Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain
- Published: 24 Jun 2016
By improving environmental performance throughout the supply chain, companies can reduce their impact towards the environment, conserve resources and save costs. Including sustainability into a company’s supply chain can be complex, but by not including sustainability may be the biggest risk of all. Companies that are willing to take the initiative to become sustainable will also improve their brand as consumers value sustainability in their products. Some steps that companies can take to move towards sustainable supply chains include:
1. Outlining your supply chainKnowing what components are a part of your supply chain will provide a better understanding of what changes need to be made. Also, knowing what is a part of the supply chain will assist in knowing what impacts the supply chain can cause and indicate your carbon footprint. This can provide valuable information as to what can be changed in order to improve the supply chain.
2. Communicate improvementsFocusing on sustainability can be a way to communicate values and culture that would like to be seen in the company. Communicate what aspects of the supply chain are required to change in to order to become more sustainable. This way areas it will be known what areas need to be improved upon.
3. Develop training programsPrior to implementation of a sustainable supply chain, it is important to know how these changes will benefit the supply chain and what resources are available. Having training programs in place will inform employees what will change in the supply chain and how they will change. It is important to educate your employees on the benefits of sustainability and why these changes are in place. A suggestion is to hold a hold a meeting to inform employees of change that will occur and the benefits that will come from the changes.
4. Review current operationsReview current operations and find ways that the supply chain can be optimized. Conducting an audit allows can provide insight as to where changes can be made. Some areas to look into for an audit are:
- Energy use
- Environmental costs
- Water usage
- Transportation emissions
- Materials used
5. Monitor improvementsOnce changes for a sustainable supply chain are in place, it is important to monitor the changes that have been made. Using performance indicators will inform you how the changes have improved the supply chain, what is working and what may need to be changed.
Changes for the future
The main focus of a sustainable supply chain is that it assists in building an eco-friendly company and reduces a company’s environmental impacts.