With the change in the codes from Enterprise to Supplier Development the Supply Department now becomes much more engaged around issues such as social sustainability.
In a recent blog by Gregory Unruh from MIT Sloan (http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/sustainability-dialects/) he discuses how sustainability thinking can be introduced to organisations through selective conversations. In doing this however sustainability practitioners need to understand what the major drivers are for the different functions in the organisation and how sustainability relates to these drivers.
When considering the drivers in the supply department sustainability practitioners need to be aware of the mindset of risk, cost and delivery that supply practitioners engage in and use terminology that compliments and aligns to this language. Sustainability practitioners need to create awareness of the impact that the Supply department has in the field of social sustainability. This is specifically true for South Africa where many large organisations are surrounded by poorer communities in which they operate.
The supply department will need to carry many of the social sustainability related messages through to the operations of the organisation and create awareness of community engagement, supplier development and social sustainability in the day to day sourcing decisions of the organisation.
The way in which you communicate your message is however just as important as the message you are communicating. If you only show concern for your KPI’s you might find yourself without an audience. Many times the impact of these conversations are stronger when discussed around the coffee counter or in the passageways than when they are communicated in the boardroom via PowerPoint.