and the value of leveraging procurement dollars. To do this, department and individual performance appraisals should factor in social purchasing decision-making and staff should be rewarded and recognized for their efforts.
Departments and individuals with purchase decision-making roles need to be motivated and rewarded for effective social procurement practices. It is one thing to say that CSR (corporate social responsibility) should be considered in the procurement process of an organization, but if performance evaluations are based solely on saving money in the short term then the organization cannot expect CSR considerations to receive adequate attention. Departments need to have goals and be held accountable, individuals need to be motivated appropriately, and success stories need to be acknowledged.
Just as with any investment initiative, resources in the form of time, money, communication, staff training and education are required.
Leveraging purchasing to achieve organizational goals should be an integral part of the organization's overall strategy. Sustainable procurement needs to be embraced by every department of the organization and become a core part of the CSR practices, the corporate culture and the way of doing business.
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