Julia Jackson

A new Smart Procurement Assessment Tool developed by New Zealand’s Sustainable Business Network will help major firms use their purchasing power to have a positive impact across the entire business community, according to Julia Jackson, SBN’s transformation lead for community.

The tool, which was developed with input from bodies including Auckland City Council, Wellington City Council, AUT University, Westpac, NZ Post, Fulton Hogan, Fuji Xerox NZ, Ricoh NZ, Opus International, Toyota, Victoria University Wellington, has now been put out for testing.

“We thought the best way to test it was put it out so people can use it,” Ms Jackson said.

Fuji Xerox will commence using it next month to assess elements of its supply chain, she said. Australian insurance firm IAG is already using it with some of its suppliers.

“Our aim is to work with the big firms,” Ms Jackson said, “because they have the purchasing power to really make an impact.”

The tool features a series of questions across four focus areas – overall sustainability strategy and governance; environmental practice; social practices; and supply chain management. Existing or potential suppliers are scored for each question.

The answers also provide a starting point for discussions on how performance in low scoring areas can be improved. Ms Jackson said the goal is for organisations to have a motivation to “justify and explain” those areas.

In turn, companies can get a picture of their overall supply chain and where the weak links are in terms of sustainability.

In addition to the questions, the tool contains information and links to help educate suppliers on matters including calculating carbon emissions, developing appropriate policies and key performance indicators, applicable certifications, standards and case studies of how firms have successfully transitioned part or all of their operations to be more sustainable.

Ms Jackson said that while many companies were looking at the tool in terms of their existing supply chain, it could also be useful for suppliers looking to tender on Green Star or HomeStar projects by giving those firms a clear analysis of their processes and operations.

Over the next few months of the testing phase, SBN will gather feedback from users. Ms Jackson said the final version of the tool will then be available around the middle of the year.