Key Considerations for Green Procurement Practices

Written by Serene Ke Quanling, DPSM

by Serene Ke Quanling, DPSM

Having green procurement in place in the food and beverage industry will positively impact the environment as well as human health. Waste that are not well managed will resort to dumping and open burning. Hence, everyone should adopt green procurement practices to curb further waste growth.As the rise in demand for food and beverage goods continues to increase over time, sustainability and environmental consciousness should be adopted by the food and beverage industry via their production lines in order to minimise the effects of further demands.

Understanding the Supply Chain

It is essential to start off with a comprehensive overview for each action plan. With a clear sight on how a proper supply chain functions, and real-time data, one will be able to address the inefficiencies identified in the production workflow. To map out a green strategy, one has to grasp a better understanding of the entire supply chain first. Then, it is easier for one to evaluate the production from the beginning to the end. Here are some key areas in the supply chain that one should pay attention to:

  • The suppliers
  • Raw resources
  • Packaging
  • Carbon emissions
  • Use of non-renewable resources
  • Water usage

Next, conduct a risk assessment to help to identify potential hazards and evaluate significant risk levels and set up any risk control measures if required. This is to ensure sustainability and encourage green initiatives.

Improving Supply Chain Efficiency

In order maintain competitive and encourage green procurement in the food and beverage industry, one does not only need to boost productivity and production time, but also ensure that the usage in your production line as well as supply chain is eco-friendly. An increase in efficiency in operation can lead to reduction of harmful emissions, fossil fuel usage and increase in water conservation.

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Not to mention, more flexible and adaptable functionalities as solutions and equipment can be seen in the food and beverages industry. We also witness food services using robots nowadays. Here are two examples of robotic applications in food and beverage industry:

  • Sally is a robot that specializes in making salads. Sally has the capacity to deliver up to 1,000 different types of salad in 60 seconds.
  • California’s Miso Robotics uses artificial intelligence to help with grilling, frying, food preparation and plating. The software integrates with sensors and cameras for visibility to “see” the food and to handle functions like temperature control.

Availability of Green Products

Availability of green products in the food and beverage industry is also one of the challenges that many food and beverage business owners face as availability is one of the deciding factors for consumers to decide whether to buy green products or not. Consumers who find difficulty in locating the availability of green products will hinder them from going green.

However, many consumers are still not informed or aware about green products and the advantages of purchasing them, despite having extensive media coverage. Limited green products serve as a barrier for those who are motivated to purchase green products. Consumers are more likely to consume green products if they are well informed on the designated channels of the availability of green products.

Having said that, stocking up and making green products available are greatly encouraged across all businesses. Demand is a major driving factor in this case as high demand for green products will call for increase in supply. The availability of vast range of green products will not only draw consumers’ attention but also create significant purchasing intention for green products. According to the law of supply and demand, highly demanded products will lead to lower prices. Low prices will not only drive in great number of consumers but also allow businesses to profit more and encourage green procurement practices. Therefore, making green products widely available and easily accessible which allow consumers to spend less effort to seek for green products will get consumers to participate and adopt a habit in green procurement practices.

Consumer’s Purchasing Habit

One can put in effort to promote green products via promotions, advertising, digital marketing or any form of marketing strategies available out there and yield little or no results in the food and beverage industry. Many consumers are too busy to have the time to weigh and consider new products over the existing products that they are currently using as majority of us make our purchasing decisions instinctively.

Habits are often triggered by cues that switch your brain into an automatic mode. In order to switch from one habit to another, there must be a reward in it for one to switch. Consumers do not change their purchasing habits overnight and it takes time to get consumers to change their purchasing habits. To get consumers change their purchasing habits, they have to be convinced to buy in the first place. This simply means when consumers look at the green products, and there should be positive associations being built in their minds that will drive them to buy green products.

It is important to think from a consumer perspective when we are promoting green products or green procurement practices. We need to discover the subconscious barriers and drivers that can switch consumers’ purchasing habits no matter where they belong to. We shouldn’t think how consumers are different but rather think how consumers are alike. Other than promoting green products, we need to trigger positive associations connected to green procurement practices in consumers’ mind. When consumers respond positively and generate great perceptions towards green procurement practices, they are more likely to change their purchasing habits to better options available to them. Note that, a combination of going green and being both socially and ethically responsible is highly encouraged to have a positive impact to the environment.

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Diagram created by Serene Ke Quanling (2020)

Conclusion

In summary, it is vital to adopt green procurement practices as consuming and practicing green are necessary for both greening the market and improving our quality of life. Our everyday decisions will make great impact on the planet as well as for ourselves. Hence, it is our responsibility to put our knowledge on green procurement practices into practice and consume green products to create an eco-friendly environment and a better place for everyone to live in. Green procurement doesn’t happen overnight, it is something that we need to practice on a daily basis and turn it into a habit over time. First, we need to change our mind, our habits, the way we consume, the way we practice on a daily basis and be the change that we wished to see in this world. Every act of kindness, be it big or small, is never ever wasted.


References

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Forbes. (2020). “How and Why Does Consumer Behaviour Change?”. Retrieved from https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2018/09/06/how-and-why-does-consumer-behavior-change/#862613886dd5, accessed 11/03/2020.

Internet Retailing. (2020). “How Changing Customer Behaviour Is Affecting Shopping Habits”. Retrieved from https://internetretailing.net/customer/customer/how-changing-customer-behaviour-is-affecting-shopping-habits-16014, accessed 11/03/2020.

Ivy Ng LianLeck, ADPSM. (2019). “New Technologies for The Food & Beverage Industry”. Retrieved from https://sipmm.edu.sg/new-technologies-food-beverage-industry, accessed 11/03/2020.

Lee Shui Cha Sylvia, GDPM. (2018). “Key Success Factors for An Effective Procurement or Purchasing Process”. Retrieved from SIPMM: https://sipmm.edu.sg/key-success-factors-for-an-effective-procurement-or-purchasing-process, accessed 11/03/2020.

Lisd.org. (2020). “Green Procurement”. Retrieved from https://www.iisd.org/business/tools/bt_green_pro.aspx, accessed 11/03/2020.

Projects, U. (2020). “Key Considerations for Sustainable Procurement”. Retrieved from https://usefulprojects.co.uk/key-considerations-for-sustainable-procurement, accessed 11/03/2020.

Spend Edge. (2020). “Best Green Procurement Practices”. Retrieved from https://www.spendedge.com/blogs/green-procurement-practices-challenges, accessed 11/03/2020.

Stopwaste.org. (2020). “Green Purchasing Benefits”. Retrieved from http://www.stopwaste.org/at-work/green-purchasing/green-purchasing-benefits, accessed 11/03/2020.

About the Author Serene Ke Quanling has substantive years of experience as a procurement professional specifically in the food and beverage industry. She is a member of the Singapore Institute of Purchasing and Materials Management (SIPMM). She completed the Diploma in Procurement and Supply Management (DPSM) on March 2020 at SIPMM Institute.

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