Published on 12/2/2015 By Glenn Hasek, for greenlodgingnews
ROCKVILLE, MD.—Avendra, the leading procurement services provider, fresh off the purchase of BuyEfficient, is stepping up its commitment to sustainability with the hiring of a new sustainability manager, Hamzah Abu-Ragheb. He joins Stacey Dash, Vice President, Marketing, Communications & Sustainability in leading the sustainability team at Avendra. The hiring of Abu-Ragheb comes at a critical time for Avendra. The Rockville, Md.-based company, with 7,000 hospitality customers, has just a little more than one year to go to reach its goal of having 100 percent of its suppliers with a sustainability policy in place. Currently, somewhere north of 84 percent of Avendra’s suppliers have such a policy. Avendra will update that number in early 2016.
Avendra’s sustainability policy goal is just part of the company’s five-year sustainability plan launched in 2012. Avendra also has a goal of identifying and championing sustainability in 10 categories by 2016. Categories already addressed, according to the company’s website, include: personal paper, sourcing locally produced foods, LED lighting, and foodservice disposables. Remaining to be addressed are sustainable seafood tracking, packaging audits, uniform supply chain analysis, textile supply chain analysis, local/organic produce tracking (additional work on prior category, and sustainable foodservice disposables tracking (additional work on prior category).
It was in 2012 that Avendra brought in a consultant to help it formulate its sustainability goals. “We were hearing that sustainability was becoming increasingly important in the supply chain,” Dash says. The challenge has been working with suppliers of all sizes—from huge to small—and some that are just distributors. That is where things get more complex as a distributor’s suppliers may be outside of Avendra’s contractual control. No matter the number of links down the supply chain, suppliers must still comply with local laws, Dash says, helping to ensure the environmental integrity of products offered through Avendra. Oftentimes smaller companies will have more challenges formulating a sustainability policy. One of Abu-Ragheb’s responsibilities will be to help educate them.
Suppliers with a sustainability policy must have a written version with sustainability philosophy in it, have senior level endorsement, and be willing to share the policy with Avendra.