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Buyer FAQs
  • How does it work?

    Suppliers simply log on and answer a series of questions relating to the 3 pillars of sustainability: Environmental, Economic and Social. Guidance and assistance will be provided every step of the way for ease of use and minimal time of completion.

    Our team of dedicated verification experts will then review the answers to provide a final score. Suppliers will be issued with a score for each of the pillars individually. What’s more, buyers will have customised access to the portal, providing a view of your specific suppliers, their ratings benchmarked across industry, and the ability to determine threshold scores specific to your organisation.

    Comprehensive dashboards and analytics bring the sustainability of your suppliers to life; providing you with insightful tools to understand the overall picture, key trends and areas of improvement.


  • Ok, so I'm a buyer, what do I do?

    Simply request that your suppliers register for the portal at: https://cips-sustainabilityindex.com/Portal/Supplier/SupplierUserDetails.aspx and they can register - easy!

    We’ll let you know who has signed up along with their progress and alert you of any red flag issues that we might come across such as scoring that would be lower than the industry/sector average. That means you can be kept ahead of potential risk and manage it accordingly with your supplier. We’ll also provide you with suggestions for process improvement/identified best practice, found in the supplier portal.

    If you need help getting your suppliers onboard, we have a number of items that you can use from example letters, emails and collateral to help. Simply click here to get started . Our regular updates will enable you to continue communications with your suppliers, getting the best from the portal and ensuring compliance and accurate data.

  • Why will it be of value to me?

    Simple. Your supply chain is mission critical, so how do you ensure the suppliers which support it can be relied upon. Do you have the time to do all of the leg work, not just once but each year? Do you have the expertise to keep up with changing regulation and other external factors impacting sustainability?


    Using CIPS Sustainability Index means you can rely upon the purchasing industry’s leading member organisation to support you in your objectives. With CIPS Sustainability Index you:


    • Get a comprehensive and consistent view of your suppliers’ sustainability letting you get on with your day job.
    • Integrate the scoring as part of your RFP or PQQ process - the questions are already there so you don’t have to keep setting them or maintaining them.
    • Focus your time on the additional supplier information that’s specific to your needs... not those questions that everyone asks. 
    •  Use the ratings as a key input into your overall supplier relationship management strategy. 
    •  Use our standardised ratings to benchmark your suppliers against best in class, by size and sector for each pillar of sustainability and identify development areas.
    •  Obtain consistent year on year ratings, conducted independently by the CIPS Sustainability Index team. Improve your supplier relationships.
  • How much will it cost?

    For Buyers, it is free. for further information view: Click here...

  • You say it’s robust, but how do you make sure a CIPS Sustainability Index score is robust?

    A robust and comprehensive tool, CIPS Sustainability Index is supported by:

    • Sound academic research underpinning the overall design of the index, and developing the question sets and validation scripts.
    • Real world solution for real-life application. Validated by industry mentors from the public and private sectors who have critiqued each step of the CIPS Sustainability Index development process to ensure it is fit for purpose in the real world
    • Developed, endorsed and supported by CIPS who have played a significant part in ensuring the CIPS Sustainability Index which bears their name is both credible and robust
    • A detailed quality control regime that oversees the audit and verification process ensuring consistency enabling a standard for all.
    • PRGX has over 40 years experience delivering robust data and audit related solutions.
    • Our knowledge partners such as the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) who have provided their expert advice and guidance in their specialist field.
  • Aren’t there other tools in the market that already do this? What makes this special?

    Having researched all of the sustainability related indices from around the world over a considerable period, we found that many we either: a private sustainability index developed by a buying organisation for their own purposes, therefore detail was not readily available to those outside of the organisation; or they were an index that addressed just one element of the sustainability, such as carbon emissions / energy usage or at social factors in low cost sourcing environments.
    CIPS Sustainability Index is the only sustainability tool available offering:

    • Independence:  It is the CIPS UK sustainability index developed to support and encourage best practice in the procurement and supply profession
    • Academic underpinning: The CIPS Sustainability Index has been developed in conjunction with UWE to bring academic rigour to its design, methodology and all of its operational elements
    • Reach: The CIPS Sustainability Index enables buyers to obtain a credible view of the sustainability all their suppliers, irrespective of size or sector and enables suppliers to provide their credentials to buyers in a consistent way.
    • Breadth:  CIPS Sustainability Index is comprehensive – covering all three sustainability pillars – economic, social and environmental
    • Benchmarking: The ability for buyers and suppliers to benchmark scores against their industry peers.
    • Risk Management: The ability for buying organisations to identify areas of potential risk as a result of suppliers scoring below average in elements of a sustainability pillar that they consider important for their business reputation or continuity.
    • Continuous Improvement:  The ability for suppliers to identify areas where they are below their industry peers and get on-line advice on what they might consider to effect an improvement..
    • Affordability: CIPS Sustainability Index is priced deliver value to buyers and suppliers at affordable prices.
  • I have suppliers all over the world. Will it be available internationally?

    Yes we will support all suppliers who provide goods or services to UK-based buying organisations regardless of their country of residence.

  • What about its use in the Public Sector?

    We have benefited from close engagement with a number of Government departments through our Industry Mentor programme which has provided us the opportunity to help us align CIPS Sustainability Index with critical public sector objectives such as efficiency, SME engagement and deficit reduction. In addition we have had strong support from both a leading city council and members of the Southern Universities Purchasing Consortium who see the real value that the CIPS Sustainability Index can bring in their sectors. In addition there is a large cross-over of suppliers from the public into the private sector and vice versa. So it is likely that public sector organisations will find that a large number of their suppliers start to appear on the index having been requested to do so by a private sector buying organisation.