Permanent and mounting social pressure on commercial enterprises to act more sustainably and with greater transparency is changing the nature of procurement and supply chain jobs. As well as ensuring that business-to-business (B2B) transactions drive profits and achieve cost reductions, procurement pros today also include the social improvement of people’s lives in their remit, an expert explains.

Writing in Forbesmagazine, social impact technology expert, Paul Polizzotto, notes that the most forward-looking businesses understand that they must prioritise ethical business conduct and socially and environmentally responsible projects in all their departments, with procurement being no exception. Polizzotto is an evangelist for the transformative power of B2B transactions, which he believes can improve the world by generating tangible positive impacts for communities across the planet. Procurement practitioners, whether permanent team members or supply chain or interims, can drive change throughout the entire business by integrating digitally-powered data-rooted social impact sales and sourcing practices, he says.

Citing research that shows 68% of customers are more favourably disposed to brands that adhere to the UN’s sustainable development goals, Polizzotto urges procurement pros to seize the opportunity to convert their company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) mission into a cross-departmental reality by ensuring ethical sourcing through improved supply chain visibility and prioritising vendors who share the same values.

By leveraging the offerings of data-analytics companies, he explains, procurement pros can ensure that purchasing patterns advance social impact goals and identify social impact initiatives that align with their target consumers. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) agencies can be a huge asset here, providing frameworks for pinpointing the social cause initiatives that are financially salient to a firm’s bottom line. Such ethical procurement practices assist procurement teams to deepen their customer relationships. Polizzotto writes: “By breaking down organizational silos, procurement leaders can act as an extension of their CSR teams and ensure their social and sustainability goals are consistent across all business practices.”