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Mayuri Vyas is a diversity and sustainability champion at WSP

Mayuri Vyas is a diversity and sustainability champion at WSP

 October 18, 2021

WSP Procurement Program Manager, Mayuri Vyas, is changing mindsets and behaviours through sustainable procurement and social value.

Mayuri believes that diversity of thought triggers innovation, problem solving and creativity.

Mayuri explains how her work aligns with her values, why building strong foundations are vital to deliver a greener future, and how sustainable procurement is a business imperative.

How did you enter program management and what do you enjoy most? 

I studied business management at university and spent 14 years in procurement roles across various industries. I moved into a human resources role and that sparked an interest and pull towards project management. The role I do now is a happy marriage of the two skill sets; my procurement experience, a function that engages with stakeholders across the business to generate best value on third party goods and services, and my project management experience, mapping out journeys and timelines to deliver change. You must be people-centric, able to engage and build relationships, and be quite methodical. That’s where the two skill sets are unique. 

Can you describe your role and the outcomes you help achieve?

There are multiple strands to my role. In terms of focus areas, it’s very much about net zero and generating social value through our third-party engagements. To incorporate sustainable procurement, we consider economics, the environment and diversity, which means connecting with micro and small to medium sized businesses, underrepresented groups or ethnic minority-owned and women-owned businesses. It’s about removing some of the blockers that have historically stopped some of these underrepresented groups from being able to engage with big corporations. Often, these are the businesses that bring agility, together with fresh and innovative thinking. 

How can a sustainable supply chain established impact the future of business?

WSP's roadmap includes implementing sustainable measurements and targets that some of our third parties must meet from the outset. We ask them things like, do they have an environmental policy? Have they got a net zero target? Do they publish their carbon footprint? Then once these suppliers are on board, we measure the social value of working with them. It’s becoming a business imperative that we operate in this way. When we're bidding for projects, social value and sustainable procurement is becoming a consistent part of that. It’s how we are going to continue to work from now on, and it’s the right thing to do. 

What are scope three emissions and how can they be reduced ? 

Scope three emissions refer to anything outside of the core of what we do as a business, from our business travel to the things we invest in. So how do we measure, track and improve metrics around that? Here at WSP, we’re developing a new framework on how to implement sustainable procurement, and we’re about to release an updated policy which will help people to recognise these requirements early in the procurement process – this is critical. One of the things I value about my role is how I can engage with people across the business. We encourage people to think about social value when they previously may have only considered the suppliers that they know and have used before; that’s natural, so it’s about changing mindsets.

What motivates your tenacity when projects take time to come to fruition?

As a woman and an ethnic minority, my work is aligned to my values particularly around diversity. My son is neuro-diverse, so thinking about inclusion, and a future where his potential differences are sought after and catered for, speaks to me as an individual and the core of who I am.

What are the skills and characteristics needed to be a good leader? 

It really comes down to emotional intelligence. It’s about listening, understanding priorities, asking questions and reading the room. When you're working on a project, you need to understand there might be an element of it that’s not quite working or doesn't feel right to people. So, you need to explore and investigate what's happening and think about how we can make it work for everyone, listen to concerns and address them as best you can. Project management can be quite technical and linear, so you need to be able to adapt so that it works for those who you are trying to mobilise. It requires great people skills. 

What are you working towards or hoping to achieve?

One of the key projects I’m working on is embedding social value and sustainability across our procurement activity, this includes updating our procurement policy and creating a new Supply Chain Social Value Charter. We recently held a workshop on sustainable procurement to identify key opportunities; from reducing waste to landfill to tackling carbon emissions. The next phase of this work will prioritise those opportunities where we feel we can have the biggest impact in the shortest time possible. 

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