Celia Landesberg – Leading the Way in Sustainable Procurement #WSW

Celia Landesberg – Sustainability Expert


First, let me start by saying I had the pleasure of meeting Celia at a local GWPP event!  We chatted after the panel discussion and I’m glad I got to meet her. I have great admiration for her and what she’s doing. Especially, since she’s on the cutting edge of the new black of procurement – Sustainability.

Celia (in my opinion) is one of the lucky ones. She knew what her mission was early on in life and has dedicated her life to achieving it. Maybe it was guidance from her parents to ‘never waste anything – food, money, or anything else.’ Either way, sustainability is within her core.

Not to mention, she is an expert and smart beyond her years. She started a recycling program in her middle school around 11 years old. Yes, you read that, right! And Celia continued to help change her environment for the better, everywhere she went.

Celia’s volunteered at non-profits, and during her four years of college, she managed to get a job with the first-ever Director of Sustainability. One of her very first projects was re-labeling on the recycling containers on campus. What a great opportunity it made to meet some of the young men on campus!

She also helped shape procurement policies, manage interns, and ended up giving the Board of Trustees climate action updates. The supply exchange program she launched gave departments information so that they could use each other’s supplies, so they weren’t sitting inventory, or worse – trash. Better for budgets, better for the earth (the program is still going strong today!).And for fun, she dressed up in a hazmat suit and jumped into some trash. Now that’s dedication to spreading awareness!

And in her senior year, she continued to give back. What I found really cool, was that she did a complete economic assessment and gave the entire university guidance from it. She leveraged spend data to help departments quantify the environmental impacts of their spend and identify ways to reduce the University’s carbon footprint.

Amazingly enough, it was only the start of her career in Sustainable Procurement.

Check out her articles/podcast at the Future of Sourcing: Link

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Sustainability – Dedication to the Cause

If you are like me, Celia probably easily eclipsed all of your green efforts by the time she was in college. But this article isn’t for us who are allergic to sustainability, this isn’t made to make you feel guilty about it. Just the opposite in fact!

You see, one of the things I liked most about Celia is that she doesn’t support sustainability shaming (thank god, because I probably deserve a lecture!).

You can tell Celia learned early on that you can’t guilt or force your way into behavior change. For us, it’s hard enough being called the spend police (sometimes) – so becoming the sustainability police isn’t going to help our cause. Probably the opposite.

Particularly, because sustainability in this decade is the most important topic for businesses – at least according to Brad Smith of Microsoft and Larry Fink of BlackRock (two companies with just a little market influence). But sustainability today is a broad discipline. From environmental practices to employee well-being to governance & supply chain, it’s become increasingly hard to stay on top of how to be a master of sustainability.

Between economic (Corporate responsibility), social (Personal practices), and environmental sustainability (Renewable Energy) – you will find a plethora of differences. Just because you focus on one, doesn’t make you the master of the others.

But working for the only Sustainable Procurement Business, sure as heck will help. Not to mention, Celia’s well-read and versed in almost all areas (and all the volunteering and programs she’s created). She has to be. How else could she sell what her current employer (EcoVadis) is doing without the background knowledge?

You see, her strategic insight is to leverage data and facts when helping others to identify the opportunities to use sustainability as a driver to achieve business priorities. Not to mention, she loves continual learning and reading. It’s what motivates her and keeps her going.

Key Takeaway – Sustainability Drives Additional Savings

I believe that’s where we’ve all gone wrong. Maybe in the early days, these practices were cost-prohibitive, but not anymore. In reality, you’re losing out on additional savings if you’re not incorporating sustainable practices. I know it’s hard to believe – but let me explain.

Celia explained to me that most companies now want to do more with less. I’m sure you’ve been asked (again and again) to achieve greater results with a smaller budget, right?

A great example of using sustainability to achieve this that Celia used was the Nike Flyknit shoe. To be environmentally conscious, Nike decided to use a single piece of fabric for a single shoe (unlike a traditional shoe that has many parts that are sewn together).

Now, not only did this drive down costs for Nike (fewer materials and labor i.e., less manufacturing costs), but it also has an average of 60% less waste than traditional footwear. How’s that for process improvements?

Check out Nike’s Move to Zero – Sustainability Here

Not only did the changes prove to be good for the environment, but it also helped their pocketbooks. A win-win situation. That’s why working for EcoVadis, a company that can help suppliers and buyers find sustainable products and drive down costs, is a no-brainer for Celia.

In my opinion, if you don’t know her, you should! Not just to give you information about her current company, but because she is only so knowledgeable about all aspects of sustainable procurement.

Celia has done so much for our environment, and she’s not even 30 yet! So can you imagine what a woman empowered like that can do for the next 20 or 30?!

Not to mention, I guarantee one day, Celia may very well be running that company or her own.  She’s definitely an amazing woman on the rise!

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More About EcoVadis 

Since its founding in 2007, EcoVadis has become a trusted partner for procurement teams in more than 450 leading multinational organizations to reduce risk and drive innovation in their sustainable procurements.

EcoVadis offers the 1st collaborative platform that allows companies to assess the environmental and social performance of global suppliers.

It combines technology and expertise to deliver reliable and straightforward Suppliers, Sustainability Scorecards, covering 187 purchasing categories, 21 CSR indicators, and 190 countries.

EcoVadis helps businesses reduce risks and drive performance and innovation in their supply chain.

In addition to their buy and sell-side help, they also have an enormous amount of other resources.  Including a blog, conferences, industry-specific information, white papers, and more!

This year, in the wake of the COVID19 crisis, EcoVadis converted its annual conference to fully virtual in less than 10 days with nearly 2,000 attendees.

The event is still available on demand for a limited time, so don’t miss it!

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