Uniting our Industry to put a Sharper Focus on Sustainable Procurement

Monday, July 26, 2021

At Nestlé, procurement decisions are made every day. We understand the impact of our choices and that’s why we want to make sure our purchasing power is used to benefit customers, communities and the planet for a better, more sustainable future. And we’re not alone in our mission. We got together with industry leaders to discuss sustainable procurement and what the future looks like for both businesses and consumers. Keep reading to discover more.

Groups of hands holding tree seedlings with title: Sustainable Procurement

The roundtable: the future of sustainable procurement

We gathered key industry players together to discuss the importance of improving public sector procurement of food and drink, as it aims to unite the industry in building a more sustainable future. 

As part of a round table discussion, Robin Sundaram, Responsible Sourcing Manager at Nestlé UK&I, outlined the need for the industry to makes lasting changes. 

Sundaram was joined by top industry professionals including Jayne Nightingale, Head of Responsible Sourcing, Supply Management, Sodexo; Sally Leigh, Strategic Purchasing & Logistics Director, Elior UK; and Kirstin Morris, NHS Supply Chain. The panel discussed the future of procurement as part of the forthcoming National Food Strategy.  

Nestlé’s Procurement for Good approach is a game changer

Our ‘Procurement for Good’ approach aims to embed diversity into our operations and make sustainability our focus every step of the way. 

Robin Sundaram, Responsible Sourcing Manager, Nestlé UK&I, said:

“The term we use at Nestlé is ‘procurement for good’ and in procurement, we’re at the forefront because we are working with suppliers and farmers from all around the world. Procurement is changing – it’s no longer good enough to just look to cost savings. Traditional CSR was all about ‘how can we do no harm’ – businesses now need to look at how they can do good."

“In procurement, there’s a huge amount we can do from both a social and an environmental perspective and it doesn’t have to cost more. We can do more, and we can create value at the same time.”  

Sustainable procurement is now more urgent than ever

Several factors have influenced the growing need for sustainable procurement, including climate change, growing populations and rapid urbanisation.

“As demand for commodities continues to increase, we need to make sure our supply chains, and the people who work within them, are protected and sustainable in order to safeguard the supply of quality raw materials on which our businesses depend,” added Sundaram.

The need for industry collaboration was highlighted throughout the discussion, with Jayne Nightingale, Head of Responsible Sourcing, Supply Management, Sodexo, saying that not only is it important to collaborate across the supply chain but also with other companies across the industry.

Meanwhile, Kirstin Morris, NHS Supply Chain, and Steve Norris, Sales Director, Nestlé Professional, both emphasised the need for sustainable procurement to be understandable within a business. Norris said this means educating employees in order to give them the tools to talk about sustainable procurement in a meaningful way. 

Nestlé is proud to join the Buy Social Corporate Challenge

The roundtable conversation about the future of procurement took place shortly after Nestlé announced it has partnered with Social Enterprise UK. Nestlé is the latest signatory to the Buy Social Corporate Challenge, the initiative which sees high-profile businesses use their everyday spending to transform lives.

Sundaram added:

“As a procurement team, we’ve identified that just by working with Social Enterprises, we can make a difference on the ground, and this has helped to change mindsets within the team.”

Going forward, we hope to foster a lasting platform for sharing best practice, discussing the biggest challenges and working collectively to overcome them. 

The roundtable was hosted by David Foad, Managing Editor, Dewberry Redpoint. 

If you’re looking for more sustainability insights, check out our article on the latest trends in food waste and sustainability in restaurants and discover the top findings from our 2021 Footprint Sustainability Index on sustainable diets.