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Learn how to drive supply chain and procurement sustainability with these 14 training resources

Develop and implement strategies for embedding sustainability into your supply chain and procurement practices with these 14 training options.

A green ball with an LCA icon surrounded by wooden sustainability icons

Source: Shutterstock/chayanuphol

Editor’s note: This is part of a series on closing the sustainability skills gap with the resources we have available right now. Read the previous articles in this series, which cover training on climate literacy, scaling corporate climate literacy, corporate sustainability strategy, measuring and managing GHG emissions, climate and net-zero strategy, regenerative agriculture, circular economy, professional certifications, creating a sustainability upskilling strategy for your company and free training.

The supply chain is an area of incredible opportunity for improving the sustainability performance of most organizations. According to CDP, on average, an organization’s supply chain emissions are 11.4 times higher than its operational emissions, but Scope 3 targets make up only 15 percent of all new corporate emissions reductions goals. If we are serious about reducing overall emissions, we need to make decarbonizing global supply chains a much higher priority; fortunately, the 14 training offerings below are designed to help you learn how to develop and implement strategies for doing exactly that. 

Two things to consider before you dive into this list:

  1. The programs listed here primarily address environmental concerns such as emissions reductions and resiliency, but supply chains are also a significant source of human rights violations and other social sustainability challenges. Several courses specifically address topics such as eliminating forced labor, fair labor practices, worker welfare and community engagement; so be sure that any training you pursue covers all of the aspects of supply chain sustainability that are important to you and your organization.
  2. Supply chain and procurement are generally considered to be distinct disciplines; however, many of the organizations below use the terms "supply chain," "procurement" and "purchasing" interchangeably, so you’ll need to read each course description carefully to determine if the course will meet your personal needs. 

As is often the case with these types of lists, I’m sure I've missed some. If your favorite offering isn’t included here, I warmly invite you to join the conversation on LinkedIn to tell me and your fellow readers about it. Thanks in advance for your help with bringing these resources out into the open so that more people can get to work on advancing sustainable business practices. 

On-demand training

These on-demand courses are organized by price, starting with the most affordable options.

Embedding Sustainable Procurement from The Supply Chain Sustainability School

While the primary intended audience for the Supply Chain Sustainability School is professionals within the built environment industry and related supply chains, most of the course content delivered in topics such as sustainable procurement, sustainability strategy and energy and carbon is directly applicable to other industries. For example, the Embedding Sustainable Procurement course offers a great overview of ISO 20400, the international standard for sustainable procurement, which would be helpful to professionals in any industry. ISO 20400 guidance encompasses environmental considerations such as product life cycles, resource efficiency, pollution prevention, and climate change mitigation and adaptation, and social considerations such as respect for human rights, fair business practices, worker well-being and community engagement and development.

  • Cost: Free
  • Time to complete: 60 minutes
  • Training format: On-demand e-learning
  • Key topics covered: What sustainable procurement is; how sustainable procurement benefits businesses; an overview of ISO 20400
Sustainable Supply Chain Management from MITx

This course is taught by the professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is designed to teach learners how to transform their organization’s climate pledges into actionable strategies through better supply chain management. While the live online course is not currently running, the course materials are available to access and watch for free on edX. 

  • Cost: Free
  • Time to complete: 10 weeks, 8 to 12 hours per week
  • Training format: On-demand videos, reading, exercises
  • Key topics covered: Estimating the carbon footprint and identifying hot spots in the supply chain; accounting for environmental estimations in supply chain and logistics decisions; balancing sustainability strategies with business performance metrics; designing a circular supply chain for your company; leveraging consumers' preferences and demands into sustainable supply chain strategies
Introduction to Supply Chain Sustainability from the UnSchool of Disruptive Design

This course from the circular economy experts at the UnSchool teaches learners to bring a systems mindset to reducing the ethical and environmental impacts of an organization’s supply chain. This is one of many offerings from the UnSchool at the intersection of sustainability, design and the circular economy.

  • Cost: $25
  • Time to complete: 5 to 7 hours
  • Training format: On-demand videos, reading
  • Key topics covered: Managing supply chain impacts; supply chain mapping; product life cycle assessment & certification
Sustainable Supply Chains Pathway from Sustainability Unlocked

This pathway is designed for individuals interested in understanding the complexities of sustainable supply chains and the importance of promoting sustainability within them. These videos are part of a collection of 1,000-plus modules on the Sustainability Unlocked learning platform, which covers a wide variety of corporate sustainability topics.

  • Cost: Free with 30-day trial or included with paid subscription to Sustainability Unlocked, $150/year
  • Time to complete: 54 minutes
  • Training format: On-demand videos, optional test
  • Key topics covered: Introduction to sustainable supply chains; the challenges for supply chains; global initiatives to enhance supply chain sustainability; sustainable supply chains best practice
Sustainable Procurement for Professionals from the Sustainable Procurement Institute

This course is designed to teach purchasing professionals how to lead procurement initiatives that further major organizational strategic goals relating to sustainability. The Sustainable Procurement Institute also offers a shorter course, Sustainable Procurement Essentials, that teaches these concepts at a higher level for busy contract management, project management and functional managers who are supporting these initiatives.

  • Cost: $405
  • Time to complete: 11 hours
  • Training format: On-demand videos, optional test
  • Key topics covered: How to justify, plan and implement a sustainable procurement program; how to grow your program over time; how to structure your organization and purchasing documents for financial, environmental and social responsibility; working with suppliers and performance measurement; software tools for productivity; evaluating and mitigating risk in the supply chain
Online Diploma on Sustainable Supply Chain Management from the Sustainability Academy

This online diploma program enables professionals to start a sustainable supply chain strategy, comply with key ESG ratings and reporting standards requirements, support transparency in their supply chains and understand important topics such as the circular economy and sustainable packaging. This is one of almost a dozen offerings in ESG and sustainability training from the Sustainability Academy

  • Cost: $590
  • Time to complete: 20 hours
  • Training format: On-demand videos, final quiz
  • Key topics covered: Sustainable supply chain strategy; tools and frameworks including the CSRD, SEC, ISO 20400 and EcoVadis; transparency and corporate sustainability reporting; fostering circularity; Net Zero and Scope 3 emissions
Sustainable Procurement Course from Procurement Tactics

This course is designed to help procurement and sourcing professionals in transitioning their portfolio and business toward sustainability while maintaining high profitability. The four modules provide a step-by-step action plan for the development of a personalized sustainable procurement strategy. 

  • Cost: $875
  • Time to complete: 32 to 40 hours
  • Training format: On-demand e-learning, reading, templates
  • Key topics covered: Policies and strategies including supply chain analysis and risk assessments; procurement governance, human rights, labor practices, the environment, consumer issues and community involvement; building a sustainable procurement strategy including integrating sustainability in specifications and identifying and assessing suppliers
Certified Sustainable Supply Chain Professional from the International Supply Chain Education Alliance

This program comprises three courses designed to prepare students for successful completion of the Certified Sustainable Supply Chain Professional (CSSCP) exam. Students learn how to add sustainable practices to existing supply chains or develop strategies for rebuilding current supply chains with sustainability in mind. You can take all three courses and the exam as a single training experience through the ISCEA site, or you can audit one or more of the individual courses on edX for free. This is one of many supply chain-related offerings from the ISCEA

  • Cost: $1,600
  • Time to complete: 28 hours 
  • Training format: On-demand videos, reading, certification exam
  • Key topics covered: Sustainable supply chains and circularity; sustainable supply chain planning, sourcing and procurement; sustainable supply chain operations and technology
Integrating Corporate Citizenship Through Your Supply Chain from the Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship

This course is an elective within the Certificate in Corporate Citizenship Practice and was designed to help corporate citizenship professionals develop or refresh their company’s corporate social responsibility strategy. Participants learn how to connect with partners throughout the value chain to increase participation in voluntary and reporting programs and improve environmental impacts. 

  • Cost: $1,710 for members, $2,050 for nonmembers
  • Time to complete: 12 to 15 hours
  • Training format: On-demand videos, exercises
  • Key topics covered: Environmental, social and economic risks and opportunities throughout the supply chain; evaluating supply partners using materiality assessments, risk evaluation and incentives; tools for determining scope, encouraging transparency and demonstrating accountability; service vs. product-based supply chains; creating programs that allow the capture of key metrics; the role of third-party certifications

Live online training

These courses include live lectures, workshops or assignments that have specific due dates, adding a time-sensitive element to the learning experience. They are arranged in order of their start dates.

Building Sustainable Supply Chains Workshop from the Association for Supply Chain Management 

This workshop teaches enrollees how to interpret and apply the ASCM Supply Chain Sustainability Standards, which cover ethical considerations such as anti-corruption, antitrust, codes of conduct, confidentiality, human rights and labor practices and environmental considerations such as circular economy, climate strategy, energy, water, waste, and product life cycle stewardship. This is part of ASCM’s larger training catalog that includes programs such as the Supply Chain Resilience Certificate, which also incorporates sustainability principles. Workshops are available online or in-person in cities around the world. 

  • Next start date: Started April 1
  • Cost: $1,997
  • Time to complete: 3 weeks, 8 hours per week
  • Training format: Live online classes or in-person classes
  • Key topics covered: Regulations and governance for supply chain disclosures; how to apply the ASCM Enterprise Standards for Sustainability; identifying gaps for supply chain continuous improvement; avoiding greenwashing
PECB Certified ISO 20400 Lead Manager from Abilene Academy

This course teaches professionals how to integrate the sustainable procurement guidelines of ISO 20400 at their organization and prepares them for successful completion of the PECB Certified Lead Sustainable Procurement Manager exam, one of several certifications from PECB related to ISO sustainability standards

  • Next start date: April 22
  • Cost: $3,750
  • Time to complete: 5 days
  • Training format: Live online classes, exercises, certification exam
  • Key topics covered: Introduction to ISO 20400; understanding the relationship between ISO 20400, ISO 26000 and ISO 14001; planning and integrating sustainability into the procurement process; contract management, measurement and continual improvement
Sustainable Supply Chain Management from the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership

This logistics-focused course uses creative business models, integrated supply chain analytics, key performance indicator (KPI) formulations and the latest technology to teach students how to enact meaningful changes in their organizations. 

  • Next start date: May 1
  • Cost: $2,987
  • Time to complete: 8 weeks, 6 to 10 hours per week 
  • Training format: On-demand videos, assignments, live online tutoring available
  • Key topics covered: Essentials of supply chain management; designing efficient, resilient supply chain; supply chain analytics; innovation and supply chain technology; supply chain collaboration and partnerships; rewiring your supply chain
Supply Chain Decarbonization from Terra.do

This course teaches learners how to make supply chains climate-resilient, implement sustainable procurement practices and engage cooperatively with stakeholders. The four weekly assignments culminate in a climate action roadmap for an example company’s supply chain. 

  • Next start date: Sept. 10
  • Cost: $399
  • Time to complete: 4 weeks, 1.5 hours per week
  • Training format: Live online classes, assignments
  • Key topics covered: Stakeholder mapping and engagement; risk and climate impact assessment for supply chains; sustainable procurement guidelines; climate action roadmaps
Climate Foundations from the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council

This comprehensive virtual training and coaching program is designed to equip procurement, supply chain and sustainability professionals with the knowledge, tools and strategic approach they need to develop and reach meaningful greenhouse gas (GHG) reduction goals. The coaching work supports participants in prioritizing and strategizing action on highly relevant categories and suppliers and culminates in the completion of a Strategic Climate Plan and Supplier Engagement Plan for your organization. While the next full version of the signature course won’t start again until February, a compact edition will be available Oct. 2. 

  • Next start date:
    • Oct. 2 for the compact edition
    • February for the full course
  • Cost: Varies by organization and membership status
    • $575 to $1,200 for the compact edition
    • $790 to $1,650 for the full course
  • Time to complete:
    • 2 months, 1 to 1.5 hours per week for the compact edition
    • 6 months, 1 to 1.5 hours per week for the full course
  • Training format: Live online workshops and classes; on-demand videos; peer-to-peer interaction and support
  • Key topics covered: Developing a vision, prioritized strategies and goals for your climate plan; GHG protocol-based data management and reporting; engaging suppliers; understanding and setting SBTIs; evaluating and purchasing credible offsets; low-carbon concrete; optional demos of CDP, EcoVadis, Cority – Greenstone +, Salesforce – Net Zero Cloud, Persefoni and U.S. EPA – Simplified GHG Emission Calculator

Join the conversation 

I hope this article has helped you find at least one great new resource to help you incorporate more sustainable supply chain and procurement practices. Remember, if I’ve missed one of your favorites or if you want to tell me about a resource that could be relevant to a future article, please join the conversation on LinkedIn. Until next time!

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