Procurement departments are responsible for orchestrating collaboration with suppliers to optimize their environmental impact.

One piece of information has received very little coverage. Over and above all the extra-financial reports issued by companies on the impact of their activities on the environment, this is a very pragmatic and understandable way of showing the damage caused by human activities. Each year, the NGO Global Footprint Network calculates the day by which a country exceeds its ecological footprint by dividing its biocapacity by its ecological footprint, both expressed in hectares, and then multiplying by 365.

The two main European economies reached their exceedance day at the beginning of May: Germany on May 4 and France on May 5. From these two dates, which have not moved back compared with last year, these two countries have theoretically consumed all the renewable resources in their territories.

It should be noted that for the USA and Canada, the day of overshoot occurs during the month of March. Last year, humanity consumed all its resources by July 28, 2022.

More projects with an impact on the environment are likely to be launched, but the difficulty remains due to the technical inability of finance departments to identify the impact of this type of action on the income statement. Waiting for legislation to introduce penalties is not the right approach, however, as it only delays the positive impact on the environment. Moving forward on a subject as important as environmental protection under duress can only be detrimental.

Some companies are making a commitment. Colgate, for example, has invented a new type of 100% plastic toothpaste tube. The manufacturer has done away with the aluminum part that used to make up all tubes. Packaging made of aluminum mixed with plastic was not recyclable. To take this a step further, Colgate has shared this new technology with its competitors, free of charge, in order to saturate and optimize recycling channels with single-material tubes.

This demonstration of collaboration that goes beyond competition for the benefit of the environment should inspire purchasing departments to develop a regenerative practice in their business by opening up channels of collaboration and partnership with their suppliers, thus giving a new lease of life to the adage that unity is strength!

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