Author(s): Ian Harwood, Stuart Humby
Recent years have seen Corporate Responsibility (CR) developing rapidly as a key business issue. CR has increasingly come to embrace social, ethical as well as environmental and sustainability challenges. Addressing CR in the field of procurement is an especially prominent and demanding area of activity. This paper outlines the findings of a pilot study of CR within the procurement processes of nine large organisations, with a predominant focus on utilities and service providers. Cross-case analysis shows that the rate of CR developments and the focus of CR elements that are given priority vary significantly. The paper then discusses a number of key issues including terminological complexity and CR data measurement, integrity and sharing before using force-field analysis to explore some of the key issues that need to be tackled if CR is to be more effectively integrated into supply and procurement strategies. Proposals are made to reduce cynicism and inertia as well as increasing CR data coverage, staff awareness of CR and changing existing reward mechanisms with respect to risk.