Supply Chain Sustainability-The sustainable supply chain has become a vital – and ever more visible – element of social corporate responsibility.
Fueled by consumer demands, increasing regulations and a mounting business case, steering supply chains in a more sustainable direction has grown from laudable ambition to requisite for long-term preservation.
A sustainable supply chain is about far more than the environment, though that’s where consumers might focus their attention. Sustainability is a confluence of social, ecological and economic environments. A sustainable supply chain must avoid compromising both the environment and the business itself.
It’s also important to recognise that a “responsible” supply chain isn’t necessarily the same thing as a “sustainable” supply chain. A responsible supply chain typically ensures it operates within all legal and ethical parameters. This doesn’t affirm sustainability, however. A sustainable supply chain takes into account environmental and societal reference points. The sustainable chain requires that all partners consider how their processes and actions can be supported by nature and society over the long term.
There’s no quick and easy path to sustainability, but the right supply chain solutions can help your business strive toward, and eventually achieve, a bottom line defined by not just profit but also by people and the planet.
Create a detailed map
Little, if nothing, can be accomplished within your supply chain if you don’t have useful visibility of it. Shockingly few companies actually have detailed views of their entire supply chains, which are more complex and global than ever. Mapping your entire supply chain is the starting point. A quality map of your supply chain will allow you to identify impacts, risks and drivers of waste.
This “aerial” view of the chain can help you understand environmental, economic and social challenges faced by suppliers. These can be extremely variable based on your industry, but a thorough map of the chain accounts for how human and natural resources are used along each step of operational and production process.
Educate and change the culture
Some measures to sustainability require not only procedural changes, but behavioral and cultural changes. An important step to achieving sustainability is earning buy-in from your own staff and that of suppliers. Education and training resources can help align everyone with the mission. Showcase success stories and leverage successful case studies to build momentum within your organisation and throughout the chain. Develop training programs that instill the mission from the time new employees are onboarded.