Employer advice from the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council

Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council

Today’s employer advice is from Kris Spriano, Technical Programs Director at the Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council.

Q: Tell us about your organization.

The SPLC enables purchasers to make meaningful, measurable, large-scale positive change in the world. Since purchasers have the opportunity to vote for more sustainable, equitable, and healthy solutions with their purchase dollars every day, we focus on using the lever of organizational procurement to drive sustainability commitments into core business operations.

Because we understand the technical requirements of procurement professionals and shape our guidance and coaching to meet those needs, we are well positioned to enable both purchasers and suppliers to address sustainability. We have earned the trust of our members, who spend approximately $300 billion per year on goods and services. That trust enables us to help the purchasing community identify issues of concern, in collaboration with our research and NGO partners. By providing solid vetted insights and strategy suggestions, we enable purchasing professionals to “cut to the chase” of driving change, rather than spending time they do not have, studying issues they are not familiar with before they can act.

Q: What advice would you give to people in midlife who want to transition to a green job?

Get involved! In your current organization/role, look for green and/or sustainability initiatives that you can help with to get your feet wet. Find out who is leading your organization’s sustainability efforts and have a 1:1 with them to learn more. Meet with relevant management team members to understand priorities and opportunities to become more involved. Outside of your current company/organization, “cold call” non-profits with missions aligned to what you are interested in.  These groups are ALWAYS looking for help!

Get educated! Pursue the ISSP-SA certification to lay a foundation for your sustainability knowledge and help you think about what specific area you might want to focus on professionally.

Don’t be intimidated! This is an emerging area of work. If anyone tells you they have it figured out, they’re lying.

Q: What are the skills that you believe will be required most in the short-medium term in your industry?

All types—for example, strategic and systems-level analytical skills, deep technical sustainability expertise (such as GhG emissions accounting, toxins), change management, facilitation, influencing, financial reporting and analytics, organizational and sustainability data analytics and performance reporting, project and program management, innovative thinking, etc..

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