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The Festival of Sourcing Reinforced My Sense of Responsibility

by Matt Clarke, Managing Director, Workforce Solutions at ADEC Innovations

Last week, at the Global Sourcing Association’s (GSA) excellent Festival of Sourcing event, I found my sense of responsibility reinvigorated. 

On the one hand, that’s just what happens when you spend a few days with some of the most forward-thinking and purpose-driven buyers, suppliers and consultants in the world. 

But I also think the GSA and SDUK deserve tremendous credit for managing to give vital topics like Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), impact sourcing, Net Zero and supplier diversity the gravitas they deserve while still managing to create a fun and positive atmosphere.

(It’s particularly impressive that they pulled this off so professionally despite a last-minute venue cancellation. Chapeau!)

All of the speakers were excellent. These were serious, emotive and thought-provoking discussions around critical, global issues, punctuated by sobering statistics of how much more needs to be done. 

Sourcing is critical on the path to SDGs.

Necessity is the mother of invention, and nothing is more vital than halting climate change and building a resilient society. We all know that industry and society need to change, and shifts are definitely underway.  

The push for business to adapt was highlighted by James Donovan, Co-Founder and CEO of ADEC Innovations, as he remarked in his keynote

 “Sustainability is being dragged onto the balance sheet. Whether you know it or not, it’s happening.”

The good news is that Sourcing is embracing this shift to an ‘industry for good’. 

As Sourcing professionals, we have an opportunity to leverage our services and buying power to help organisations achieve Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) commitments that move us towards the SDGs. We can make an impact, regardless of our scale, but we must act. 

Impact sourcing is the tip of the spear. 

Selfishly, I was particularly pleased to see the popularity of ADEC Innovation’s latest whitepaper on Social Sustainability in outsourcing. But seeing the response also reinforced to me just how important a role Social Sustainability and impact sourcing will continue to play in achieving ESG targets and sustainable development goals. 

From an outsourcing point of view, this is how we can bring people along on this journey with us. There is a lot of positive fanfare around the topic right now. I’m excited by the opportunity to collaborate across the industry on setting effective standards for impact measurement in this area. 

I was particularly interested to hear about some progress and ideas being implemented in the context of ‘modern sourcing’. I love the concept of developing solutions through collaboration, transparency and open communication. I think the agility of modern sourcing raises real possibilities for the future of both Sourcing and Sustainability. 

Can a more transparent process make it easier to prioritise sustainable goals? I’m excited to find out.

AI will help, but it could also hinder.

It’s become something of a running joke that you simply have to mention AI whenever you attend any kind of event nowadays. 

And truth be told, I’m of the view that AI will help people do their jobs better far more than it will replace them. 

But having been to an event where so many remarkable organisations shared so much notable progress on this journey towards Sustainability, it did make me think: AI can definitely help solve the many complex challenges, but could it also distract us from the journey that actually matters? 

I don’t know and I certainly hope that it won’t. 

What’s next? 

I would like to echo the sentiment of many of the speakers at this event – I hope events like these don’t just momentarily pique people’s interest. I hope they inspire a real desire to operate in more intentional, purposeful ways. 

I, for one, had my personal sense of responsibility profoundly reinforced. And as ESG and Sustainability gain prominence in outsourcing conversations, I see it as an opportunity to bring impact-focused outsourcing solutions to the limelight. 

#outsourcing #impactsourcing #socialsustainability #esg #sdgs

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