Sustainable Procurement: a key objective for UNGC members and for Fincons Group

Sustainable Procurement: a key objective for UNGC members and for Fincons Group

19 January 2024
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The United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative that aims to mobilize and motivate companies across the globe to align strategies and operations with universal principles in four main areas of interest: human rights, labour, environment, and anti-corruption. The UN Global Compact was launched in 2000, since then over 17.000 businesses from 160 countries have joined, bringing to life an unprecedent global collaboration in this area.

Sustainable Procurement is one of the key topics affected by all four areas of interest, and the impact on Procurement practices will be more and more pervasive with the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive that the European Commission is working on. This will probably be transposed into national law for Member States in 2024, directly affecting value and supply chain sustainability.

Involvement of the supply chain in achieving ESG goals is seen as one of the major challenges to their advancement but also as an opportunity. Procurement can in fact help achieve some of the greatest positive impact for advancing certain Global Goals, such as Goal 5 – Gender Equality; Goal 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth; Goal 12 – Responsible Production and Consumption; and Goal 13 – Climate Action.

Within this context, Fincons Procurement processes have been deeply reviewed to incorporate and nurture those principles. The overall Sustainable Procurement strategy has been shared with the supplier ecosystem, a Supplier Code of Conduct has been built as a foundation and the supplier due diligence procedure has been enriched with new checklists testing the above-mentioned Global Goals culture adoption, also for the first supplier base layer.

In a widespread company culture of sustainable business also founded on different key certifications (e.g. ISO14001, ISO14064, ISO45001), Procurement has been facilitated in undertaking different sustainable actions like turning on 100% renewable energy sourcing or starting car fleet electrification and carbon emission monitoring.

This journey started some years ago and shared with all the ecosystems led Fincons to have the honour of being invited attend the Sustainable Procurement Working Group by the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Italy chapter.

UNGC Italy initiated the Working Group on Sustainable Procurement, a path reserved for a select group of Italian companies affiliated with UNGC in 2023. This initiative provides them with a space for in-depth exploration, comparison, and exchange of experiences on the theme of sustainable supply chain management so that the private sector can have a tangible and positive impact on the advancement of the UN 2030 Agenda. 80% of global commerce in fact is supported by the global supply chain and private sector companies have a key role to play in this context.

The event was an opportunity to present and highlight the outcomes of the first edition of the initiative and involved the participation of company representatives from the procurement and sustainability divisions of 37 Italian companies affiliated with UNGC, ranging from large to small and medium-sized, and operating in various industries.

Structured around three key thematic areas: Environmental, Social, Governance, the event presented the outcomes of the research highlighting for each area challenges and opportunities related to sustainable supply chain management.

Specifically, the importance of involving supply chains in emission reduction strategies emerged as a key issue. Indirect emissions generated along the supply chain (Scope 3) were highlighted as critical to achieving a net-zero economy. Scope 3 emissions are in fact over eleven times greater than those resulting from Scope 1 and 2 activities, according to the Carbon Disclosure Project. Having objectives, however, is not enough alone and as said above, at Fincons we have also embraced the need for rigorous accountability ensuring that our achievements in our path to carbon zero are clearly and transparently measured according to the ISO 14064 Certification and our road map as laid out in the company GHG Emissions Report.

The study goes on to recommend that within the social responsibility area, major players prioritize the promotion and protection of human rights and workers in managing their supply chains, going beyond mere compliance to create shared value and advocate for a culture of change. In fact, results from a survey of the working group found that one in ten businesses (11%) with environmental objectives had not laid out specific social responsibility targets or had them incorporated in other ESG areas[1].

What the study has finally highlighted is the importance of structuring an effective internal governance that involves top management and all company functions permeating company core values. This will facilitate all departments to do their best, placing sustainability as a core target across business processes. Procurement for example is defining and implementing sustainable supply chain strategies. An open and transparent dialogue with stakeholders and suppliers can serve as a lever to ensure competitiveness and trust, while also mitigating reputational and operational risks. A strict and well-practiced code of ethics plays a key role in achieving these objectives. Creating a company culture where these values are shared and trickled down to all levels is, in fact, for Fincons the main road to ensure a future durable and sustainability business for all the ecosystem involved.

 

[1]  WORKING GROUP ON SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT, Report on the first edition outcomes, November 2023

Angelo Centola
Fincons Group
Head of Procurement and Human Capital Sourcing Director
https://www.linkedin.com/in/angelo-centola-999863/