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  • Writer's pictureMicha Veen

How ethical and sustainable Supply Chains deliver financial value

In the last 5 years, Unique Excellence has been delivering Supply Chain and Operational Innovation to support an ethical and sustainable supply chain.

But, what is Supply Chain Sustainability?

Sustainable supply chain management involves integrating environmentally and financially viable practices into the complete supply chain lifecycle, from product design and development, to material selection, (including raw material extraction or agricultural production), manufacturing, packaging, transportation, warehousing, distribution, consumption, return and disposal. Environmentally sustainable supply chain management and practices can assist organizations in not only reducing their total carbon footprint, but also in optimizing their end-to-end operations to achieve greater cost savings and profitability. All supply chains can be optimized using sustainable practices.

Sustainability in the supply chain encapsulates a number of different priorities:

  • Environmental stewardship

  • Conservation of resources

  • Reduction of carbon footprint

  • Financial savings and viability

  • Social responsibility (incl. Modern Slavery)

Supply chain sustainability practices, in order to succeed, must deliver improved environmental performance within a financially viable operating construct.

Why do organisations need a 'sustainable supply chain’?

It is clear that, supply chains, for most organisations, have a far greater impact on the environment than any other part of their operations. While most corporate and public focus has been on the sustainable profile of a product, (i.e. its source and whether it is recyclable), there is a need to spotlight and to understand the sustainability issues related to the transportation and distribution of those products.

Beyond the obvious benefits of reducing overall carbon footprint, and reducing energy and resource consumption, there are many other reasons why organizations should care about sustainability in their supply chains:

- Better bottom line (Profitability enhancements) research and experience has proven that sustainability significantly improves financial results.

- Consumers and Investors recognise the importance of green practices and sustainability - which more and more drives increased sales and share valuation

- Governmental initiatives in many countries provide tax and investment incentives to companies that employ sustainable practices. In a growing number of regions of the world, sustainable practices are governmentally mandated as law (e.g. Modern Slavery Act). This trend is escalating rapidly.

Sustainability is equated with corporate social responsibility and stewardship – with being a good global citizen. The positive public relations exposure from identifying and implementing sustainable supply chain practices can yield numerous benefits for organisations. Additionally, the elimination of waste in the supply chain is a hallmark of sustainability.

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