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ISO 20400: New standard launched to support sustainable procurement

Organisations looking to integrate sustainability into procurement processes can now adopt the world's first international standard for sustainable procurement, which aims to increase supply chain transparency.

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The new ISO 20400 standard provides guidelines for organisations wanting to integrate sustainability into their procurement processes

The ISO 20400: Sustainable Procurement Standard replaces the BS 8903:2010 Principles and Framework for Procuring Sustainably. The new standard has been created with the input of experts and industry bodies from than 40 countries, including the British Standards Institution (BSI).

--- edie explains: ISO 20400 ---

ISO 20400 is applicable to any organisation, public or private, irrespective of size or location. It is most relevant for sustainability managers; supply chain managers; environment/waste managers; facilities managers; senior procurement and purchasing professionals; commercial directors and finance directors.

BSI believes the sectors most likely to benefit from implementing ISO 20400 include construction; facilities management; hospitality; catering; clothing; food; public procurement; manufacturing; timber; print and paper; and packaging.

“As the need for supply chain transparency grows, the global benefits of sustainable procurement are more evident than ever,” said BSI’s head of market development for sustainability David Fatscher. “ISO 20400 has been closely modelled on the existing British standard BS 8903, which should place UK organisations at an advantage in its early adoption.”

Key updates

ISO 20400 outlines in detail the sustainability impacts and considerations that should be incorporated across the different aspects of procurement activity. It is an update to BS 8903 in that it takes into consideration new concepts such as life-cycle analysis, due diligence, complicity and global cost.

While the standard outlines how an organisation can integrate efficient procurement steps into its existing procurement methods, it does not make recommendations for changing the procurement methods themselves.

Writing in an edie blog this week, Action Sustainability's chairman Shaun McCarthy, who led the UK delegation for the development of ISO 20400, stated: “Despite some political developments around the world, societal expectations are rising; climate change threatens our long term existence as a human race, poor air quality threatens our health, the world is running out of resources, species are becoming extinct every day, there is an expectation that people in our supply chains are not held in slavery, are not corrupt or promoting conflict.

“The procurement profession needs to raise its game like never before and procurement professionals need help."


edie explains: ISO 20400

Thinking of adopting the ISO 20400 Standard for your organisation? Download the free edie explains business guide, produced in association with edie's supporting partner Action Sustainability, for an in-depth summary of the new standard and the benefits it offers.

Download the edie explains: ISO 20400 guide here.