Slowly but surely, supply chains and procurement practices are taking their rightful place on hospitality's sustainability agendas. For too long, the negative environmental and socio-economic impacts linked to the industry's procurement practices have remained unnoticed, overlooked and, ultimately, accepted. Whether food and beverages (F&B), furniture, fixture and equipment (FF&E), operational supply and equipment (OS&E), utilities or services, there is room for improvement in every stage and in every area. In a highly competitive market such as the hotel industry, decision are often driven by cost efficiency. As a consequence, supply chains are often oriented towards the lowest wages and cheapest materials, especially in regards to OS&E and FF&E. What are the key objectives steering procurement practices in hotels today and tomorrow? Which measures have shown great results and how can improvements be tracked? What does a sustainable supply chain management mean to you and your organisation? And, what role do guests play in supporting sustainable procurement practices?
It is exciting to see first attempts of hospitality procurement moving away from a mere risk-driven CYA approach to more holistic, impact-driven initiatives. Procurement strategies should be aligned with company sustainability strategies. Procurement can contribute to sustainability KPIs and improve the guest experience along the way.
Supplier dialogues usually show great results and longterm, trustful relationships help amplify a partners sustainability commitment. However, sourcing has to become smarter and more daring as well. Tests with new, innovative suppliers should be conducted. Certificates can give orientation, especially in complex supply chains such as textiles, paper/wood or building materials. Capacity building plays a major role to enable procurement professionals to understand suppliers, products and their impact and, ultimately, make informed decisions based on the usual criteria as well as sustainability.