What is a Good Supply Chain Sustainability Strategy?Dana Colson
A good sustainable supply chain (SCS) strategy can be used to achieve a sustainable supply chain. This strategy aims to create a circular waste-free economy in which every product manufactured will have some life after use, and the products that need recycling at the end of their useful life will be recycled back into raw materials.
Moreover, it provides the product owner with a good image for the products by showing how they are environmentally sound. The main principles for sustainable corporations to achieve this are to reduce and reuse waste at every opportunity, use renewable energy whenever possible, and finally recycle the remaining waste that cannot be reused into raw materials.
A supply chain sustainability strategy may be a challenge for some organizations. However, there are many essential aspects of developing an effective strategy, and companies should not shy away from creating one because it does not seem feasible. Developing a sustainable supply chain can help companies minimize their carbon footprint and reduce their dependency on fossil fuels, thereby preserving resources for future generations. Creating this type of strategy will also allow the business to create a competitive advantage in markets that require ethical responsibility and sustainable practices from suppliers.
There are various ways in which an SCS strategy can be implemented; these include:
1. Remove Waste
One way of creating a sustainable supply chain is to ensure that all waste that has to be discarded is removed. This means that products that are not needed or are no longer useful should be recycled rather than thrown away. Moreover, packaging and promotional material can also be recycled back into raw materials for reuse in production processes, thus reducing waste and producing less pollution. This is particularly applicable for plastic packaging, which has multiple uses after the end of its useful life as a container.
2. Reduce Packaging Materials
The best way to reduce packaging waste is to ensure that companies use just enough packaging materials for their products. This can be achieved by designing products so that they are easy to carry, use and store by the consumer, and if there is no need for any packaging material, then eliminate it. For example, companies should consider using reusable or durable packaging instead of single-use or disposable ones.
3. Source From Sustainable Suppliers
Plastic waste is becoming a great threat to the environment. Plastic bags and other disposable plastic items can be found floating in the ocean, on the roads, in the food chain, and even being used to make new products. This means that eliminating plastic packaging will be beneficial to the environment as they are made from non-renewable resources. Companies should source their packaging materials from sustainable companies that use recycled materials in their manufacturing process. This will help reduce the use of landfill space and enable businesses to gain a competitive advantage in value chains that require ethical responsibility.
4. Reduce Energy Requirements
Companies need to consider how much energy is required to create a product. This means that companies should try to design products that require less energy during production and transportation to minimize their environmental impact. Companies can achieve this by reducing transportation costs, using renewable energies, and seeking ways to increase efficiency in the production processes.
5. Reduce Inventory
Companies often make products in bulk to reduce the cost of material and labor waste. However, this can create a lot of inventory waste. Companies should consider keeping less inventory on hand by using new streamlined manufacturing processes or seek ways to keep the production process automated to speed up production processes to reduce the disruption of the environment from unnecessary transportation.
6. Cut Carbon Emissions
Companies should also try to cut their carbon emissions; this could be done by reducing their manufacturing processes or by reducing the amount of transportation involved in moving goods from one location to another. This can be achieved by having larger distribution centers closer to consumers to reduce the distance products have to travel. Furthermore, companies should use renewable energies for manufacturing and transporting products around a supply chain, such as solar power, hydropower, and wind power.
7. Maintain Compliance
Companies should also maintain their environmental and social standards at all times; they should ensure that they comply with all regulations. In addition, companies should consider the types of products they are manufacturing and if these require any special laws or regulations, such as REACH. This means that companies should be aware of the social and environmental issues surrounding them and try to keep up with current developments in terms of product design or production methods.
A sustainable supply chain strategy can help companies create a greener supply chain, reduce their environmental footprint, and help gain a competitive advantage in markets where ethical standards are required from suppliers. Therefore, companies must consider implementing a sustainable supply chain strategy as part of their environmental and business plans to reduce their negative environmental impact and gain an economic advantage.