Sustainability is a word that has gone from a misunderstood buzzword to an essential business practice. Modern consumers want to frequent businesses that are good stewards of the resources required to bring their products to market.
Creating supply chain sustainability requires companies to analyze each step of their process to identify areas where they could implement more sustainable business practices.
How to Implement Sustainability Practices
While in many cases it is not possible to overhaul manufacturing processes immediately, setting a sustainability goal and creating attainable benchmarks is a good way for companies to start down the path to sustainability. There are several organizations, such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) that have created benchmarks that can help companies determine how sustainable their current supply chain practices are and what it will take to modify them.
One way that companies can begin to create a more sustainable manufacturing process is to identify suppliers who use sustainable methods to supply needed resources, and then efficiently using those sustainable resources during the production process. Product packaging is another area where companies can cut waste while simultaneously saving money and preserving valuable resources. Reducing the amount of product packaging and utilizing recycled materials is a good way to boost supply chain sustainability, and these strategies can be utilized when deciding on packaging for shipping items as well.
Of course, transporting items is a big part of any supply chain, and establishing environmentally friendly transport practices is an essential part of creating more sustainable transportation policies. Practices such as streamlining transport routes, establishing recycling programs for discarded tires, and maintaining transport vehicles to reduce the level of pollution emitted are all important practices that companies can adopt.
Some companies are even taking the extra step of creating programs that allow consumers to trade-in older versions of their products when they decide to upgrade to a newer model, or simply want to responsibly discard an older item. These types of programs allow companies to be good stewards of the products they are sending out into the marketplace, and to ensure that the discarded products are recycled or appropriately disposed of.
Improving supply chain sustainability is an ongoing process that should be continuously adjusted as innovation expands the window of what is possible. All companies should be taking steps to analyze their supply chain in an effort to find ways to implement more sustainable practices that will ultimately reduce their carbon footprint and increase their long-term profitability.
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