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Hilton, BSR Launch Center for Sustainable Procurement

Procurement managers for global businesses can turn to the new Center for Sustainable Procurement for research and information that will help make sense of increasingly available product sustainability data.

The three-year initiative will be fully funded by Hilton Worldwide with day-to-day management by consulting group BSR. The idea for the Center originated with the procurement and supply chain work BSR supported over a two-year period with Hilton Worldwide.

Within Hilton’s proprietary LightStay platform, the company developed an analysis and comparison tool focused on quantifying product sustainability to help inform buying decisions. The criteria looked at nearly 100 different measures, including core lifecycle-assessment components such as inputs, manufacturing, packaging, logistics, use, and end-of-life. In total, the company collected and assessed nearly 1,700 SKUs across multiple product categories such as food and beverage, property operations, and rooms representing over US$165 million in spend.

The Center will expand on the work through:

  • Research, case studies, and surveys on topics such as incentives for category managers, key issues for buyers to consider at the product level, the efficacy of third-party labels and certification
  • Metrics analysis that focuses on integrating sustainability into existing approaches such as “total cost of ownership”
  • Educational guidelines, webinars, and web content for companies to share with internal sourcing teams
  • One-on-one and collaborative consulting projects for a small group of BSR members to examine current purchasing processes, develop solutions for integrating sustainability into decisions, and share lessons collectively

“Hotels purchase a range of products to support a great guest experience, and our work is focused on getting past product scoring and marketing labels to help our buyers quantify sustainability as part of overall product quality and cost,” said Bill Kornegay, senior vice president, Hilton Supply Management, Hilton Worldwide. “Taking mattresses as an example, costs notwithstanding, our buyers must make a decision regarding sustainability in the procurement process, which currently includes metrics for quality, services, delivery and costs. We see the Center as an incredible opportunity to help us develop robust sustainability metrics to aid the buyer in making the best decision possible.”

Having worked for two decades with companies on a range of sustainability challenges and opportunities, BSR says it views the Center as a chance to increase the scale of its work on sustainable supply chains. “Thanks to the important efforts of the Sustainability Consortium and a large number of industry and product-level programs, buyers now have access to more information on products’ sustainability attributes,” said Eric Olson, Senior Vice President, Advisory Services, BSR. “But they still lack the knowledge and guidance to use this new information alongside existing priorities like price, quality, and delivery. The Center will work to address these needs.”

Bart King is a PR consultant and principal at Cleantech Communications.

Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also Associate Editor of Sponsored Content for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_king [Read more about Bart King]

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