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First International Standard for Sustainable Procurement

A new ISO standard has been published to help organisations make the best purchasing decisions for the environment, economy and society.

ISO 20400, Sustainable procurement – Guidance, is the world’s first International Standard for sustainable procurement. It aims to help organisations develop and implement sustainable purchasing practices and policies, ensuring suppliers have sound and ethical practices.

The new ISO, a ‘world’s first’, provides guidelines for integrating sustainability into an organisation’s procurement policy strategy and process. It defines the principles of sustainable procurement such as accountability, transparency, respect for human rights and ethical behaviour.

Unlike many other ISO standards, companies cannot become ‘certified’ to ISO 20400. It is a guidance standard with the aim of building a global consensus around the expectations for responsible procurement.

Jacques Schramm, Chair of ISO/PC 277, the project committee that developed the standard, says the benefits of sustainable procurement can be far-reaching: “It is no longer enough for businesses to rely on suppliers to provide them with what they want, no questions asked. Organisations benefit greatly from getting to know their suppliers – understanding what their requirements are as well – to ensure their demands are not unrealistic and that the suppliers they work with have good, ethical practices,” he explains.

“The risks of not understanding and managing practices throughout the whole supply chain are great. At best, poor quality products or ruptures of stock can result. At worst, disasters like the Rana Plaza in Bangladesh in 2013 can happen.

“Sustainable procurement helps to minimize risks such as these by encouraging buyers and suppliers to work closely together for a better result for all.”

Clarity Environmental is approved to ISO 9001 and 14001 for both our Quality and Environmental Management Systems. This achievement underlines our commitment to maintaining the highest standards in the delivery of our services, whilst remaining as ‘green’ as we possibly can within a competitive marketplace.

We pride ourselves on being an ethical business and we welcome this latest standard, which will help businesses like ours to make the best, and most sustainable, purchasing choices. We are reviewing the guidance and will integrate the standards into our Environmental Management System.

Get in touch if you would like to know more about our ISO accreditations.

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