As society makes strides towards a greener and future-focused society, sustainability has become an increasingly highlighted topic and citizens have been calling for organisations to demonstrate more transparency and more sustainable decisions. Procurement is one of those business aspects that not only influence the organisation itself but impact the economy, environment and society. Managing procurement is an important task that businesses should approach with care. This is where ISO 20400 comes in.
The purpose of ISO 20400 is to assist organizations of any kind and size with the development and implementation of a responsible sourcing strategy. The standard offers both an overview of the general principles of sustainable procurement as well as guidance on the implementation process.
ISO 20400:2017 Sustainable Procurement- Guidelines provides organisations with guidance on integrating sustainability within procurement, as described in ISO 26000. The standard is intended for stakeholders involved in procurement, like managers and directors of the purchasing function. ISO 20400:2017 defines the principles of sustainable procurement, including transparency, accountability, respect for human rights and ethical behaviour, and highlights critical considerations such as risk management and priority setting.
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ISO 20400 does not contain requirements for suppliers and is not a tool to assess the sustainability performance of suppliers. Rather, it describes how organizations can integrate sustainability into the procurement process.
The purpose of ISO guidance standards is to build a global consensus of the definition of key terms used within professional practice. ISO 20400 makes use of a holistic definition of sustainability, rather than solely focusing on environmental attributes.
Published in April 2017, this standard is prescriptive and has been divided into 7 annexes, namely:
- Normative references
- Terms and definitions
- Policy and strategy
- Procurement process.
For most organisations, procurement forms a substantial portion of their budget and sustainable procurement can add a valuable aspect to this important business component. ISO 20400 assists organisations in contributing positively to society and the economy through making sustainable purchasing decisions and encouraging suppliers and other stakeholders to do the same. ISO 20400 can assist your company to improve communication between contractors and all stakeholders and promote mutually beneficial relationships, harmonize the purchasing function by improving relationships with suppliers and reducing risks in the supply chain. This standard can help reduce your impact on the environment, tackle human rights issues, manage supplier relations, harmonise long-term global costs and improve your purchasing performance and ultimately, boost productivity, optimise cost and stimulate innovation in the market.
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