Innovation Challenge

Sustainability or Commerciality? Both please

Author :
Jon Bance

Why ESG is Essential for Driving Cost Savings and Value in Sourcing and Vendor Management


In the rapidly evolving landscape of technology, integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into sourcing and vendor management is no longer a mere ethical consideration—it’s a strategic imperative. As an innovation leader in a UK-based technology consultancy, I am witnessing first hand how ESG not only enhances corporate responsibility but also is beginning to drive significant cost savings and value creation.


The Intersection of ESG and Cost Savings

Operational Efficiency and Cost Reduction

One of the most compelling reasons to integrate ESG into sourcing and vendor management is the direct impact on operational efficiency and cost reduction. Companies that prioritise ESG often streamline their processes to minimise waste and optimise resource use. For instance, vendors who adhere to environmental standards tend to implement energy-efficient practices, reducing utility costs and fostering a culture of continuous improvement​. As an example Telefonica, in the past 9 years have reduced their energy consumption by circa 9% whilst increasing the speed of their networks and efficiency by 9 times.

Risk Mitigation

ESG considerations are critical in mitigating risks associated with environmental compliance, social responsibility, and governance standards. Vendors with strong ESG policies are less likely to face legal penalties or reputational damage, which can lead to costly disruptions. We are beginning to see a few businesses in the US, for instance, become black listed and targeted for their lack of work towards sustainability. Therefore, by selecting partners who align with these principles, companies can avoid the hidden costs of non-compliance and safeguard their supply chains​.


Value Creation through ESG

Enhancing Brand Reputation

Companies that actively engage in ESG practices enhance their brand reputation, which can lead to increased customer loyalty and market share. Consumers and B2B clients are becoming increasingly discerning, favouring companies that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability and ethical practices. British Land has been implementing a number of initiatives and sustainable practises, reducing their carbon footprint, which has attracted a wealth of environmentally-conscious investors and new tenants. This brand enhancement can translate into higher sales and better market positioning, adding substantial value to the business​. So often sustainability is perceived as being costly and damaging to commerciality, but this is a great example of sustainability actively driving long term value creation for all stakeholders.

Innovation and Competitive Advantage

ESG-focused vendors are often at the forefront of innovation. By leveraging sustainable materials, adopting fair labour practices, and maintaining transparent governance structures, these vendors drive advancements that can set companies apart. Collaborating with such partners can lead to the development of innovative products and services, providing a competitive edge in the market​.


Practical Steps to Integrate ESG into Sourcing and Vendor Management


  • Set Clear ESG Criteria

Establish clear ESG criteria that vendors must meet as part of the selection process. This includes environmental performance metrics, social impact assessments, and governance standards. By embedding these criteria into your RFPs (Request for Proposals) and vendor agreements, you ensure that ESG considerations are at the forefront of decision-making. At Leading Resolutions we have already embedded ESG criteria into our fast-track, expedient tendering processes.

  • Conduct Regular Audits

Regular audits and assessments of vendor practices are essential to ensure ongoing compliance with ESG standards. These audits should be comprehensive, covering environmental impact, labour practices, and governance policies. Continuous monitoring helps maintain high standards and identifies areas for improvement. Leading Resolutions have an ESG practice in place and have embedded this service into our Vendor Management and Sourcing audits.

  • Foster Collaborative Relationships

Building collaborative relationships with vendors encourages the sharing of best practices and joint innovation efforts. Regular communication and partnership initiatives can help vendors improve their ESG performance, leading to mutual benefits and a stronger, more resilient supply chain.

  • Reduce waste

Critically assessing your own needs, challenging volumes and SLAs, retaining only what is needed rather than keeping things because it’s easier than getting rid of it. Reducing demand directly drives savings, not just in monetary terms but from an ESG perspective too (just think about how much energy we’d save if all unnecessary data was removed from storage, for example).




Incorporating ESG principles into sourcing and vendor management is a strategic move that drives cost savings and enhances value. By prioritising operational efficiency, risk mitigation, brand reputation, and innovation, companies can achieve both sustainability and competitive advantage. As we navigate the future of technology, ESG will undoubtedly play a pivotal role in shaping successful and responsible business practices.

By embracing these principles, we not only contribute to a more sustainable world but also unlock new opportunities for growth and excellence. Let’s lead the way in demonstrating that ESG is not just a corporate responsibility but a pathway to strategic success.

For more insights on how ESG can transform your sourcing and vendor management, feel free to contact us or explore our case studies and journal articles on the subject.