Friday, October 21, 2011

Sustainable Supply Chain Integration

An integrated sustainable supply chain, involves life-cycle management. That means considering all the steps of a manufacturing process, and all the links in the supply chain and value chain to the end of a product’s life and beyond (ie how it is disposed of).

Large corporations are realizing the importance accountability, transparency, ethical conduct, and respect for stakeholders’ interests, human rights, rule of law, and international norms of behavior in managing internal and external stakeholder expectations.

Sustainble supply chain integration is not only for large corporations it is also for SMEs. These same principles can be applied holistically throughout the entire supply/value chain.

Every product has a hidden human health, environmental and social impact along the entire supply chain. The challenge is to bring sustainable procurement into a central decision making role in line with organizational business goals.

A smart way to integrate involves testing innovative technologies as a way to reduce the product environmental footprint. Most importantly, integration involves promoting social responsibility throughout the entire supply chain; and stimulating demand for socially responsible goods and services.

Here are five basic points that contribute to sustainable supply chain integration:
  1. In procurement and purchasing decisions, use criteria that select ethically and socially responsible products and companies;
  2. Examine your value chain/supply chain and be sure that you are paying enough to enable your suppliers to fulfill their own responsibilities;  
  3. Promote broader adoption of social responsibility through networks of manufacturing associations and business sector colleagues;
  4. Seek business to business and peer network support to collaboratively develop best methods and approaches, leverage resources and document benefits;
  5. Treat suppliers and customers/consumers fairly and equitably.
It is not always easy to integrate sustainable resource use and management to make manufacturing steps environmentally friendly. However, integration that relies on these values and principles of operation benefit the triple bottom line.

© 2011, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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Ben Benjabutr said...

I work in procurement area. When it comes to sustainability in supply chain, I always try to use local sourcing as much as possible. The reason is that we can check easier if suppliers comply with social/environmental standard.

The Green Market Oracle said...

Thanks for the comment Ben. While I generally agree with your comment, there are exceptions to the rule. See the article I wrote on the subject below

Buying Local: To Buy or Not to Buy?