The Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance today released a set of voluntary environmental standards aimed at developing and spreading best practices for utilities' suppliers.

The alliance, which is made of up electric utility industry leaders, worked with partners in government and environmental NGOs to develop the standards that offer a fairly comprehensive list of actions companies can take to improve environmental performance.

"Many utilities and suppliers are looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact but there has not been a clear framework to guide these efforts," said M. Bridget Reidy, the chairperson of the Alliance and Chief Supply Officer for Exelon. "We established these best practices to help companies assess their current performance and set tangible goals for further progress.  Utilities now have a way to engage their supply base and track progress towards environmental goals."

The standard, which is available for download from the Alliance, lists a five-step framework for moving a company from compliance to leadership (pictured below); it also offers tips on a range of business practices, from procurement to reporting and office operations to rewarding innovative employees.

The Alliance's Sustainable Supply Chain Framework. Click for full-sized image.
supply chain chart

As part of the process for developing the standard, the Alliance has also compiled a draft list of questions that companies can include in RFPs that will help gauge the environmental activities potential suppliers have already engaged. That list of questions is available for download and comment from the EUISSCA website.

The standards are voluntary, and the Alliance says it will conduct annual audits to measure how these practices affect performance.