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GOAL FF04 | Business activities

Procurement safeguards the pursuit of future-fitness

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Future-Fit Business continuously seeks to reduce the environmental and social impact of the goods and services it depends upon, by anticipating, avoiding and addressing any critical issue-specific hotspots in its supply chains.

What this goal means

Every company relies to some extent upon goods and services procured from other organisations, which we collectively refer to as suppliers. Common examples include: energy, water, computers, transport, machinery, furniture, accounting services, and raw materials required to make products.

Supply chains are often complex and multi-layered, and companies may not know much about the origin of the inputs they use for their key business processes. In order to be sure that the goods and services it relies on are not generating negative outcomes, the company must address these data gaps by striving to identify and address negative outcomes from its procurement activities.

This goal requires a company to implement policies and processes that continuously seek to maximise the future-fitness of its purchases, with a particular emphasis on anticipating, avoiding and addressing any critical, issue-specific hotspots in supply chains.

To be Future-Fit a company must:

  1. Have controls in place that enable it and its employees to anticipate where negative supply chain impacts are likely to occur;
  2. Avoid them where possible;
  3. Take measureable steps to address concerns that arise.

Why this goal is needed...

The ambition of procurement and supply chains is to identify the most cost-effective and efficient means of acquiring products, often at the expense of environmental or safety concerns.

A Trucost study found that of the $2.15 trillion of environmental damage caused by the world's largest 3000 companies annually, 49% comes from impacts hidden within supply chains.

The scarcity of some natural resources concentrates their supply in areas prone to activity that undermines future-fitness.

For example, a type of granite supplied to retailers in several developed countries is only quarried in three states in India where debt bondage for workers is prevalent.

Though there are many collaborative initiatives setting sustainable international sourcing standards, companies still fail to buy certified product inputs.

A survey of 130 companies by the WWF found that less than half bought sustainable palm oil even though there was easily enough to meet the collective demand.

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Action Guide

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Download the Action Guide for more information, and find out how to get started.

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Action Guide

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