3 steps towards a more sustainable supply chain

Greater customer loyalty, improved staff engagement, more business innovation and better returns; these are just some of the benefits of sustainable business operations. Despite this, not all businesses consider sourcing partnerships and materials that drive supply chain sustainability.

It’s not that surprising bearing in mind the challenges involved. With today’s customer expecting far more social responsibility and transparency around the products and services they buy, you need to work hard. This begins with tracing the original source of the materials to verify a partner’s green credentials – something that can prove problematic in less-regulated nations.

Despite the challenges, there’s a great deal you can do to improve efficiency and gain a competitive edge while making sustainability central to your offering. The following tips will help you on your way to securing ethically and environmentally sourced resources.

1 Set high standards for suppliers

The higher your standards, the more you’ll get from your suppliers. Agricultural commodities (for example, coffee, soy or beef) should have certifications of sustainability guaranteeing sound land-management practices from farmers.

For example, Walmart is determined to work only with suppliers willing to comply with its standards. The retailer issues potential suppliers with a list of questions, covering water use, greenhouse gas emissions, employment practices and more, scoring them on a Sustainability Index. This process filters out sub-standard suppliers, drives product quality and helps to elevate customer trust.

2 Use technology to monitor the supply chain

True transparency comes through meticulously mapping the supply chain. Supply chain globalisation makes such validation tougher, however this process is vital. This is where digital platforms can help.

Blockchain technology allows you to trace the movement of each product from one verified destination to the next. Using this technology, big-name companies such as Unilever are working to create safer, more secure supply chains. Not only does this help companies track costs at each stage of the product lifecycle, it holds the company environmentally accountable.

3 Foster partnerships with a common goal

Sustainability initiatives can only flourish with the support of strong partnerships. This means identifying key partners who share your values, goals and commitment to sustainability.

An MIT Sloan Management Review study from 2009 to 2016 revealed that even though 90% of executives believe sustainability success is a result of collaboration, only 47% felt their companies were working with stakeholders to shape strategic change.

Wherever you are on the journey towards supply chain sustainability, it’s important to ensure you impart your company values to your partners. Sustainability is more than just believing in sustainability. It’s about sharing a viewpoint about why sustainability matters to both of your businesses.

If you’re looking to create a more sustainable supply chain for your business, get in touch with the team at Adare International today: hello@adareinternational.com.


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