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"The Point" is written by BMP Editor Kelly Barner as well as a diverse group of guest contributors.

Book Review: The Big Pivot

One of the best things about having good relationships with publishers is that I end up reading and reviewing titles that range beyond procurement or spend management. And yet, there is no question that the value and competitive advantage of a well-managed supply chain runs right through the center of all business strategy books.

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The benefits of doing the right thing

I had the opportunity to attend a conference where the keynote speaker was Blake Mycoskie of Toms Shoes.

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Save a tree, go electronic

We waste so much paper in our organization. Even when we are using electronic webinars, everyone seems to print out the presentation anyway. 

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You can’t steer a parked car

Disney animation movies are classic and very entertaining. They have a very long success record. The recent CARS movies have followed suit. Lighting McQueen is the main character and is certainly always moving.

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Recycling is Simple

Do you remember life before yellow sticky notes? Maybe you are too young. In one of my prior organizations, our note paper was old company newsletters that were cut into note paper blocks. You only use one side so it would not matter what was on the other side. There was nothing confidential so it was all good. It truly was scrap paper.

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How do you drink your water?

Several years ago we installed a water filter in our home. We strive to drink water over other beverages and carry reusable water bottles with us to work, the gym and on trips. We will occasionally purchase single use plastic bottles, especially for holidays and large family gatherings.

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Saving Water and Wearing Jeans

Many organizations have casual dress codes. Others have casual Fridays. The common theme is that the outfit usually includes jeans.

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Bringing Power to the World

Our discussions these past few weeks have been about sustainability and procurement. When I came across this blog about Simpa Networks by Lindsay Clinton, I realized it fit our sustainability theme. I also found that it discussed an especially creative approach to making solar energy affordable.

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Why eat locally grown food

Many people prefer to purchase locally grown food for several reasons. They are supporting local businesses and reducing their carbon footprint at the same time.

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Sustainability in Transportation

Trucks use a lot of fuel and leave a large carbon footprint. Over the years, trucks have been designed to be lighter and more efficient to reduce their fuel usage and be less expensive to operate.

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Let the sun shine

 In our area, there are several fields that have been converted into solar farms with lots of solar panels. A good friend of mine has installed a solar panel at their home and actually sells excess electricity back to the utility companies. There is so much power from the sun.

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Airports going green

How do you start a journey of a 1000 miles, - one step at a time!

I was at several airports this month and everyone is recycling. On the plane, they are separating the waste to improve the recycling opportunity. Clearly they have taken steps to do something to sustain the environment!

So how does that translate to your organization? This week’s eSourcing wiki is the first of several parts to discuss areas for going green.

IT – I know our town has certain days throughout the year to recycle IT equipment – old computers, cell phones and printers. However, the key is to think up front as your are doing the purchasing. Are they energy efficient, repairable as opposed to disposable, and highly recyclable?

This week we also discuss office supplies and office furniture as things to think about.

Has your organization conquered IT and office supplies as a way to be sustainable? Did you take a similar approach? What would you suggest? Share your thoughts by commenting below or tweeting @buyersmeetpoint

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Blog Pick of the Week: The Olympics and you

We are about to have two weeks of winter Olympic Games. This is a rare opportunity to see the world’s elite athletes compete and understand the sacrifice and work it took them to get there.

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Sustainable Sourcing

Sustainable sourcing is a common theme in procurement today. Many organizations are looking to reduce their impact on the environment and shrink their carbon footprint.

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Reduce Reuse and Recycle

We have been recycling in our house for over 20 years. It is just a habit – plastic, papers, and glass as much as possible. We cut apart the plastic rings that are around six-packs of soft drinks. We are doing what we can to preserve the environment in our own small way.

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Blog Pick of the Week: Get your Green going

I just read an article about the pending hurricane season will be one of the more severe on record.

Climate change is causing very intense weather patterns. Tornadoes, blizzards, floods and drought to an level never seen before. More than ever, now is the time to make changes. You can’t change the world but you can do something.

At home, we are a big recycling family. Some of our friends are also composting to utilize that as fertilizer in their gardens instead of chemicals. We are all working to reduce our personal carbon footprint.

In your procurement profession, going green in the sourcing process is another option. Another term for that is sustainable procurement, as described on the United Nations Global Marketplace

The article discusses why the United Nations has decided to move towards practices that encourage sustainability in the supply chain. They are sending a message to the business community to promote practices that are beneficial for the environment. Their goal is for climate neutrality so they do not have a negative impact on the environment.

This is a very helpful source as it has references for a tool kit and training for procurement associates and suppliers alike.

How is your organization working towards environmental neutrality? Have you put a green procurement process in place? What results and value have you seen from it?

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Procurement on YouTube: State of Green Business 2013: Supply Chain

In this week’s Procurement on YouTube post, we’re going to hear from GreenBiz and Trucost on sustainable supply chains. The conversation takes place between Joel Makower, Executive Editor of GreenBiz Group and Richard Mattison, CEO of Trucost. Trucost insn’t new to the supply management space. In 2011, Trucost and Rosslyn Analytics worked together to launch the first sustainable procurement app, and their partnership continues to this day. 

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Blog Pick of the Week: The Energy of Green Purchasing

Although we planned to wrap up the year’s coverage of purchasing news and events with yesterday’s webinar coverage, we had one last post come to our attention that was too interesting to pass up.

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Blog Pick of the Week: The Greening of the Olympics

The magic of the Olympics is moving into the second week in London. As we watch all the events and cheer on the athletes, it occurred to me that the Olympics is a HUGE procurement engine. There are many people to feed and services to provide in order to make this world event come off smoothly. And if done right, it can help contain costs and also keep the environment from getting crushed with waste and pollutants. We are all responsible and working increasing towards sustainable sourcing results. 

I read this article in the New York Times and it shared some interesting insights. Keeping the environment in mind has been evolving since the 1994 Games in Norway.

The largest carbon footprint is from the construction materials themselves, not the food, travel or waste. London has put together a long term vision of how to utilize the permanent structures after the Games have concluded. The remaining temporary structures were constructed carefully to be able to reuse or recycle the materials.

Of course all of this has economic and social factors to consider. And when it really comes down to it, the athletes must come first. Quality of the product or service is still a high expectation.

Have you had the opportunity to procure for a large event such as the Olympics? What factors did you need to consider for sustainability? Any tips or tricks you can share?


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Webinar Notes: Experts Share Supply Chain Sustainability Best Practices

This week’s featured webinar was hosted by Supply & Demand Chain Executive and sponsored by C.H. Robinson, a global leader in third party logistics. The speakers were from Nature’s Path Foods and the Sustainable Food Trade Organization. Twitter #ShipGreen for more information or to join the conversation.

The Sustainable Food Trade Organization shared the structure that Nature’s Path was able to leverage for their sustainable logistics program. Most members of the SFTO see both consumer demand and regulatory pressure as drivers for their sustainability programs. As with other change management efforts, companies find it difficult to get started on being more resource efficient and strategic about their sustainability.


The SFTO also recognizes the common wisdom that you can’t manage what you don’t measure. They had identified the need for appropriate metrics to help guide businesses through the implementation of sustainability programs. It took years to collect the member feedback and research required to put together a list of eleven metrics specific to the organic food industry: organic, energy, climate change, distribution, water use, packaging, waste, animal care, labor, education, governance. These metrics are used for reporting, accountability and continuous improvement, and are available on their website.


Nature’s Path is a member of the SFTO, and they used the sustainability metrics to drive cost reductions and environmental impact reductions through their third party logistics program. Key among the measurable goals of their program was to reduce waste, defined as contributions to landfills and their CO2 footprint including supplies coming into their facilities as well as consumer-ready product going out. 78% of their ingredients are sourced in North America, production takes place in Canada, Washington and Wisconsin, and their product is shipped to 42 countries. They share their annual sustainability report on their website.


Nature’s Path Sustainable Logistics Case Study

With the support of the SFTO measurement framework, Nature’s Path began working with C.H. Robinson on improving the sustainability of their logistics needs. From the beginning this was a collaborative effort between the organizations, and they co-created the program based on shared goals. Nature’s Path wanted to be involved with the direction of the process but not the details of how to make it happen because the logistics piece is not their focus.


They were able to take advantage of a number of opportunities to improve both environmental impact and also cost effectiveness by strategically locating distribution facilities as they expanded and taking advantage of intermodal optimization: blending the use of rail, ship and truck to manage both costs and emissions.


They minimized border crossings between Canada and the US to reduce miles as well as customs fees, and looked to find new eastern ingredient sources so they were sourcing where they sold – both supporting local communities and minimizing transportation costs. Another example of benefitting financially while staying true to their core values was in the handling of damaged packages. Nature’s Path and C.H. Robinson would find a way to donate them to local food banks or shelters: saving the cost of return shipping while also supporting local communities.


With the structure of metrics in place from an early point in the process, data management and therefore reporting were a high value outcome. Reporting was key to helping Nature’s Path understand their progress and successes and also to continue to grow the benefits through their customers and stakeholders. The facts allowed Nature’s Path to demonstrate to their customers how they could further reduce costs and environmental impact with their ordering procedures.



  • CO2 footprint reduced by 20%
  • Customs charges reduced by 60% (less finished goods moved across borders)
  • On time delivery over 90%
  • Reductions in transport costs through modal conversions, consolidation, fewer miles traveled
  • Shortages, damages, returns almost eliminated
  • No increase in size of the Nature’s Path internal logistics department
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