New ISO 20400 Standard for Sustainable Procurement

The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has issued the second draft of the new standard in development, ISO 20400: Sustainable Procurement - Guidance. Comments on this draft can be submitted by the end of the business day on Thursday, November 17, 2016. The new standard is set to be published in early 2017.

KERAMIDA’s sustainability experts have reviewed the new ISO draft and offer the following comments on the strengths of this guidance document:

  • Definition of key governance aspects

  • Focus on organizational capacities and employee qualifications

  • Prioritization through risk and impact analysis

  • Linkage with existing procurement processes steps

However, as it is only an orientation document and not a certifiable standard such as ISO 14001: Environmental Management, it may not have the same appeal for companies who want a more binding standard that will validate and communicate their efforts, a concern heard when ISO 26000: Social Responsibility was also published as an orientation document and not a certifiable standard. 

Alternative frameworks for sustainable purchasing include:

  • Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council’s Guidance for Leadership in Sustainable Purchasing v2.0, released in June 2016

  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Sustainable Public Procurement Implementation Guidelines, 2012

Other frameworks, such as the one provided by The Sustainability Consortium (TSC), focus on the sustainability performance of specific consumer products. 

If you are considering implementing a sustainable supply chain management program or have any questions about how your company can prepare for implementation of the new ISO standard, please contact Pamela Griesemer, Vice President of Sustainability Services, at

Blog Author

Pamela Griesemer, M.S., LEED GA, ENV SP, FSA
Vice President of Sustainability Services

Contact Pamela at