Gender Responsive Procurement: A Solution for Women’s Empowerment and Climate Mitigation

 

The impacts of climate change are becoming increasingly severe, and these impacts are not distributed equally. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the effects of global warming, making it crucial to address climate change through a gender lens. As companies seek ways to promote sustainability and gender equality, gender-responsive procurement has emerged as a promising tool. By applying a gender lens to purchasing decisions and prioritising the procurement of eco-friendly, sustainable products and services, companies can positively impact both areas. In this way, gender-responsive procurement can be a powerful solution for achieving women’s empowerment goals while mitigating the effects of climate change.

 

In this blog, we will explore the intersection between gender-responsive procurement, women’s empowerment and climate mitigation, and provide practical tips on how organisations can use gender-responsive procurement to promote sustainable practices and support women entrepreneurs. By doing so, organisations can help create a more equitable and sustainable world where women are empowered to thrive and climate change is mitigated.

 

The Gendered Impacts of Climate Change

 

The global climate crisis is not gender-neutral. Women and girls are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change, including food insecurity, water scarcity, and natural disasters. In many parts of the world, women are responsible for securing water, food and fuel for their families, making them particularly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. While women bear the brunt of the impact, they are often excluded from decision-making processes related to climate change mitigation and adaptation, further exacerbating their challenges.

 

Gender-Responsive Procurement, Sustainability and Women’s Empowerment

 

Gender-responsive procurement involves applying a gender lens to purchasing decisions and ensuring that procurement processes consider the impact on women and girls. There are several ways in which gender-responsive procurement can promote sustainability in supply chains, encourage women’s empowerment, and help mitigate the effects of climate change.

 

First, gender-responsive procurement can promote innovation in supply chains by supporting women entrepreneurs. Women-owned businesses are often more likely to prioritise sustainability and social responsibility, making them a natural partner for companies seeking to promote sustainable practices and mitigate the effects of climate change. By prioritising the procurement of products and services from women-owned businesses, companies can support sustainable business practices and contribute to broader sustainability efforts. Moreover, women entrepreneurs often face significant barriers to entry in male-dominated industries, including limited access to finance networks and markets. By prioritising procuring from women-owned businesses, companies can support women’s economic empowerment and unlock a new source of innovation and creativity in their supply chains.

 

Besides this, gender-responsive procurement can promote sustainability by prioritising the procurement of environmentally-friendly products and services. This can involve sourcing sustainable materials, using renewable energy sources, or reducing waste in the supply chain. By applying a gender lens to these procurement decisions, companies can ensure that the environmental benefits of their choices are distributed equitably, benefiting women and girls and other stakeholders. Additionally, by choosing environmentally friendly products and services, companies can reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to climate mitigation efforts. 

 

A Comprehensive Approach to Procurement 

 

To fully realise the potential of gender-responsive procurement for promoting sustainability and gender equality, companies must adopt a comprehensive approach to procurement. Here are four steps that companies can take to adopt a comprehensive approach that empowers women, promotes sustainability and can help mitigate the effects of climate change:

 

  • Develop a gender-responsive procurement policy: Companies should develop a procurement policy that explicitly integrates gender and sustainability considerations. This policy should outline the company’s commitment to promoting sustainable practices in its procurement processes. Additionally, It should provide guidance on how to identify and mitigate the environmental impacts of the supply chain. For example, companies can prioritise procuring products and services from women-owned businesses that prioritise sustainable practices, such as using renewable energy or reducing waste. By integrating sustainability considerations into procurement policy, companies can ensure that their procurement practices align with their sustainability goals and help mitigate the effects of climate change.

 

  • Build capacity among procurement staff: Companies should provide training and resources to procurement staff on sustainable procurement principles and tools for identifying and mitigating the environmental impacts of the supply chain. By building capacity among procurement staff, companies can ensure that sustainability considerations are integrated into procurement practices at all stages of the procurement process, from planning to contract management and supplier engagement.

 

  • Conduct sustainability assessments: Companies should conduct sustainability assessments of their procurement processes and supply chain. This involves reviewing procurement processes and supplier engagement to identify areas where environmental impacts can be reduced or mitigated. These assessments can also help identify areas where sustainable products and services can be sourced, which can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contribute to broader sustainability efforts.

 

  • Engage with sustainable businesses: To promote sustainable business practices and contribute to sustainability efforts, companies should actively collaborate with sustainable businesses as suppliers. This includes setting specific goals for procuring from sustainable businesses, implementing programs to increase supplier diversity, and building strong relationships through networking events and outreach activities. By engaging with sustainable suppliers, companies can support sustainable practices and play a role in mitigating the effects of climate change.

 

Conclusion

 

Gender-responsive procurement can be a powerful solution for achieving women’s empowerment goals while mitigating the effects of climate change. By applying a gender lens to purchasing decisions and prioritising the procurement of eco-friendly, sustainable products and services, companies can promote sustainability in supply chains, support women entrepreneurs, and encourage innovation. To fully realise the potential of gender-responsive procurement, companies must adopt a comprehensive approach that integrates gender and sustainability considerations at all stages of the procurement process, from planning to supplier engagement. By doing so, companies can help create a more equitable and sustainable world where women are empowered to thrive, and climate change is mitigated.

 

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