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The Importance of Sustainability in the Supply Chain

Sustainability is fast becoming a number one priority for businesses around the globe. With a growing demand from customers who are eager for greater transparency, businesses must do more to ensure their supply chain practices are crystal clear.

Issues of sustainability such as global exploitation, deforestation and greenhouse gases are constantly in the public eye and organisations that fail to be clear about their practices are damaging the customer-company trust that’s so central to a business’s image and profitability.

Sustainability issues

One of the biggest issues with supply chain sustainability is that many businesses aren’t actually aware how sustainable their supply chain is. Supply chains are long, complicated process and can be fragmented multiple times the further down the line they go.

This makes it hard for a single person to keep track and is why logistics experts are brought in to assist businesses looking to improve their supply chain processes.

From the environmental impact of raw materials used, to the treatment of local farmers and workers, there are many things that can make a supply chain unsustainable.

Another issue businesses face when trying to create a sustainable supply chain is that they try too hard to enforce compliance by religiously monitoring policies, rather than promoting it as a two-way project.

It’s been proven that this method of sustainability doesn’t work. Companies should be doing more to create stronger relationships throughout the supply chain, as well as with their suppliers and stakeholders.

Collaboration and commitment

Sustainability is everyone’s problem, which is why collaboration is so important for businesses looking to improve their supply chain.

Business owners and even stakeholders are becoming increasingly aware of how damaging an unethical and unsustainable supply chain can be.

If key players in the supply chain have a better understanding of what owners and stakeholders want in terms of sustainability, it’s easier for them to look at more innovative ways to improve in this area.

Of course, there can be gaps in knowledge at both ends about what’s sustainable and what isn’t, which further promotes the importance of collaboration and communication.

Minimising greenhouse gases and costs

Greenhouse gas is a big problem for supply chains and can increase the size of a company’s carbon footprint dramatically. Believe it or not, working to reduce the amount of greenhouse gas produced in the supply chain can actually save suppliers money.

Walmart in America is a prime example of this. After pledging to reduce its emissions by 20 billion tonnes by the year 2020, they, along with other major companies managed to save their suppliers around 12.6 billion in 2016 alone.

It’s all about understanding where emissions are coming from, then working with supply chain experts to find the easiest and most convenient way to tackle those areas.

green supply chains

Making an impact throughout your chain

Many businesses will find that by making one small change to an unsustainable area of their supply chain, they can generate a positive impact throughout.

With many chains spanning across multiple cities and countries, it can be easy to forget that every piece is interlinked and that even the smallest of gestures can have a big impact.

For expert advice on improving your supply chains including its sustainability talk to Total Logistics. There supply chain consultants help brands and businesses create strong effective global supply chains.

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