ISO 20400: Sustainable Procurement

What is ISO20400?

ISO 20400 is the first international guidance standard on sustainable procurement published in April 2017. It provides an understanding of what is sustainable procurement, how environmental, social and economic considerations impact the different aspects of the procurement activity - policy, strategy, organisation, process – andhow to implement sustainable procurement practically.

It is relevant to any organization regardless of sector, size and location as well as to any stakeholder involved in or impacted by procurement decisions and processes.

It does not replace legislation, policy or ethical frameworks in the areas of procurement and sustainability but provides a basis for an effective integration of environmental, social, economic concerns into the procurement activity and supply chains.

What are the benefits of ISO20400?

ISO20400 defines what ‘real’ sustainable procurement looks like. Organisations using ISO 20400 will:

  • Get a practical framework for procurement, CSR and other key functions to work together,
  • Protect their reputation by efficiently managing sustainability risks in their supply chains,
  • Get ahead of future client and regulatory requirements,
  • Take a competitive advantage in their industry by seizing opportunities to innovate, and
  • Demonstrate supply chain engagement to GRI, DJSI or other indices.

Who developed ISO20400 and how?

This was a global initiative with 52 countries contributing to the development of ISO 20400 through their respective national standards organisations and under the umbrella of the International Standards Organisation (ISO). These countries represent:

  • 65% of the world population,
  • 85% of the world GDP, and
  • 73% of the world carbon emissions.

Other major international organisations participating in the project included the UN, OECD, Global Compact Network, European Commission as well as other ISO standards (e.g. ISO 26000, ISO 31000).

Since the approval of the project in February 2013, a series of international meetings were held in France, Brasil, Singapore, the United Kingdom and Australia in order to build consensus.

Australia participated through an Australian Mirror Committee hosted by Standards Australia. Representatives of 20 organisations made up the Committee. They represent a wide variety of interests: procurement and sustainability professionals, Federal/State government, local councils, private companies, indigenous businesses, social enterprises, consumers, unions, NGOs, universities, etc.

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