44 GOVERNANCE | LEGAL SECTOR SUSTAINABILITY INSIGHT 2016 SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT A significant portion of an organisation’s sustainability impact is often hidden in their supply chain, or the goods and services that are the inputs to its business. The sustainability aspects of these supply chain inputs are sometimes obvious and relatively simple to record, for example electricity or paper use, but in other cases these impacts are much less transparent; for example illegal or unfair labour practices or the impacts of raw materials extraction. We consider that expanding the scope of the impacts provides a more complete view of the true sustainability of an organisation. It also allows purchasing decisions to be made which reduce these impacts and sends signals to suppliers that drive changes in practice. A sustainable supply chain management program involves setting standards for procurement and then actively seeking information from new and existing suppliers to assure that these standards are met. This may include considering alternative products such as changing to renewable electricity from coal fired generation or selecting organic fair-trade coffee, paper from non-native forests and cleaning products which are not tested on animals. In Australia sustainable procurement is partly facilitated by a series of standards and certifications in many product categories. Generally, these certifications are established and administered by self-governing industry groups or NGOs with representatives from a range of stakeholder groups. Many of these started as environmental certifications but have expanded to include other social and governance issues that also impact on the sustainability of their products. This role is being expanded by the emergence and improvement of a range of certifications and products. There are hundreds of Eco style certifications in Australia most of which are listed here. Examples that are relevant to law firms include • Forest Products certifications (paper) • Renewable energy certification (electricity) • Carbon offsets certifications (greenhouse mitigation) • Food and drink certifications (catering and client floor services) • Energy efficiency certifications (fleet, ICT equipment office fitouts) Information on sustainable procurement is also becoming more widely available, with the emergence of a range of resources and tools being compiled by NGOs and business. One example is Supply Nation, a government endorsed program providing information and a directory to assist organisations to locate indigenous service providers. FORMAL PROGRAM STANDARDS APPLY TO 42% 44% 15% Yes No Not Reported 7% 93% New suppliers only New & existing suppliers