1.1 Developing a Sustainable Sourcing Strategy: Getting the Basics Right

The entirety of this guide is devoted to building and implementing a sustainable sourcing strategy for agricultural raw materials. However, the most fundamental piece of the jigsaw to have in place before you start, is to ensure that you have Board and Senior Management buy-in to building a relationship between your sustainable sourcing activities and the  core business strategy. In fact the best question you must ask yourself before and during the development and embedding of your strategy is: 

What would a sustainable sourcing strategy that supports your company’s core business strategy look like?

The answer is not always straightforward. Often, the business case for sustainable sourcing is neither well developed nor formulated by executives in a way that others understand it. Managers tend to concentrate more on “how” to manage the on-going challenges with which they are confronted.  And although the rest of this guide is certainly about the “how”, developing and continuously revisiting the economic logic described in this chapter will:

  • strengthen and structure your case for sustainable sourcing;
  • facilitate feedback to your senior management as you develop and implement your strategic agenda;
  • enable you to talk confidently to people in your organization about your task;
  • convince others to come on board with your strategy, effectively converting key functional executives  into “ambassadors” to support you in reaching your objectives. 

You will thus need to define – as with every strategy, the vision you have for your sustainable sourcing strategy. For example “Leading in sustainable supply” might be your vision and “Providing optimum service to our internal and external customers at best cost through cross functional cooperation” your expanded mission. Whatever you do, your vision and mission will need to be purpose built for your own organization.

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