6 easy steps to making your Supply Chain more sustainable

Dec 20, 2021

There has been a lot of talk in the market for a while on sustainable supply chains. This has continued in 2021 with the added complication of the global pandemic. We all remember the amazing time-lapse images of the world with reduced pollution. The supply chains that provided toilet paper and pasta to the masses and the industries who pivoted their business to local supply, supporting fantastic sustainable initiatives. 

While we all want the world to go back to normal…There is a huge groundswell for our supply chains to hold on to any sustainable edge they may have. For SME’s the challenge is how to continue this and align a sustainable approach to their strategy.  

The UN Sustainable Development goals provide a fantastic framework for the initiatives on Sustainable Supply chains. Within the 17 targets, a clear set of defined targets can be set based on the priorities for your business

1. Know your suppliers

Never has this been more important. During Covid, some routes and suppliers were turned off like a tap and businesses had to quickly adapt to new supply routes. For highly regulated industries, this was a nightmare as second and third-tier suppliers were unable to deliver. 

It is critical that you know your suppliers and understands the most significant environmental and social challenges they bring and prioritise your efforts.  

2. Involve your suppliers 

When you know which of your suppliers have the biggest impact, sustainable performance should be baselined within a clear framework. Consider how you select, monitor and manage these suppliers. Sustainable results cannot be achieved in isolation. It is important that you align and discuss your priorities with them to drive best practice, innovation and progress on all sustainability topics.

3. Set targets and priorities 

Set appropriate and achievable targets for your supply chain on sustainability topics. Communicate these within the business, your suppliers and your customers. It’s amazing what happens if you start measuring your actions.  

4. Look Around 

It’s important to look at what your competitors or industry is doing on this topic. If they are doing nothing of substance, you may be able to ‘lead from the front' and take a competitive advantage. If not, benchmark your efforts against others and learn from them.  

 5. Consider going digital 

By transforming your digitally transforming your supply chain you are naturally saving, resources, time and money and preparing your business for the long term. By Connecting, Sales to operations and even deeper into the supply chain, you are making your employees lives easier and improving collaborations.  

6. Start now 

There is no better time than now, to act. No matter how small your first step is you will improve your business image, engagement with employees and customers, reduce your costs and have a competitive advantage.  

Get in touch if you want more information on our Sustainable X™ Framework and certification to help you become a Sustainable X™ business.  

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