According to a recent article from the Australian School of Business at the University of NSW, organisations’ biggest opportunities and challenges lie outside their own operations. To really green up, you need to green your supply chain. The 2012 annual conference of the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business identified four pressing issues in this regard.
- The need to look beyond the ‘low-hanging fruit’ to find long-term solutions.
- The need to overcome obstacles to operating sustainability such as consumer reluctance to pay a premium for green, the complexity of modern supply chains and the large capital investment often required. Fortunately, these obstacles are being progressively balanced by increasing regulation, the money organisations can save through greener operations and the need to maintain a positive brand image.
- The need to develop robust information systems that merge environmental and economic data and make results available to all stakeholders; spreadsheets just can’t handle the complex environmental data required.
- The need to improve transportation; although it’s only about 4% of the global supply chain, it’s one of the ripest areas for reform. Combining trips, switching to alternative fuels and fuel-efficient shipping, reducing wasteful product returns, and reusing material rather than sending it to landfills are just a few of the options available.
Questions for discussion
What inroads to making its supply chain greener has your organisation made?
Brainstorm 10 actions your organisation could take now to green up its supply chain.