September 15, 2022

Ecommerce & eProcurement from the Scottish Government and Ecommerce Sustainability

Dr Peter Mowforth

Ecommerce Club: 6th September 2022

Attending: 31

Hosts: Ann-Maree Morrison MBE & Dr Peter Mowforth

 

 

The first talk was by Lynn Wisener; Deputy Director, eProcurement & Best Practice at the Scottish Government.

Inside 20 minutes, Lynn provided a clear and excellent summary of eProcurement by the public sector in Scotland. Lynn’s talk provided compelling reasons why more Scottish SMEs should get involved in selling their products into what amounts to around half of the national economy. Key points were: 

  • The total amount spent by the public sector on goods services and works during the year 2020-2021 was £14.5 billion. Of this around £8 billion (55%) was spent in Scotland with around £3.5 billion (24%) to Scottish SMEs.
  • 14,026 Scottish suppliers awarded contracts of which 11,651 were Scottish SMEs.
  • For projects under £50k, awards can be made directly without tendering.
  • New ‘Innovation Opportunities’ are to be announced at the end of September 2022.
  • 30 suppliers use cXML while 19 use punch-out (via PECOS) for product purchasing.
  • Supplier Journey (www.supplierjourney.scot) provides guidance on how to bid for public sector contracts.
  • Supplier Development Programme (www.sdpscotland.co.uk) provides free training, support & information.

The second talk was given by Marsaili Mainz on the topic of Sustainable Ecommerce. Key points were:

  • 70% of millennials say that a company’s environmental focus influences their purchase decisions.
  • According to Nielsen, 73% of shoppers have re-adjusted their habits to reduce environmental impact and 72% are buying more sustainable products.
  • Generation IM, reports that ecommerce is 17% more carbon-efficient than traditional retail stores.
  • Sustainability measures have a positive impact on the environment and by actively promoting sustainable practices as an online retailer, you will increase customer loyalty and even attract new customers and business growth.
  • Ecommerce suppliers need to minimise their carbon footprint by using recycled materials for packaging while avoiding the use of plastics.
  • Ecommerce suppliers should minimise returns through improved product information
  • Users should, wherever possible, make increased use of local suppliers as a way to reduce the carbon footprint of fulfilment.
  • Collaboration between the public and private sector on the above set of issues should be a shared national agenda item.

We undertook a live slido.com poll during the event. Results were:

Questions and opinions raised via chat during the event included:

  1. In what ways could public eProcurement be improved for the benefit of reduced carbon footprint and the national economy?
  2. Promote & Purchase Locally manufactured products from companies with sustainability programs running which are certificated. 
  3. Use sustainability as an explicit factor for supplier selection. This could benefit local SMEs directly.
  4. I think it needs to look at the true cost of carbon, we know that this is seldom accounted for on a true balance sheet basis e.g. to truly underpin 'just transition' and pay for adaptation policy in the global south.
  5. Could public sector procurement contribute a reduced carbon footprint by adding sustainability scores favouring local suppliers to the overall supplier scoring. {Lynn did respond on this point making it clear that this was not possible because it would breach WTO (World Trade Organisation)rules}.
  6. Purchasing Locally = high priority.
  7. I think the Scottish government illustrated that they do buy from Scottish suppliers, and carbon footprint from shipping is one out of many areas to improve sustainability efforts. Extra weighting of sustainability points already implemented.
  8. More help with online form tick boxes for SMES instead of extended paperwork requirements.
  9. More meet the buyer events in local regions please.

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