Our client is one of Europe’s leading private equity investors and a sustainability champion. With as much as 90% of a company’s environmental impact sitting with its supply chain, for instance, our PE fund client aimed to provide its portfolio companies with guidance on deploying its procurement function to deliver environmental and social sustainability improvements.

Efficio was engaged as the PE firm’s expert supply chain partner to create a Sustainability Playbook – a practical toolkit outlining strategies, measurement methods, and targets – for its portfolio companies. The result: the portfolio companies are now rolling out the actions and technologies needed to make these sustainability improvements a reality.

Objectives and results

Our PE client mandates its portfolio companies have sustainability strategies in place, including emissions reporting and actions to reduce them. 

But this is often easier said than done. Many companies do not know how to define sustainability-related targets or make improvements via their supply chains – nor do they have dedicated resources or systems. Our PE client set out to tackle these challenges by producing an accessible and actionable how-to document for its portfolio companies.

The resulting Sustainability Playbook offers practical guidance on all three pillars of the Triple Bottom Line: Social, Environmental, and Economic (also known as People, Planet, and Profit). Taking a category-level approach, this document outlines how organisations can:

  • Define “sustainability” in their own organisation
  • Use their supply base to achieve their sustainability objectives
  • Identify and minimise sustainability risks in each supplier base segment
  • Quantitively measure sustainability improvements 

Challenges and approaches

Building a single source of truth for all organisations

Our PE client invests in a wide variety of businesses. Therefore, the Sustainability Playbook needed to be fit for use across companies in diverse sectors and at different stages of their procurement journey: from those with complex supply chains to those yet to formally develop procurement functions and processes. 

The first step for the client-Efficio team was to conduct interviews with individual portfolio companies to understand where these organisations were on their sustainability journeys, the challenges they faced, and the guidance they required.

The first draft was reviewed in a series of workshops with representatives from various portfolio companies. The client-Efficio team used these workshops to test and refine the processes and tools in the playbook, making sure the guide was easy to understand and to incorporate into procurement teams’ day-to-day activities.

The resulting document offers concrete guidelines on topics including defining KPIs, updating RFPs to incorporate sustainability-related questions, and measuring progress. Since its release, our client’s portfolio companies have used the Sustainability Playbook to deliver improvements in key ESG areas, such as climate change and human rights issues.

Social sustainability in action

Since the publishing of the Sustainability Playbook, the client’s portfolio companies have been taking measures to define “sustainability” in the context of their own businesses, shape their goals, and track their progress.

For instance, multiple portfolio companies have engaged Efficio to build a platform to help them progress their social sustainability initiatives for their supply chains. Much like the CarbonCube®, this tool combines spend cube data with supplier.io data to measure diversity, helping the businesses to bring women-owned small businesses or veteran-owned businesses into their supply base. One portfolio company has already gone even further, expanding the scope of its measurement and targets beyond Tier 1 suppliers to Tier 2 suppliers.



Continuing the sustainability improvement journey

Following the Playbook’s release, our PE client has also introduced training sessions on topics such as calculating emissions and improving DEI. With an organisation-wide understanding of the business case for practising sustainability, this PE firm continues to set itself and its portfolio companies up for success.

How we can help

Want to create a Sustainability Playbook for your own organisation or portfolio companies? 
If your business is looking for a procurement and supply chain partner to help deliver sustainability improvements – including roadmap development, calculating carbon emissions via the CarbonCube®, reducing carbon emissions, and, of course, building a Sustainability Playbook – please contact us via our Sustainability and ESG page.
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