40% of procurement leaders ignoring sustainability, study reveals

Sedex survey also finds that 37% are unaware of legislation that impacts them

Subscriber: Log Out

Supply chains are facing new pressures to reduce costs, and that tugs at the heart of the procurement operation. At the same time, both consumers and governments are ramping up efforts to adopt sustainability as a core value in businesses.

Yet, a new survey finds that not only is a significant portion of procurement leaders ignoring sustainability efforts, but many are also not even aware there are regulations around sustainability practices.

Sedex, a sustainability software provider, surveyed over 250 senior procurement leaders at North American companies (not Sedex customers) at the end of 2023 and found that 40% are ignoring sustainability in their procurement operations, and 37% said they are unaware of sustainability-related legislation that impacts their businesses.

“These findings are a wake-up call for any business that is serious about its social and environmental performance,” Maurizio Capuzzo, chief marketing officer at Sedex, said in a statement. “Sedex’s research underscores the urgent need for executive teams to realign ESG commitments and operational goals, to truly embed sustainable practices in their organizations.”

The findings come as other recent research, including a report from The Hackett Group. That report, the  2024 Procurement Key Issues, found that cost reduction is now the top priority for procurement professionals, topping 2023’s number-one item, supply continuity. The survey backed up research from Boston Consulting Group that found 65% of executives are prioritizing supply chain and manufacturing costs as the biggest levers for organizations to pull for cost savings

As companies seek to reduce costs, and increasingly target the supply chain and procurement functions, it may not be a surprise that so many organizations are not considering sustainability when making procurement decisions. The Sedex survey found that 50% “acknowledged that sustainability remains an afterthought, or isn’t considered at all, for business decisions generally.” This, despite the number of public proclamations by companies, 90% of who are in the Russell 1000 that produce annual ESG reports.

Sedex noted that the survey results “highlight the gulf between company commitments and the day-to-day realities of business operations.”

The survey also found that 34% of respondents didn’t recognize any benefits to sustainable practices when measured against short-term procurement goals such as supply continuity and competitive pricing.

Even more concerning, though, is the number of respondents (63%) that believe meeting sustainability targets affects them directly by impacting performance evaluations or compensation.

Capuzzo, though, believes companies need to embrace sustainability initiatives.

“In doing so, companies can unlock powerful tangible and intangible benefits, including supply chain management efficiencies, more effective ESG risk management and an enhanced reputation that supports long-term, sustainable success,” he said.


Many procurement professionals are ignoring sustainability initiatives as they battle pressure to control spend. Even more concerning is that 37% in a Sedex survey were unaware of legislation that impacts them.
(Photo: Getty Images
Many procurement professionals are ignoring sustainability initiatives as they battle pressure to control spend. Even more concerning is that 37% in a Sedex survey were unaware of legislation that impacts them.
What's Related in Procurement
2024 GEP Procurement & Supply Chain Tech Trends Report
Boost Supply Chain Resilience with Latest Tech Trends from 2024 GEP Procurement & Supply Chain Report - Download Now!

About the Author

Brian Straight, SCMR Editor in Chief
Brian Straight's Bio Photo

Brian Straight is the Editor in Chief of Supply Chain Management Review. He has covered trucking, logistics and the broader supply chain for more than 15 years. He lives in Connecticut with his wife and two children. He can be reached at [email protected], @TruckingTalk, on LinkedIn, or by phone at 774-440-3870.

View Brian's author profile.


Supply Chain Management Review delivers the best industry content.
Subscribe today and get full access to all of Supply Chain Management Review’s exclusive content, email newsletters, premium resources and in-depth, comprehensive feature articles written by the industry's top experts on the subjects that matter most to supply chain professionals.



Sourcing & Procurement

Inventory Management Risk Management Global Trade Ports & Shipping

Business Management

Supply Chain TMS WMS 3PL Government & Regulation Sustainability Finance

Software & Technology

Artificial Intelligence Automation Cloud IoT Robotics Software

The Academy

Executive Education Associations Institutions Universities & Colleges


Podcasts Webcasts Companies Visionaries White Papers Special Reports Premiums Magazine Archive


SCMR Magazine Newsletters Magazine Archives Customer Service

Press Releases

Press Releases Submit Press Release