Balfour Beatty first to be tested on supply chain standard

15th May 2017


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Rachel Wootliff

Construction firm Balfour Beatty has become the first company to be assessed against ISO 20400, the new standard on sustainable procurement.

Launched in April, the guidance standard defines the principles of sustainable procurement such as accountability, transparency, respect for human rights and ethical behaviour.

It incorporates the most recent developments in sustainability thinking, including the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business and ISO 26000, the international guidance on social responsibility, which was published in 2010. 20400 is designed for all organisations, public and private, of all sizes.

Third-party evaluation of Balfour Beatty’s assessment against the standard was carried out by Action Sustainability. Director of the advisory firm Shaun McCarthy, who is also chair of IEMA’s standards committee, said: ‘Societal expectations for supply chains to minimise impact on the environment and respect human rights are at a tipping point.

‘In response, ISO 20400 sets out a strategic framework for achieving sustainability and value for organisations competing in a global market.’

Aaron Reid, sustainable supply chain manager at Balfour Beatty, said: ‘We are extremely proud to be the first company in the world assessed against ISO 20400. The standard gives us a clear framework to determine what good looks like in terms of sustainable procurement and how we compare against it.’

The standard enabled the business to uncover areas of existing good practice to be shared, and areas for improvement to focus upon, he added.

ISO 20400 is a guidance standard rather than a requirements standard such as ISO 14001, which requires businesses to meet a particular level in order to be certified.

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