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Wednesday, November 25th, 2009

Quick Q&A with Jordan Sampietro

Jordan Sampietro - CEO Sustainable Procurement Strategies, CaliforniaJordan is Founder and CEO of green strategic procurement consultancy Sustainable Procurement Strategies based in Silicon Valley, California, which advises clients on a full spectrum of CSR and green issues in their global supply and procurement operations. He has over 20 years in international procurement and supply management.

What are your main sources of inspiration?

Curious, smart, and focused people who see the world as a place of unlimited possibility.

Mike Lewis (University of Bath) proclaiming that procurement leaders are highly skilled generalists and a perfect fit for Chief Executive leadership. There should be more of us in the top spots.

What are the biggest challenges you’re facing at the moment?

I see companies that seem completely paralyzed, unable to make important strategic decisions and smart, swift changes which will directly link to their very survival in the following year.

Sustainable procurement can add immediate and sustained value especially in the current economic setting, yet is sometimes seen as an optional effort by many companies. Yes, you heard that right, green and responsible procurement methods can save your company.

What initiatives are you seeing for using green products in the supply chain?

It’s obvious that there seems to be two main emerging product trends. One trend is a wholesale re-positioning of many products to tout their green-ness with sustainability as a way to sell, but some green claims are very thin.

The more wonderful second trend is a genuine move towards sustainable cradle-to-cradle product design and the incorporation of sustainable practices that include all facets of CSR such as good labour practices, recycled content and organic farming. As positive as this effort is, we are still not moving fast enough to confront climate change.

What has President Obama’s election done for green procurement policies?

There’s a lot of general excitement around green business and sustainability. After a reasonable period of patience I think we can expect very strong progress in sustainable and green supply chain.

What makes for good CSR? And bad?

Good CSR must meet both social and organisational goals. Bad CSR is the opposite where strategy and alignment are absent, and CSR efforts looks like burning money through wasting talent and resources. Make sure your strategic initiatives are completely aligned.

What are your favourite business books?

“Good to Great” by Jim Collins – Massive research project identifies rare traits of the very few highest performing companies.

“The Entrepreneurs Manual” by Richard M. White – Silicon Valley’s Old Testament with painstaking strategy and planning blueprint – very entertaining to read as well.

“Self-Help” by Samuel Smiles – Hardscrabble British entrepreneurs during Industrial Revolution celebrates true solid character

“How To Manage a Turnaround” by Stanley J Goodman – Management excellence.

“The Seven Mysteries of Life” by Guy Murchie – Not a business book but a lifelong work of art that connects everything via science. At it’s root business is an organic process.

What might you ask a fellow Supply Chain professional here?

What keeps you from volunteering at least one hour a month to a professional organisation, cause, or charity that you believe in?

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