Latest thoughts on Sustainability from the Big Consulting Firms and others...

Some thoughts on Sustainability from the Big Consulting Firms about the way procurement and business, should and will go in the coming years, if we are to survive the pace of technological change the world is experiencing and adapt our processes to respect our planet.

As presented at the latest SAP Ariba/SAP Fieldglass ValueX and discussed in Spend Matters November 6th 2019


DELOITTE looked at Industry 4.0 (automation, data exchange, cyber-physical systems (CPS), the internet of things (IoT), industrial internet of things (IIOT), cloud computing, cognitive computing and artificial intelligence and so on) in the context of procurement.

The fourth industrial revolution is not, however, just about a collection of technologies, rather how you package and use them altogether to support your long-term business strategy

A global Deloitte survey revealed that 94% (of respondents) saw implementing digital tech and processes (aka digital transformation) as a means just to ‘keep up’ with the rest of the marketplace. Their ability to use the data that comes out of it in real time to aid real growth is lacking, and that is the paradox.


talked about the disruption that is coming from the megatrends of climate change and resource scarcity, social change, accelerating urbanisation, shifts in economic power and tech breakthroughs, and that what really matters is how they will collide, not how they will affect us on their own. And it’s how we adapt that will define how we survive.

Rapid Urbanisation growth is expected to see billions of people in megacities in the next 20 years or so, bringing huge opportunities for economic development. Cyber risk is becoming more and more of a threat (the US navy responds by going back to teaching navigation, not by tech, but by the stars)....

So for procurement these ‘megatrends’ will mean that Risk management will have to be hard-wired into everything we do.

Two-thirds of the CEOs PWC spoke to said they were changing their sourcing strategies in response to concerns about global trends, especially climate change.


ACCENTURE followed calling for procurement to have a change of mindset - from the ‘suppliers versus us’ scenario and a Compliance and Process Driven Approach - to take advantage of the huge opportunities for collaboration. In a new procurement structure we would have 360 degree relationships with suppliers, customers and buyers, because we are all part of a big ecosystem. Transformation in whatever from it takes cannot be run like a project as part of the day job. If we are serious about it, we need to dedicate a workforce to it, as we need to repurpose for the future and with that comes co-innovation and enablement. Alongside that we need to support the supply base, with diversity comes innovation, and they see lot of benefit coming from SMEs in terms of sustainability.


Discussing the CIRCULAR ECONOMY a panel of circular economy experts from UK Government, SAP and Plastic Planet, focused on our depleting resources, and how we need to source responsibly. This is what they said:

“The circular economy is addressing that with reuse of materials and seeing the value in what we call waste. But business and government must come together to design policy. We need to go back to making products that don’t have to leave the economy. Products for longevity. The challenge is how we can make money from that system.”

“On plastics, while it’s in the news a lot, it’s as recoverable as anything else: ‘so long as you can trace it, you can recapture its value’ which was another nod to transparency. But Plastic Planet reminded us that despite efforts like cutting down on plastic bag usage in the UK for example, the amount of plastic waste is not decreasing. 4.1 billion plastic bags are still being used.”

“If recycling is the answer, where is all the plastic going to go? We know the toxicity of burning it, so we shouldn’t treat it like rubbish: we still export more than 60% of our plastic waste mainly to third world countries. But the public are disempowered; it’s not a shopper problem it’s a production problem – people will buy what they are sold. Big businesses must ignite the fire for change.”

And there are many big businesses trying to do that, the example of Unilever was given. Unilever has ambitious targets, and is looking at how to remove the unnecessary purchases. For example, rather than buying a can of deodorant, is there a means to buy just the bit we use, the deodorant, so we wouldn’t need to throw away the whole can. So we must think about what exactly it is we want to buy, and work with suppliers that can deliver it, because they are out there.

Source: Spend Matters November 6th 2019







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