Project Management

7 Summer Sustainability Suggestions for Supplier Management

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A blog that looks at all aspects of project and program finances from budgets, estimating and accounting to getting a pay rise and managing contracts. Written by Elizabeth Harrin from GirlsGuideToPM.com.

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Here in the UK we’re well into the summer now. It’s hot enough for me to be grateful for the air conditioning unit that was fitted in my garden office a few years back. But air con isn’t exactly the most sustainable of gadgets given the energy that it uses to keep my space cool.

I’ve been thinking of how our projects can be more sustainable through the way we deliver them. Here are 7 suggestions for how we can build sustainable practices into project management through working with suppliers.

  1. Delivery methods

How does the supplier’s product get to you? Consider prioritising suppliers who have low-pollution delivery options.

  1. Packaging

How much plastic is involved in packaging goods? Talk to your vendors about how they ship materials. They might be investing in smart packaging options or using more cardboard to wrap goods.

  1. Sustainable materials

This is quite a simple one: ask vendors how they choose what materials go into their products. This is important for equipment that uses minerals or other materials that have a limited supply. They may be investing in changing up what they use so their products have a lower environmental impact

  1. Manufacturing environment

Find out where the vendor is manufacturing their goods. Many of the manufacturers I work with are investing in their production line and factories to introduce things like motion activated low energy lighting, low water options or recycling waste water, paper recycling and more on their journey to carbon zero. 

  1. Staff engagement

One of the vendors I am working with at the moment puts a lot of effort into engaging staff in environmental awareness, and you may find your vendors do the same. For example, they have recycling on site for staff to bring their personal home recycling, they do awareness weeks and promotions for staff and more.

  1. Training delivery

If your team needs to be trained on how to use the equipment you are buying, consider how that training will be delivered. There is probably a lower carbon footprint for online training delivery than having a trainer fly to your location and deliver in-person training. Consider what your options are and work with your supplier to come up with something that meets your needs.

  1. Compliance

There are several schemes applicable to vendors nationally and internationally, for example in the use of conflict-free minerals. Check out what schemes are relevant to your purchasing and whether your vendors are taking part.

Plenty has been written on this subject already, and I’ve only touched on each of these areas. Hopefully you’ve already got some sustainability approaches baked into the way you consider, select and deliver projects, and have a focus on sustainability in your procurement plans. If you need some ideas, check out PMI’s ESG report. What are your top tips in this area? Let me know in the comments!

Posted on: August 02, 2022 07:00 AM | Permalink

Comments (1)

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Thank you very much fir this timely reminder if the importance of the environmental concerns in our supply chain considerations

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