e-Procurement becomes Ethical Procurement

As the global economic slowdown becomes a grim reality, organisations of all shapes and sizes are starting to batten down the hatches to weather the storm. As revenues begin to stall and energy prices spiral upwards, cost control has rapidly returned to its number one position on the corporate agenda, placing renewed emphasis on effective procurement practices and the efficient use of IT to monitor expenditure and reduce operational running costs.
    
The energy crisis is also adding additional momentum to another major trend that is raising the profile of IT and purchasing operations: the emergence of the green and ethical business agenda.

Environmental Drivers
Since the deregulation of the UK’s utilities sector, purchasing departments have commonly played a central role in the competitive procurement of electricity, gas and water – but for many organisations these have been relatively low-profile operational costs. The record price of energy is now creating economic reasons to reduce usage and costs at exactly the same time as ambitious government targets to reduce carbon emissions and new EU directives start to take effect.
    
Hence, government organisations and businesses are now under huge pressure to act responsibly on their use of traditional energy sources and to explore alternative sources wherever possible – not only to stay within the law and fulfil new reporting requirements but also to appease increasing public awareness and scrutiny of their actions in this area.
    
When you add a raft of new waste disposal and recycling regulations to this mix, it is clear that the purchasing function will also need to extend its view of the supply chain to include the final destination of obsolete equipment and other waste materials and to procure the services necessary to dispose of these in a responsible manner.
    
As a major consumer of electricity and the primary target of the recent WEEE directive on recycling electronic equipment, IT operations are also being pushed into the public spotlight by similar factors, creating an urgent need to develop more sustainable computing practices that reduce power usage and minimise IT’s impact on the environment.

Ethical Drivers
Environmental considerations are not the only ones that now need to be built in to responsible business strategies. There is also growing public awareness of the social impact that businesses and government organisations have on both local and global communities.
    
At a local level, citizens and consumers are increasingly keen to see that local employers are actively supporting the communities they serve – whether this is by sourcing local products and using local suppliers, contributing to local charities, schools and voluntary groups or even through the adoption of ‘family-friendly’ working policies.
    
Perhaps more significantly, they are also starting to recognise (and care about) the direct impact of our consumer-oriented lifestyle on the citizens of developing countries, when the pressure for rock-bottom manufacturing costs in the West often creates working conditions that are both unethical in human rights terms and unsustainable in the long-term.
    
Panorama’s recent exposé of child labour being used to manufacture garments for Primark in India clearly illustrates the potentially destructive effect of making poor purchasing decisions, which now present a major ‘brand risk’ for many organisations – especially those that are actively courting the new breed of green and ethical consumers, or those that answer directly to the great British public.
    
Very often, organisations are blissfully unaware of the downstream source of the products they are using, presenting a potential ethical time-bomb for those that don’t yet have suitable systems in place.

Greener IT
IT has a vital role to play in facilitating more ethical purchasing processes: creating visibility throughout the supply chain, ensuring the traceability of raw materials and manufactured goods and monitoring environmental factors such as carbon emissions. But the proliferation of datacentres, desktop equipment and mobile technology is also having a significant environmental impact – bringing the ethical business debate full circle and creating a difficult balancing act for organisations that are really trying to ‘do the right thing’.
    
To ensure that environmentally positive innovations such as teleworking, videoconferencing, electronic messaging and document management systems do not become victims of their own success, the IT industry and end-user organisations also need to focus on reducing the vast quantities of energy consumed by their computing equipment and work together to minimise the resources required for its manufacture and disposal.
    
Implemented correctly, new technologies should form a key component of the responsible business solution but only if they can avoid becoming part of the problem.

Up-to-date information

You can now get up-to-date with all the latest developments in this area in one place at one time: at Europe’s leading purchasing technology forum, eWorld Purchasing & Supply, taking place at The New Connaught Rooms in Central London on 23 and 24 September 2008.
    
eWorld Purchasing & Supply is Europe’s largest gathering of procurement, finance and supply chain professionals. Organised in association with the Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS), the event brings together over 600 senior executives from the commercial and public sectors, with responsibility for formulating effective procurement, sourcing and supply chain strategies and implementing new technology applications within these functions.
    
Now in its 8th year, this important industry forum comprises an intensive programme of expert keynotes and educational seminars, presenting thought leadership and practical advice from both sides of the Atlantic, with a strong focus on ethics and the environment. eWorld employs an innovative educational format to deliver:

  • Cutting-edge programme featuring the latest thinking from both sides of the Atlantic
  • Bespoke itinerary allowing you to choose from more than 30 complimentary seminars each day
  • Hands-on demonstrations of the latest solutions from specialist suppliers
  • One-to-one advice from industry experts in our complimentary Consultancy Clinic
  • Excellent networking opportunities with your peers and valuable industry contacts
  • Complimentary lunch and refreshments on both days of the event

Free Conference Programme - Highlights
At eWorld 2008, a modular programme of free educational seminars follows a similar format on both days of the event – giving delegates two chances to attend and select sessions of their choice. Key highlights include:

  • Chris Sawchuk from the world-renowned Hackett Group explores emerging macro-economic trends and explains how these are shaping the procurement and supply chain profession
  • The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply provide a unique insight into ethical procurement issues and their knock-on effects to other organisational processes
  • Flying in specially from the US, guest speaker Jon Hansen presents two in-depth masterclasses on Building an Intelligent Procurement Strategy and Strategic Category & Supplier Management
  • Dean Bennett of IBM Global Business Services offers practical advice on building more sustainable supply chains to support the green business agenda
  • The return of eWorld e-Procurement Challenge, a light-hearted networking quiz hosted by Andrew Douglas of Oracle    

A co-located exhibition and networking area will showcase the technology solutions from many of the world’s leading technology suppliers, creating an unmissable forum for learning and taking direct action. Key participants include: Action Sustainability, BravoSolution, Bureau Van Dijk Electronic Publishing, buyENERGYonline, The Chartered Institute of Purchasing & Supply (CIPS), Commerce Decisions, Curtis Fitch, Esker, Etesius, Etesius, The Hackett Group, IBM Global Business Services, IBX Europe, Intenda, JS Integration/Iasta, Oracle Corporation, PDG Consulting, Positive Puchasing, Proactis, RS Components, Scanmarket A/S, Transaction Analysts, and Wax Digital
    
Places at eWorld are offered at no charge to senior business executives and technology professionals involved in reviewing implementing IT solutions for procurement and supply chain applications.
    
Register online now at www.eworld-purchasing.com to reserve your free place and receive the full programme of seminars, demonstrations and exhibits. Other Autumn EventsIf you are responsible for buying and implementing new technologies within other areas of government, you may also be interested in the following events from Revolution Events, the organisers of eWorld Purchasing & Supply:

  • ISSE08 (Information Security Solutions Europe) 7-9 October 2008, Madrid Spain: Paid conference offering high-level insights into pan-European security issues for government and the commercial sector.         Organised in association with ENISA, eema, INTECO, TeleTrusT, ISSA and the Spanish Ministry for Industry, Tourism & Commerce. 

Conference registration at: www.isse.eu.com (fees apply)

  • Green IT Expo 2008 4-5 November 2008, The Barbican, London: New two-day forum for progressive heads of IT in large and medium-sized organisations, focusing exclusively on the development of sustainable computing strategies andfeaturing inspirational keynote speakers, interactive workshops and a controversiallive debate. Free registration at: www.greenitexpo.com (complimentary for senior IT executives)
  • Inbox / Outbox 2008 25-26 November 2008, New Connuaght Rooms, London: Europe’s leading event for e-mail management and marketing technologies, featuring focused content on a wide range of messaging issues, including security, spam prevention, storage, archiving, e-Discovery, compliance, privacy and data protection and database marketing. Free registration at: www.inbox-outbox.com (complimentary for senior IT executives).

You can also find out more about all of these events by visiting the Revolution Events website For more information
For further information regarding exhibitor or speaker opportunities, please contact Deborah Puxty on Tel: +44 (0)1732 226221 or Email: deborah@revolution-events.com .
    
If you would like to find out more and reserve your free place please visit www.eworld-purchasing.com

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