Procurement's Journey To Sustainability
First signs of systemic change?
By Xavier Nouguès, Thibault Rochet, Karina Swette, Christian Heiss, Louis-Henri Devant, and Thilo Grunwald-Henrich
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Following from our last year’s report on sustainable procurement, Powering Your Sustainability Through Procurement, we wished to go one step further and understand the degree of progress procurement is making in Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). To this end, we talked to well over 300 Chief Procurement Officers from around the world, representing all the main industries. In order to assess their current level of maturity, we asked them where they believe they stand on each of the twelve areas highlighted in Oliver Wyman’s Sustainable Procurement Maturity Framework, in terms of Track, Act, Impact, and Operate.

Exhibit 1: Oliver Wyman's sustainable procurement maturity framework

We can report the positive finding that almost all companies have now defined their strategic procurement ambitions in ESG. Many have made good progress in embedding these objectives into their procurement agenda, while the leaders provide solid examples of how this ambition can be translated into robust metrics KPIs for their procurement teams and fully embedded in procurement processes and tools.

Not all the news is as positive, however. Many procurement teams find themselves falling a long way behind the leaders. For these companies, procurement is still almost entirely driven by historical metrics, such as cost, quality, and service level, rather than on ESG criteria. This gap is most noticeable in the Environmental area, which continues to lag Social and Governance. Excluding the exceptional case of carbon emissions, where many companies have focused until now, over 50% have yet to even set an overall Environmental objective for their procurement teams. Our examination of how procurement teams are doing on the twelve dimensions of the Sustainable Maturity Framework not only identifies where they are most advanced and where they are falling behind but also highlights the dimensions that need to be key areas of focus over the next few years.

Sustainable procurement makes an enormous difference – for all of us.

We hope procurement can benefit from the examples provided of selected practices from the most advanced players on these dimensions. Read the full report below.