Efficiency and Effectiveness
Companies can steer the sustainability performance of their suppliers


Individual consumers can exert significant influence on sustainability by ‘voting with their wallets’, i.e. by favoring relatively ‘green’ products over conventional ones. Similarly, companies can steer the sustainability performance of their suppliers through their procurement decisions. This is especially relevant if a large share of the environmental impact occurs ‘upstream’ in the value chain, or if the company employs a lot of subcontractors. Companies can do the following:

  • Add environmental performance to the selection criteria. The environmental performance of suppliers can be assessed in two ways. First of all, companies can rely on certification and labeling, e.g. ISO 14001, Cradle to Cradle, EKO, etc. (See the fourth step of the resource effectiveness transformation process: ‘Profile’.) A second option is to request specific information from (potential) suppliers directly, e.g. on CO2 emissions, which can have a massive influence in terms of raising awareness of ecological issues, as evidenced by the initiatives of Walmart and other retailers.
  • Work more closely together with preferred suppliers to jointly develop more sustainable products and services.