Sustainable Supply Chain Initiatives Booming
There’s an incredible amount of activity taking place in the area of sustainable supply chains. Because supply chain challenges are so broad, it is hard to capture the full scope of what’s happening. In those situations, I tend to look for examples of activities that are having a real impact on business. Here are a few such examples:
- Wal-Mart, which has launched a host of sustainable supply chain programs, implemented a new supplier packaging scorecard on February 1 that formally rates suppliers on their progress toward developing sustainable packaging, as well as their ability to help Wal-Mart reach its company-wide sustainability goals to reduce waste, use renewable energy and sell sustainable products.
- HP recently published a set of guidelines aimed at helping large corporations encourage sustainability throughout their supply chain. The goal is to help multinationals better equip their suppliers — especially small and medium-sized business — to effectively compete in the global market while improving environmental standards.
- One of the organizations Lawson has been talking to about supply chain sustainability is the European Supply Chain Institute (ESCI). ESCI is a member-driven organization that researches all areas that will have a direct, positive impact within the supply chain. Last September, ESCI formed a new group called the Supply Chain Carbon Council to research issues related to carbon emissions in the supply chain and make recommendations.
So what’s one of the main paths the Supply Chain Carbon Council is taking to help address carbon emissions? Information technology. Here is the Council’s position:
“Businesses need to focus less on how IT contributes to their environmental impact and more on how IT can help lessen the environmental impact of their supply chain operations. While making IT more green must remains a concern, there are areas where deploying more IT can significantly contribute to making an organization’s supply chain activities more environmentally sustainable.”Ě
I think this is an innovative strategy. Admittedly, I have a bias in this area because I work for a software company, but the reality is we need to approach our sustainability issues from many angles, and there’s a mounting belief that IT can be a key contributor.