When Purchasing & Sustainability go hand in hand

"We spread the culture and experience on the sustainability of the supply chain, and in general in the company": this is what they do to Purchasing & Sustainability , an open international network that since 2007 suggests the good practices to achieve the perfect balance between sustainability and profitability. IS Luca Guzzabocca, one of the two creators of A&S, explains that companies "lack the awareness that sustainability means managing their own company in a better way".

1) What is the goal of your association and who is it aimed at?

Purchasing & Sustainability (Inspiring Sustainable Supply Chain) was born in 2007 from an idea of ​​mine and Angelo Spina, when we realize that the supply chain can be a critical success factor for the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the company, the community and people. It is an "open" organization that has been, since its foundation, structured with the logic of an international network to pool the best of existing and potential know-how on the issue to capitalize on the experiences and initiatives in this regard.

2) What types of services do you offer?

We spread the culture and experience on sustainability of the supply chain, and in general in the company. As? For example, we organize specific events by sector and product class (A&S Day), we design and carry out studies on specific sectors, products and services (A&S Watch) and we develop sustainability data sheets for products and services to support buyers. We also select national and international best practices, we give in-house support to companies, members and non-members, with workshops managed together with our strategic partner Prosperina Business Service, we are on the scientific committees of some award programs on sustainability.

3) What are the most requested services and why do you think?

Our A&S Day events because they collect best practices and give an address on how to implement sustainability in the company through comparison with others. Even the workshops organized in companies are successful because of their "personalization": they are focused according to the levels of maturity, onABC of sustainability, or to raise awareness of the strategic importance of sustainability in the company, or to create purchasing, sales and product strategies through sustainability.

4) What does sustainability mean in purchasing and in the supply chain?

It means ensuring that products and services are compatible with environmental impact criteria, from design to their disposal or reuse. It means ensuring that behind the products and materials there are no exploitation of child labor and systems of corruption. It means the existence of a monitoring and measurement for the supplier's sustainability profile and a development plan in this regard. It also means, internally, making sure that you actually buy materials, products and services that are really needed in the company and are not a surplus.

5) Has the attitude of your interlocutors changed with the crisis regarding the desire to become sustainable?

The desire is great and the enthusiasm is high and growing especially because values ​​and ethics are increasingly indispensable in companies and people. Many companies have approached us over the past three years, with crises and recession, to understand how to integrate sustainability into products and processes. Of course, it happens with limited human and economic resources available in the company, and perhaps over a medium-long time span, but there are still both needs and objectives.

6) Where is there the greatest lack of awareness in companies regarding the sustainability of processes?

Above all, the awareness that sustainabilityit means better managing your company at 360 °. Often, in terms of responsibility, for example, it is all on the shoulders of the CSR manager or the Health and Safety and Environment manager. Or, in terms of aspect and target, it is relegated to aspects of only environmental impact, such as the carbon footprint in business mobility. Often the sustainability it is not used as a commitment and involvement of human resources, which instead would increase productivity and motivation in the company.

7) What are the stereotypes to be dispelled about sustainable practices in companies?

Typically there is the vision that the sustainability it must be a "black or white" choice, instead we know that there must be a commitment in the company to seek the right and consistent balance between the impact of sustainability and economic profitability. The initiatives of environmental and social sustainability in shares of the company balance sheet as well as the economic one.

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