Green incentives: ‘Future of Payments’ in The Sunday Times

"Altrincham, UK - July 7, 2012: Tesco Supermarket sign, logo and slogan on the store in Altrincham, Cheshire, UK. Tesco is a multinational retailer of groceries and general goods, and is based in the UK. They are the second-largest retailer in the world measured by profits. Tesco Extra stores are larger hypermarkets selling a wide range of goods."

New writing… Pleased to say I have had another article published in The Sunday Times newspaper — as part of a special Raconteur report into the Future of Payments — exploring the pros and cons of green incentives for suppliers.

As the year rolls on, the UN’s forthcoming COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow looms like Christmas on the business calendar, with eco-conscious companies increasingly in the market for something special to show how much they care. They are shopping for sustainability.

One potential storehouse is the supply chain, the source of most of their greenhouse gas emissions.

So, when the UK’s largest retailer announced it would start using its payment terms to incentivise suppliers to shrink their carbon footprints, it did not expect a backlash. Some observers, however, interpreted Tesco’s intention to reward stronger sustainability performance with earlier settlements as less of a green carrot, more of a late-payments stick.

In theory, though, incentives are useful tools for encouraging change and payment transactions are an obvious vehicle for communicating procurement priorities and encouraging best practice.

The article therefore explores the more acceptable ways of monetising the value of sustainability, deep in the supply chain, whilst also recognising perhaps Why payment terms shouldn’t be used as green incentives.

The full 12-page Future of Payments report is available to view/download here.


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