Inside BSR's new procurement center

Inside BSR's new procurement center

Companies balancing sustainable sourcing considerations with quality, cost and delivery requirements can have a hard time making procurement decisions without the guide of historical data.

A new resource center funded by hospitality giant Hilton Worldwide and managed by green business consulting organization BSR aims to take the guesswork out of those decisions – and to keep sustainability from being an afterthought.

Billed as a working resource for procurement professionals, the center plans to offer best practice case studies from a range of industries, along with internal education and consulting resources for businesses seeking to make sustainability a core consideration for procurement, said Eric Olson, senior vice president of advisory services at BSR.

"By collaborating with other companies working in this space, procurement professionals will be able to benefit from individual lessons and make progress faster," William Kornegay, Hilton’s senior vice president of supply chain, wrote in a blog announcing the company’s motivation for the center.

The center isn't seeking to recreate the work already completed by organizations such as the Sustainability Consortium, Olson said.

Rather, it plans to showcase real-world examples of how to apply many of those principles on a daily basis, starting with more than two years’ worth of data collected by Hilton.

Hilton has been using a proprietary system called LightStay to collect information about more than 100 different measures that affect the lifecycle of products such as manufacturing processes, packaging details and end-of-life disposal or reuse considerations.

The company has data on more than 1,700 different SKUs required for running a hospitality company -- everything from food and beverages to mattresses and furniture, Kornegay said.

Photo of SKU scanner from Vartanov Anatoly via Shutterstock

The first order of business for the new center is to publish initial white papers and best-practice information in one to two months, Olson said.

Next, it plans to publish its first case study -- based on assessments of how products perform at test companies -- early next year. 

"We are building the cases around specific challenges for procurement professionals that need to be overcome," Olson said. "We need to integrate the considerations for sustainability into core performance indicators."

While only participating BSR members will be able to have access to detailed case studies, general information will be available for public consumption.

"Any company that buys things should be able to benefit," Olson said.