Exploring global sustainable supply chain initiatives

In this day and age, it seems that we are using up all of our resources. Every other day, there are news pieces about what's running out, the earth getting warmer or even sometimes the end of days (though the expected causes range from human error to an alien takeover). And though the news may seem bleak at times, we are also in an age where we are aware of how the Earth is responding to our habits and we have the technology and information to make better and more environmentally friendly decisions.

In the supply chain, the nature of the beast is production and movement. There are many processes that are so deeply ingrained in the system that they might be hard to change. However, it is our duty as humans who inhabit this planet to make the effort and create an environment for the supply chain that is effective and sustainable. Corporations around the world have already shifted gears to accommodate the changing tides.

Leader of the pack

Many people claim that making a change happens one step at a time. However, there are quite a few global enterprises that have adjusted their supply chain and delivery processes so quickly that it appears they've sprinted toward environmentally conscious solutions.

In honor of Earth Day, SupplyChain247 acknowledged giants of the consumer products world that have made impressive progress in sustainable and rewarding supply chain practices. Of those listed, Unilever perhaps has the widest reach of products that the general public consumes. According to the company, Unilever has made a vow to reduce its CO2 emissions by half, even though production has only increased. The consumer goods manufacturer is well on its way to producing less carbon dioxide and using less water in its manufacturing.

The list of efforts continues and includes lessening deforestation, promoting small farmers and green farming practices and making climate change a topic of discussion for all those involved in the supply chain process. With Unilever at the helm, other businesses, no matter the size, can take a page from its book and make some long-lasting and important decisions pertaining to manufacturing and delivery.

Making real waves

Even though there are fantastic role models like Unilever and Ikea for other companies to follow, many businesses around the world aren't entirely riding the wave of change. It would appear that motivating firms to go green is only effective for getting companies to the base compliance levels, reported TriplePundit. After the bare minimum is met, businesses have no reason or incentive to move forward with improved efforts, instead maintaining the same level and making no effort to keep the ball rolling.

It is up to the C-suite to ensure the supply chain is running at maximum capacity yet adhering to environmentally smart standards. Sustainable performance is critical, noted the source, and engagement is perhaps the most important approach to ensure longevity of the initiative. Engaging suppliers in sustainable practices can sometimes be precarious, but properly educating and collaborating with all parties is a great first step toward sustainable practices without risking the supplier relationship.

Looking forward

These are not initiatives that can happen overnight, or even in the course of a month. They take careful planning and execution to make sure that every manufacturer, supplier and delivery system is on the same page. Not all attempts will be successful on the first try, but the important thing is to find a solution that keeps business booming and the Earth blooming.

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