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What is a Supplier Sustainability Program? – Definition

What is a Supplier Sustainability Program? – Definition

Sustainable supplier programs, (SSPs) are becoming increasingly popular in the business world. As companies look for ways to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and work toward a more sustainable future, one of the best ways to do so is through their suppliers. SSPs are structured programs that businesses use to assess, monitor, and improve the sustainability performance of the suppliers they use. By monitoring the environmental and social performance of their suppliers, businesses can evaluate how they are contributing to sustainability goals. In this blog post, we will explore what a supplier sustainability program is and how it can benefit your business.

What is a Supplier Sustainability Program?

A supplier sustainability program (SSP) is a formalized process used by an organization to assess, select and manage its supplier relationships with the goal of achieving sustainable business practices.

The purpose of an SSP is to improve the environmental and social performance of suppliers while also reducing risk and cost. In some cases, an SSP may also seek to create shared value for both the buyer and supplier. Typically, an SSP will have three components:

1) A policy or commitment from the organization that outlines the expectations for supplier behavior;
2) A process for assessing supplier performance against those expectations; and
3) A system of incentives and/or consequences for meeting or not meeting those expectations.

Organizations can choose to develop their own SSP or participate in a pre-existing program offered by another company or third-party certifier. There are many different types of programs available, each with its own requirements, benefits and drawbacks. When choosing an SSP, organizations should consider their specific needs and objectives.

What are the benefits of a Supplier Sustainability Program?

A Supplier Sustainability Program (SSP) is a set of guidelines and standards that a company requires its suppliers to meet in order to do business with the company. The goals of an SSP can vary, but they typically focus on improving the environmental and social performance of the supplier’s operations.

There are many benefits of implementing an SSP, both for the company and for the suppliers themselves. For the company, an SSP can help to ensure that its supply chain is more sustainable and responsible, which can improve its reputation and bottom line. For suppliers, an SSP can provide access to new markets and help them to improve their own environmental and social performance.

An SSP can also help to build trust between a company and its suppliers, as well as improve communication and collaboration throughout the supply chain. In some cases, an SSP can even lead to cost savings for both the company and the supplier.

What are the key components of a successful Supplier Sustainability Program?

A successful supplier sustainability program has several key components. First, it should have clear and concise objectives that are aligned with the company’s overall sustainability goals. Second, it should engage suppliers in a meaningful way, providing them with the information and resources they need to participate. Third, it should have robust communication and reporting mechanisms to track progress and ensure accountability. Finally, it should be regularly reviewed and updated to reflect changes in the marketplace or the company’s sustainability priorities.

How can my organization get started with a Supplier Sustainability Program?

Organizations looking to establish a supplier sustainability program should first consider their company’s specific needs and objectives. They should also look at the programs of other companies in their industry to get an idea of what has worked well for them. Once they have a good understanding of their own goals and the landscape of available programs, they can begin to develop their own program.

There are a few key elements that all supplier sustainability programs should include:

1) clear and concise communication of expectations to suppliers

2) monitoring and reporting mechanisms to track progress

3) performance-based incentives or penalties

4) continual improvement plan to drive ongoing progress.

Organizations should also consider whether they want to partner with an external organization or consultant to help with developing and implementing their program.


Supplier sustainability programs are becoming increasingly important in the business world, and it is clear that these initiatives can have substantial positive impacts for both businesses and their suppliers. These programs allow companies to ensure that their supply chains adhere to ethical practices as well as helping them meet environmental goals. With a number of different approaches available, supplier sustainability programs can help businesses build long-lasting partnerships with trusted suppliers while improving their reputation in the community.