Champions of sustainable procurement lead the way

October 21, 2020

The importance of sustainable procurement and supply chain 

Wildfires in Australia and California. An increasing threat of cyberattacks. Disruption from the U.S.-China trade war. A rise in social activism. The uncertain impact of Brexit. And, of course, the continuing global pandemic of COVID-19. Unlike any other year in living memory, 2020 has consistently shown us the importance of maintaining a sustainable procurement and supply chain function.

Sustainable procurement means making sure your company considers the economic, environmental, and social impacts of any purchase it makes. It helps organizations achieve value for money, generating benefits not only to the organization but also to society and the broader economy. Experts say that not only is it a mistake to ignore sustainability, but that sustainable procurement is what might save many organizations from the impact of the pandemic.

So important is sustainability that the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply this year added a new category to its Procurement Power List—the Champions of Change.

CIPS has commended five sustainability champions from around the world, working in a diverse range of companies. The common thread for these five procurement outperformers is the drive to transform their companies’ practices and the willingness to lead the way to a better supply chain.

The champions of sustainable procurement 

Unilever’s Marc Engel

Marc Engel has been a purchasing leader with Unilever for a quarter of a century. For much of that time, he’s served as Chief Procurement Officer and then Chief Supply Chain Officer. As CPO, Engel established the multinational consumer goods company’s Partner to Win program, which has helped transform Unilever’s supplier relationships and deliver its Sustainable Living Plan. Engel considers himself a global citizen, “wanting to make a contribution to make this world a better place.”

L’Oreal’s Barbara Lavernos

Barbara Lavernos, Chief Technology and Operations Officer at L’Oreal, has been a critical leader in moving the French beauty giant to ambitious sustainability goals. By 2025, 100% of L’Oreal’s packaging will be recycled, recyclable or compostable, and 50% of its plastic packaging will be recycled or bio-sourced. Lavernos joined L’Oreal in 1991 and recently has led several initiatives to improve water management, lessen the company’s carbon impact and work to tackle deforestation.

Starbucks’ Hans Melotte

Starbucks President of Global Channel Development Hans Melotte was CIPS’ 2010 Procurement Leader of the Year. Until recently, he was responsible for Starbucks’ end-to-end supply chain. He now leads the company’s Global Channel Development, which includes all consumer packaged goods, at-home coffee, and ready-to-drink products—proving that procurement professionals have the strategic wherewithal and business acumen to help lead their companies and make C-suite decisions.

Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Tony Milikin

Tony Milikin is Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer, tasked with guiding the company towards its 2025 sustainability goals. Within the next five years, AB InBev plans to source all its electricity from renewable sources and produce all its packaging from materials made mostly from recycled content. The global beverage giant has already reduced water consumption across all its U.S. breweries by nearly 50% over the last ten years. Milikin was a key architect of AB InBev’s Accelerator 100+ program—a supplier partnership aimed at delivering improvements in farmer productivity, green logistics, responsible sourcing, water stewardship, and more.

Mars’ Barry Parkin

Barry Parkin, Chief Procurement and Sustainability Officer at Mars, made the inaugural Champions of Change list for his tireless efforts to move the confectionary leader to a more sustainable supply chain. Top of mind for Parkin is to help the company’s suppliers develop sustainable agriculture projects that improve incomes for small farmers while also tackling food security and restoring ecosystems.

So, what did it take to be on CIPS’ first-ever sustainable procurement leaders list? It wasn’t just a proven commitment to making their supply chains more sustainable. These five champions of change have shown an abundance of creativity in working with their partners to make tangible improvements to the procurement process. But most of all, they’ve demonstrated a conviction that procurement professionals have a role in not just making their organizations better, but also improving society and the wider world.

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