Ivalua: COVID-19 hindering UK sustainability initiatives

By Georgia Wilson
Ivalua research highlights that 60% of UK businesses have reduced their investment on sustainability initiatives due to COVID-19...

Ivalua - a leading provider of spend management cloud solutions - has released its most recent research on UK sustainability initiatives and the impact of COVID-19. On behalf of Ivalua, Vanson Bourne surveyed 200 UK based procurement, supply chain and finance professionals on managing sustainability initiatives and environmental concerns within the supply chain.

Within the research, Ivalua reports that 60% of UK businesses have reduced their investments in sustainability initiatives as a result of COVID-19. While 95% of UK businesses have 12 months plans in place to combat environmental concerns within the supply chain, many of these could be impacted as a result of the effect COVID-19 has had on business operations and budgets.

In addition the research highlighted the challenges for businesses implementing sustainability initiatives with 93% noting that it is challenging to gain visibility into suppliers in order to track the environmental impact of the supply chain. Further looking into suppliers, 38% of organisations believe that quality is an important factor to consider while 31% believe it is cost and 15% sustainability. However, despite a low number ranking sustainability as a top priority, 87% of UK businesses believe that having a greener supply chain can provide a competitive advantage.

“COVID-19 has forced many companies to change their priorities to focus on ‘business as usual’ and ensuring their survival, creating further barriers when it comes to implementing sustainability initiatives,” commented Alex Saric, smart procurement expert at Ivalua. 

“However, in the coming months and years, businesses must return their focus to improving sustainability and contributing to global efforts to reduce our impact on the environment. Whilst it is a barrier today, COVID-19 is also pushing leaders to rethink their approach to supply chains. In this respect, COVID-19 could be a tipping point for a sustainability revolution, and businesses that don’t take action to tackle environmental concerns could risk losing market share to greener competitors.”

Lack of digital maturity was also highlighted as a challenge for businesses looking to gain visibility into the supply chain, with 30% UK businesses reporting a lack of visibility into supplier risk, in addition to a further 28% lacking visibility into tier 2 and 3, while 20% struggle with tier 1 suppliers. 

In addition to this some businesses are also facing challenges when it comes to identifying and mitigating environmental concerns in the supply chain as a result of poor data quality (39%), prioritisation of cost (38%) and collaboration with suppliers (38%).

Ivalua details that as a result lack of visibility has made a large proportion of UK businesses unprepared to address the environmental concerns, with 81% stating that they do not have a comprehensive and fully developed plan to overcome air pollution, and 74% stating the same for carbon emissions. While 24% have no plans to address water pollution.

“Businesses need to address supplier visibility issues and make sure they are putting the right tools in place to drive environmental change internally and beyond, empowering suppliers to do the same”, concluded Saric. 

“This means taking a smarter approach to procurement that gives UK businesses a 360-degree view of their suppliers, including information on sustainability practices. This will make sure businesses can see exactly who their suppliers work with, assess environmental impact and identify opportunities to collaborate on sustainability projects in real time, ensuring sustainability remains a top priority in a post-COVID-19 world.”

To find out more about Ivalua’s sustainability report, click here!

For more information on business topics in Europe, Middle East and Africa please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief EMEA.

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