Launch of sustainable procurement standard will improve supply chains

The first construction company to be assessed under the new ISO 2040 sustainable procurement standard is the UK’s Balfour Beatty.

ISO 2040, the world’s first international standard for sustainable procurement, was initiated in 2013 by a committee of more than 40 nations.

Balfour Beatty is a member of the Supply Chain School, an initiative which represents a common approach to sustainability within supply chains. It was assisted through the sustainable prcurement process by third-party evaluators Action Sustainability.

The standard incorporates UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business as well as the requirements of the ISO 26000. All organisations, public and private, can apply and it outlines the sustainability impacts and considerations that should be incorporated across the different aspects of procurement activity. It is an update to BS 8903 in that it takes into consideration new concepts such as life-cycle analysis, due diligence, complicity and global cost.

“We are extremely proud to be the first company in the world assessed against ISO 20400,” Balfour Beatty’s sustainable supply chain manager Aaron Reid said. “The standard gives us a clear framework to determine what good looks like in terms of sustainable procurement and how we compare against it.

“The assessment itself was robust, practical and coherent. It held a mirror up to us as a business, enabling us to uncover areas of existing good practice to be shared and areas for improvement to focus upon.”

Balfour Beatty is a leading member of the Supply Chain School, an initiative which represents a common approach to sustainability within supply chains that includes companies such as Carillion, Skanska and Willmott Dixon.

The School’s chair Shaun McCarthy OBE, has helped shape the structure of the new standard, and has previously noted that the “time is right” to launch new standards and guidelines and promote resource efficiency in the current political and environmental landscape.

Commenting on Balfour Beatty’s assessment, McCarthy said: “Societal expectations for supply chains to minimise impact on the environment and respect human rights are at a tipping point. In response, ISO 20400 sets out a strategic framework for achieving sustainability and value for organisations competing in a global market.

“Procurement professionals and their stakeholders need to step up to this sustainability challenge and the standard provides a global framework for doing so.”

Further information

About ISO 2040

September 6, 2017
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