Monday, March 18, 2013

Supply Chain and Sustainability

Greenbiz and Supply Chain Insights conduct a survey on the different thoughts of supply chain organizations and sustainability organizations in a company.  This is very telling since I truly believe sustainability should be embedded in the operations of Supply Chain.  One certain way for sustainability to fail is for a company to believe it is the job of some "office" in corporate headquarters.

The chart to the left shows how disconnected the two are in many areas including supplier training and 3rd party audits.  While I think the audits are very good and should be used I find it very insightful to see that the sustainability offices believe industry consortium's are of more value than the supply chain individuals.

All of this has many facets to it and can be argued one or the other however the key message here is the two groups, sometimes within the same company are not aligned as to a strategy on how to execute against sustainability goals   When this alignment fails to occur you can almost be assured the goals themselves are in jeopardy.

Sustainability must be embedded in the 5 key areas of supply chain:

  1. Extraction / procurement
  2. Conversion
  3. Distribution
  4. Use
  5. Disposal
If the operators of each of these areas are just going about their business and expecting a message from "on high" to tell them what to do I believe they are mistaken.  In each case, the operators must execute within the context  of the overall sustainability goals of a company.  This, of course, does not just mean carbon reduction but includes:
  1. Fair trade type practices (not allowing child labor, bad work conditions, conflict minerals etc.)
  2. Zero waste
  3. Replace (if you have to extract, how do you replace to make a greener environment)
  4. Reduction of all green house gases
  5. Design of product so the use of the product will be sustainable
  6. Renewable energy
  7. Re-usable packaging and product
Of course there are a lot more and I just wanted to show that this cannot be done waiting on an expert.  Each and over operator must embed these ideas into their operation.  

1 comment:

  1. Do you subscribe to any other websites about this? I'm struggling to find other reputable sources like yourself

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