Volkswagen's greener approach to procurement

By Sean Galea-Pace
In March’s magazine, we speak with Gonzalo Salem, Procurement Manager at Volkswagen Group Australia, to discuss a green approach in procurement. A gr...

In March’s magazine, we speak with Gonzalo Salem, Procurement Manager at Volkswagen Group Australia, to discuss a green approach in procurement.

A greener supply chain isn’t a new invention. With companies demonstrating an ever-increasing focus on how to be more sustainable, Salem believes the description of what is actually “green” is changing. “The natural environment is only one piece of the puzzle,” explains Salem. “Companies are now more concerned about their social, economic, and cultural impact while aligning their sustainability strategies. An example was the focus on paper recycling. A long time ago, placing recycling bins in the workplace was considered enough commitment. Companies now look broader, buying from sustainable sources and monitoring the amount of printing.”

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Salem understands the true value of sustainability, and believes that the potential of cost savings is an important element to consider as well. “Corporations develop sustainability policies where the scope goes beyond the organisation to business partners, suppliers, consumers and even competitors,” he says. “Sustainability is now considered amongst valuation criteria, and this is evidenced by companies issuing their sustainability reports annually. On top of that, this increases transparency to the public as well as the confidence of company stakeholders which contributes to growth.”

Salem believes that there are several initiatives that companies can undertake in order to align their policies, score cards and achievements to create the space to explore opportunities when they’re available. “While some companies are focused strictly on minimising their impact through resources rationalisation, others are building a wider sustainable supply chain that explores the social component as well,” explains Salem. “Procurement professionals, at the moment, are quite focused on exploring this space to find opportunities to incorporate strategic business partners that could add value to both disadvantaged communities and their emerging enterprises. Historically, corporate contributions to these communities, in most of the cases, didn’t improve their quality of life. However, the feeling of inclusion and being part of the workforce does help.”

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