For most event organizers and many supplier, our ability to really increase sustainability performance is contingent on our ability to manage the supply chain.
When we work with our clients we advise them to better manage their supply chain management. Michael and I created something called the 4Ps that may help you to think about how your drive sustainability performance in your organisation
Policy: For sustainability to be integrated into the DNA of the organization (as the cliché goes) it needs to become part of your corporate or association policy. We normally start here by creating a sustainability vision for the organization and then formalizing this with a sustainability commitment statement and supplier code of conduct. We like to link this code of conduct to the UN Global Compact 10 principles. This provides a solid base of social (human and labour rights), environmental and anti-corruption principles
Process: With the formal policy, you can start to share this with your stakeholders and to integrate into your day to day procurement processes. This should cover all aspects of how you identify, interview, contract and manage your suppliers. We use the MeetGreen system and over 40 documents to help put process into these procurement processes. Many people forget the last step – which is about Contracting. Its critical for real sustainability performance that aspirations are put into contractual language and clauses.
Performance Management: Up to here is the easy bit, now its about audit and assessment. Everyone and their dog would like to be a better business partner, but their green and social claims don’t always match their actions. Here one needs to visit, interview and analyze the suppliers operations: Go behind the scenes and check to see if they are doing what they say they are doing. At this point Michael and I normally spend a lot of time talking with all members of the staff and looking through trash cans checking recyling levels etc. This audit work is performance pre and during the event. Its needs to be supported by a data measurement process to quantify and report on impacts. These then help to set objectives and targets for improved performance
Partnership: The last P for me is the most important. By using a carrot and engaging/partnering with your suppliers you can achieve much more than by using a stick approach. We recommend creating virtual teams with your key stakeholders. The Bs8901 process is very useful here to guide you on how to engage and communicate with your stakeholders.
Michael’s post about the European Wind Energy Association and their EWEC event is a good example of someone who is following this process
The BS8901 sustainable event management system provides excellent guidelines on sustainable procurement. For more info read next post