A sustainable supply chain can refer to keeping it consistently productive. However, in this context, we will consider everything from an environmental, social and economic point of view. How will a supply chain be able to provide long-term sustainability to the company, planet and people?
It is increasingly important to see things in an environmental light. Not only are consumers becoming more aware of their individual and collective carbon footprint, but also the world’s waste is ballooning with a bleak future on our horizon if we continue down this path. In a busy, globalised world where single-use items are second nature, what is the importance of a sustainable supply chain?
Unfortunately, all too often, a supply chain can come hand-in-hand with toxic waste, water pollution, air pollution, deforestation and the destruction of natural ecosystems. A company’s great impact on the environment can cost in various ways. We all live on this planet and as such, we all are impacted by the welfare of the planet. Therefore, a company’s carefree attitude towards environmental sustainability will eventually affect themselves negatively.
Consumers are increasingly caring about the environment and its longevity. Not only are they aware of environmental issues, but they are demanding the same attitudes from companies. As such, businesses have responded to exemplify the standards their consumers have come to expect. This will facilitate long-term loyalty, trust and ultimately company growth.
Social and Moral Conscience
The second perspective the business must have on its supply chain sustainability is the social impact it has. It is important for companies to become less concerned with whose head they can stand on to get ahead and more concerned with ways to ensure they are not lonely up on their pedestal by helping everyone get ahead. Consumers are also becoming concerned with how their decisions impact their fellow man and what they can do to minimise this impact and improve their quality of life. Again, it is important to embody these values not only for the company’s own moral benefit but also to strengthen its relationships with its customers.
How can your business implement a sustainable supply chain?
- Develop a sustainable plan for the company that incorporates its values and goals
- Reflect on your current supply chain(s) and how sustainable they are
- Curate a policy for your customers and suppliers that outlines your beliefs and values, and how the policy will support them.
- Consider every aspect of your supply chain and the impact on all stakeholders involved
- Rectify any identified issues
In summary, the supply chain is an extremely important part of a business but due to globalisation and the need to constantly improve the bottom line while also increasing efficiency, exploitation has become common place. The world is waking up and listening now however, and it has become even more important that the company does the same. So, are you going to listen?
Article by Melanie Chan in collaboration with our team of Unleashed Software inventory and business specialists. Melanie has been writing about inventory management for the past three years. When not writing about inventory management, you can find her eating her way through Auckland.