Leaders 'failing staff on sustainable sourcing' - Amazon
Employees lack clarity on what constitutes sustainable sourcing, research from Amazon Business reveals.
Research results from across Europe show that employees of all ages want their organisation to buy more-sustainable products, but are unclear on how to take action.
Nearly half (47%) of employees want sustainable purchasing to be a key focus in the workplace, yet fewer than one third (29%) actually consider sustainability when themselves purchasing products.
Amazon Business is a professional procurement solution that can be embedded within in-house procurement solutions, to allow customers to choose from millions of products and manage purchase orders and VAT invoices.
Employees in dark over sustainable sourcing guidelines
The company surveyed 5,000 UK, French, German, Italian, and Spanish enterprise employees from a range of industries, including the public sector, education, automotive, retail, and financial services, on whether they are able to make sustainable buying decisions while at work.
The findings suggest the disparity between employee intentions and action around sustainable sourcing could be explained by the fact that just 30% of respondents say they know what their company’s guidelines for socially responsible buying actually involve.
Of greater concern, 70% of employees don’t know what socially responsible purchasing guidelines exist in their workplace.
The research also casts doubt on the received wisdom younger generations are more environmentally conscious than older generations, with those over 55 more likely to consider sustainability when making purchasing decisions (31%), compared to the 18-34 age group (26%).
The study also revealed senior leaders are most likely to factor sustainability into buying decisions (79%), while junior colleagues feel disempowered to do the same.
Green sourcing policies 'being badly communicated'
Amazon Business says it is this finding in particular that suggests a hierarchical failure to communicate sustainable-purchasing guidelines.
Asked what would empower them to support more-sustainable purchasing practices at both work and home, 24% said ‘strong company guidelines around socially responsible purchases’.
A quarter (26%) of respondents say improved technology would remove some of the obstacles around not only finding more-sustainable products, but also knowing how sustainable these products actually are.
Amazon Business UK&I General Manager Fabricio Pedroza said: “It’s clear that procurement is a crucial part of many organisations' path to being more socially responsible, so it’s encouraging to see a genuine desire from workers, of all ages and levels in the organisation, to purchase more-sustainably.
“But leadership teams need to look closely at how they can empower their workforces to translate intention into action. From digitalising processes and tools, through to enhanced communication and training on objectives and policies, socially responsible purchasing can be quickly and easily improved.
“Just a few small steps will transform organisational efforts, empowering everyone to make a difference to sustainability, right across the business.”