If we view the implementation of sustainable practice as a process then a complete chain of events needs to be implemented to make an effective, measurable, and relevant contribution. The stages are summarised below:
- Coherent organisational policies and objectives that reflect sustainability objectives in meaningful and quantifiable ways.
- Mechanisms to prioritise the desired sustainability benefits of procurements by assessing sustainability, cost and operational considerations.
- An outcome based approach to sustainability that articulates the identified priorities across social, economic and environmental agendas.
- The application of meaningful and measurable indicators that both inform sustainability criteria and can also be used within the public procurement process.
- Mechanisms that can accurately monitor activity and demonstrate the impact on corporate objectives.
To generate real change all of these elements need to be in place for an organisation to be able to demonstrate how it is delivering sustainable outcomes effectively. It is a like a chain attaching a boat to the shore. If only one link is missing the boat will not move at all.