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Journal cover: Industrial and Commercial Training

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Online from: 1969

Subject Area: Learning and Development

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Enabling informed and responsible purchasing: helping customers to understand implications and impacts

Document Information:
Title:Enabling informed and responsible purchasing: helping customers to understand implications and impacts
Author(s):Colin Coulson-Thomas, (Chairman of Adaptation Ltd, Water Newton, UK and a Professor at The Business School, University of Greenwich, London, UK)
Citation:Colin Coulson-Thomas, (2010) "Enabling informed and responsible purchasing: helping customers to understand implications and impacts", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 42 Iss: 2, pp.93 - 101
Keywords:Climatology, Corporate image, Environmental management, Purchasing, Social responsibility, Sustainable development
Article type:Technical paper
DOI:10.1108/00197851011026081 (Permanent URL)
Publisher:Emerald Group Publishing Limited

PurposeMany concerned people are unaware of the full impacts of their buying decisions on the environment. This paper aims to show how people can be helped to behave more responsibly when they buy.

Design/methodology/approachSales and purchasing support tools can show buyers the implications of different courses of action, and enable them to select the least harmful option. The paper shows how an approach used to improve salesforce effectiveness can be employed in the purchasing arena. Key lessons from early adopters are summarised, and questions posed for training and development professionals.

FindingsThe tools examined increase the performance of key workgroups such as front line sales, account management and support staff, and make it easier for people to take difficult buying decisions. The paper gives a weed control example, and mentions applications that have yielded a first-year return on investment of over 20, 30 and 70 times.

Practical implicationsSupport tool users experience a range of benefits from extra business and quicker responses to closer relationships with more satisfied customers. Pioneering companies are also reducing cost, risk and stress; and improving quality and compliance.

Originality/valueMany people and boards would like to address challenges such as climate change, but they lack a practical and cost-effective way of doing so. The approach outlined represents a cost-effective way of demonstrating corporate social responsibility. In doing what they feel is the right thing people can benefit themselves, their supplier and the planet.

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