How To Sustainability Value Beyond Savings

127: How the State of California Embeds Sustainability into its Procurement of Goods and Services, w/ Jim Butler

Today I am joined on the Art of Procurement by Jim Butler, the Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) for my home State of California

Prior to joining the State of California, Jim enjoyed a successful career as the CPO for Levi Strauss, and held a number of senior procurement leadership positions with Dell Computer.

In today’s conversation, I wanted to learn about the leadership role that the State of California is taking in building sustainability into its supply chain, and in providing opportunities for small and local businesses.

Sustainability is often a topic we talk about in procurement, but I think it is fair to say that best practices are not widely implemented. Jim shares some of his experiences in California, along with the added dimensions – which create both opportunities and challenges – of doing so within a public body.

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“Before you just jump into categories really work on attitude. Get everybody to buy in because there are some really great categories that you can go after, but if it’s not bought into then it won’t be sustained and then it can come off looking like it was opportunistic. With any sustainability effort you’ll get people who want to be 100% for it, but if you can’t sustain it then it really can be demotivating.”

In this episode, you will learn:

  • Why Jim is passionate about building partnerships, and the impact that can have on the State of California.
  • What motivated Jim to move from the private to the public sector.
  • What are some of the key differences between working in public procurement vs. private procurement.
  • What does sustainability mean to California, and why it is such an important part of his teams work.
  • How does California reconcile sustainability with cost management – can sustainable solutions also be the most cost effective?
  • The journey that the State of California team has taken to embed sustainability into their supply chain.
  • What metrics are used to measure the impact of their program?
  • How CPO’s prioritize sustainability in their organizations without a mandate.
  • Why, while certain categories may lend themselves to be good places to start, a sustainability program should be a holistic, cross-category, initiative.
  • Jim’s view on what procurement professionals can do to stand out from the crowd.

Links and Resources:

About the author

Philip Ideson

Philip Ideson is passionate about the role that procurement professionals and leaders can plan in creating competitive advantage for their organizations in ways that go beyond the traditional value proposition.

Philip founded Art of Procurement as a way for the procurement community to learn from each other, increasing the impact they have on their organizations. In 2017, he co-founded Palambridge, a virtual platform of procurement experts, technology, and intelligence. Palambridge provides a broad range of flexible procurement solutions, available on-demand.

Prior to Art of Procurement and Palambridge, Philip enjoyed a career that spanned the procurement value chain, working across three continents for organizations such as Accenture, Procurian, Ally Financial, Pfizer and Ford Motor Company.