How green is your supply chain?

How green is your supply chain?

Operations | Posted by - May 30, 2014 at 12:00 am

You think your workplace is green, but do your efforts truly represent a green product or service? Examine your supply chain's sustainability. Sustainable supply chain management could improve your reputation and increase revenues in the long run.

Customers can access information about the provenance of their goods. If you show them that your goods and services are delivered via a green supply chain, you may be able to expand your market. If you can't give them the answers they seek, they could find someone else who can. It may be advantageous to consider sustainable supply chain management.

Knowing your suppliers' practices is important because, as the provider to the end user, you are accountable for the whole supply chain. Despite your own efforts to be green, any flaws along your supply chain can reflect poorly on your business. You could avoid negative publicity by promoting ethically sound products or services.

Collecting data from all the partners along your supply chain is costly, but can create the transparency that adds value to your business. Sharing this data with your customers allows them to make informed decisions.

Ask your suppliers about their commitment to sustainability and their green practices. Do they speak with passion or merely repeat a corporate policy? Present many questions, such as:

  • What resources do you use?
  • What is the impact on the climate?
  • What chemicals do you use?
  • What conditions do you provide for the workers?

However, if you're not yet prepared to conduct in-depth audits of your supply chain, greening might have to start on a small scale. If you can't influence how your products are manufactured, perhaps you can change how they are transported or disposed of. There's always room to improve or work more leanly. Consider hiring an outside consultant to look at your practices objectively.

How can you make a difference?

  • Buy local
  • Avoid rush shipping and delivery
  • Reduce excess inventory
  • Green your packaging

Even if you aren't a leader yet, you can stay ahead of the pack by getting started. This is a long-term commitment that requires a shift in thinking. Greening your supply chain may raise your standards and those of your suppliers. This could help raise the bar for your competitors as well, if they want to keep up with you.

Learn more about supply chain management and environment and business.

Tags: environmental, operations, supply chain, sustainability

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Shari Blanchard
January 31, 2016 at 2:42 pm
Great article!