Sustainable development is a new competitive priority, considered in conjunction with other traditional competitive priorities: quality, cost, reliability, timeliness, flexibility and innovation. The supply positioning model includes sustainability as a key criterion of performance in all four quadrants of the Kraljic model.

For strategic items, it is important to focus on aspects connected to innovation, ensuring that their suppliers consider sustainable aspects in the development of their products. Furthermore, in this case, the collaboration and sharing of know-how are important to ensure the minimization of social and environmental impacts of new products. For leverage items, the emphasis on reducing the consumption of raw materials and the use of recycled materials, for example, gains importance.

For the bottleneck items, the adoption of sustainable practices is more difficult because the purchase organization is in a situation of dependence. In these cases, the purchasing organization can encourage the adoption of standardization and certification in supplier organizations. Finally, for noncritical items, the proposal is to adopt simple qualifying criteria for suppliers, such as requiring some certification.

Organizations require a level of sustainability of its suppliers according to the type of component/item required at time of procurement. Sustainability is also adopted as part of their business strategy, while others will be coerced to integrate sustainability by its customers, suppliers, or the law.

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