A common word and theme in numerous supply chain journals and best practices echos the word "supply chain sustainability", but what does that term really mean?

Many think of supply chain sustainability as going "green" to help out the environment while creating profit opportunities as well. Whereas some think it's a business issue affecting an organizations logistics network as it affects the environment. Both thoughts are correct.

Supply chain sustainability can concern process and technology improvement that look beyond the inventory and costs of goods and services, but can also concern, at a larger scope, our environment as a whole. As stated in the UN's Supply Chain Sustainability, a Practical Guide for Continuous Improvement, "Supply chain sustainability is the management of environmental, social and economic impacts, and the encouragement of good governance practices, throughout the life cycle of good and services. The objective of supply chain sustainability is to create, protect, and grow long-term environmental, social, and economic value for all stakeholders involved in bringing products and services to market."

For large companies who wish to promote supply chain sustainability, partnership is key. For example, the Alliance for the Innovation and Operational Excellence (AIOE), has a diverse membership that includes global leaders like Del Monte, Sunny Delight, and PepsiCo, and is working together with Ecodesk. Ecodesk is a sustainability database and communications platform that allows its users to improve the performance of their supply chain while keeping environmental, social, and governance metrics in mind. The partnership will allow AIOE members transparency in their supply chain and provides members with better communication channels in regards to their sustainability efforts with customers.

What measures did your company take to promote supply chain sustainability? If you haven't already done so, it's wise to start thinking about. This is one of the new criteria that separate business leaders from followers.
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