Sustainability is one of the biggest buzzwords in business; but how many organisations and decision makers really know what it means and are striving for a sea change, rather than just paying lip service to the growing call to prioritise environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues? According to sustainability, ESG and modern slavery specialist Carsten Primdal, there is a sustainability knowledge gap that is preventing many firms from making meaningful progress and delivering real value through their sustainability programmes.

Australia-based Primdal has assisted numerous global organisations to implement and manage sustainability programmes that create lasting value. He is the author of “Red Flag: Your Guide to Risk Management When Buying in China”, a book that explores the risks in the supply chain in China and offers strategies and tools to help companies avoid the costs of supply chain disruptions, poor quality products, brand reputation damage and other effects of poor risk management. Primdal will share his insights with African decision makers and organisations at the upcoming, free-to-attend Sustainability Summit Africa. Now in its second year, this conference, which is hosted by Smart Procurement World, takes place on 11 and 12 May 2022.

Since studies estimate that up to 90% of a firm’s sustainability impacts come from an organisation’s supply chain, managing sustainability in the supply chain and in procurement is critical for overall business health and success. However, many companies are hampered by a lack of in-house understanding of the importance of ESG issues within the supply chain and by their suppliers’ limited understanding of ESG considerations, according to Primdal.

“Becoming proficient in ESG can unlock efficiency, financial and reputational gains for the company. Additionally, ESG leaders can pass along their knowledge to suppliers to help them improve upon their own practices, reducing Scope 3 emissions and improving their social impact throughout the value chain,” he notes. “With ESG education, procurement and supply chain professionals can more accurately identify and measure the most material sustainability issues for the company. ESG knowledge is also a powerful tool for mitigating disruption, financial and legal risks in procurement practices and developing supply chain resilience.

“The value of ESG education cannot be understated. Professionals with these tools and skills will outperform their peers and capture greater value in the supply chain,” Primdal stresses.

2022 Sustainability Summit Africa speaker Lazar Armianov concurs. “Sustainability is no longer a tick-the-box exercise: companies are realising that sustainable practices in the business and supply chain can lead to real, tangible business value. The World Economic Forum asserts value creation from sustainable procurement practices can raise revenue by up to 20%, reduce supply chain costs by as much as 16% and increase brand value by up to 30%,” Armianov states.

While the benefits are clear, he cautions that the impact of sustainability programmes often hinges on choosing the right measures. “When evaluating suppliers’ sustainability performance, factors to consider include energy usage, waste disposal, packaging materials, employee working conditions, ethical behaviour and human rights. Whether businesses decide to evaluate sustainability through next-generation ratings, legacy self-assessment questionnaires (SAQs), or other forms of assessment, measuring supplier sustainability is a priority,” he asserts.

“There are also long-term societal benefits – such as the profound impact on the environment and the effect on brand reputation. According to a CDP 2019 Global Supply Chain report, a company’s supply chain contains on average 5.5 times as many greenhouse gas emissions as its own operations. This alone has driven many companies to encourage and collaborate on better, responsible practices with their suppliers and create shared values.”

Armianov is a regional director at sustainability ratings specialist EcoVadis. His 2022 Sustainability Summit Africa presentation is entitled “Supply Chain Resilience Redefined: Raising Ambitions to Improvement & Impact”.

For more information on the Sustainability Summit Africa 2021, or to register for the event at no cost, visit or contact 

Debbie Tagg

Debbie Tagg

COO, Smart Procurement World


Smart Procurement World (SPW) is the largest professional development event for procurement and inbound supply chain, supported and endorsed by industry professional bodies. SPW also achieves professional development for procurement and supply chain professionals while achieving economic development objectives in each region through enterprise, supplier development linking small business to supply chain.

Contact for event inquires.