As logistics and supply chain professionals, our decisions directly impact the environment on a daily basis. While more businesses, both large and small, are doing their part to make their supply chain “green” and to eliminate questionable practices, there is still room for improvement. Taking steps to clean up supply chains are critical not only for the Earth today, but for future generations.
1. Be ready to meet upcoming regulations
If you have not already taken steps to clean up your supply chain, you should know it may eventually be a requirement. While there are already many rules regarding pollution and waste, a number of new ones are being implemented. Making the necessary changes now means less work in the future when these regulations take effect.
2. Have a huge impact on the environment
Emissions from trucks, ships, and every other mode of transportation in the U.S. create a significant, measurable carbon footprint. Small changes like switching to energy-saving light bulbs do make a difference, but larger changes are needed to reduce the real impact.
The best way for a company to go green and save money is by making better decisions within their supply chain in ways that reduce the negative outputs. A simple example is making routing decisions that most effectively minimize greenhouse gas emissions, such as intermodal freight shipping. It’s the daily decisions that will result in the largest environmental impact.
3. Improve your rankings
Supply chains are also getting exposed for better or worse. In addition to new rules and regulations regarding emissions, businesses will soon no longer be able to conceal their lack of accountability within their own supply chains. The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) recently released a report detailing companies’ supply chain engagement and their efforts on emissions reduction. The CDP also plans to start ranking businesses based on their management of carbon and other materials that impact climate change.
4. Save money
Creating a green supply chain is not all about making it harder to operate and creating more expense. Aside from it simply being the right thing to do, there are many other benefits to a sustainable supply chain.
Many companies believe that “going green” will add additional costs to their overall logistics budget, and therefore they are reluctant to make changes. However, reduced emission systems, processes, and practices tend to be more energy efficient. This can save money in several ways, such as lower fuel, electrical, and maintenance costs. Remember that logistics is all about efficiency, so the motivation behind doing better for the environment should not be in conflict with doing what’s best for your supply chain.
5. Get a leg up on the competition
Even if your company is not making eco-friendly changes (yet), it is certain your competitors are. Many businesses, especially larger ones, are making a concerted effort to dedicate resources to reducing emissions and eliminating toxic chemicals from their supply chains; therefore, don’t get left behind.
With an increase in consumer awareness about where their goods are coming from, the need for transparency is greater than ever. Supply chain transparency helps foster an honest and caring public image to your customers. Companies that take steps to be more open have an advantage over companies that can be perceived as “hiding” something.
6. Educate the community
Cleaning up your supply chain not only serves to educate company employees, but it helps to educate consumers and communities on the importance of being environmentally conscientious. Increased education will result in enhanced knowledge about current environmental issues that can even potentially open up new business opportunities.
Now more than ever, the supply chains that drive our global economy have an important effect on the world and our environment. By taking steps toward going green, your business will not only operate better but it will help properly fulfill our collective responsibility as stewards of the earth.