As part of a cross-functional collaboration, we developed our Sustainable Supply Chain Program, which aims to identify risks and opportunities in our supply chain related to environmental sustainability. The program encompasses training on environmentally preferable purchasing for our sourcing department employees as well as employees who make the bulk of the purchasing decisions across the company. It also includes the development of a supplier assessment to gather data on top suppliers in order to assess risks or opportunities related to their own sustainability initiatives.
We have begun the process of integrating sustainable and responsible buying practices and criteria into our procurement process, and look for new tools that help purchasers evaluate, compare and select environmentally preferable products. One such example is including the use of the EPEAT (opens new window) registry to guide purchases of environmentally preferable electronics.
We work closely with specific suppliers who products or services have direct connections to our environmental sustainability initiatives. Our corporate real estate staff engages our facilities’ landlords in the development of recycling programs and methods to reduce building energy and water use. Where landlord-run environmental programs exist, we often look to expand them and where they don’t, we seek to develop them. We also work with several suppliers, such as office supply and technology vendors, to provide us with information and product options that take environmental sustainability into consideration regarding their products’ raw materials, usage, packaging and end-of-life disposal.
As part of the natural progression of these sustainability efforts, we have also engaged with various suppliers in order to better understand the environmental impacts of our business. We have developed supplier relationships around our sustainability practices that have helped us save costs and improve processes. Conversations with suppliers have encouraged engagement on new products or market practices as well as general knowledge sharing.