Sustainability is our generation’s biggest challenge. Supporting Sustainability is the right thing to do even though the expected benefit is some times hard to quantify or takes a long time to materialize. That is often the case when it comes to Sustainability in the supply chain. Your suppliers may balk at it, resist it and in some cases even ignore it. But your customers want your suppliers to be sustainable. You should too.
For supply chain professionals that prefer quantitative and rational approaches to inventory management, optimization, demand planning, etc. Sustainability can seem like an emotional endeavor built on a shifting sand of stakeholder concerns and priorities. What you will find is that ensuring Sustainability in the supply chain is firstly a lot more about common sense. Secondly, you will also find it that it is not that difficult to find common cause with your supplier to make the world a better place, at least better for the places and people that are impacted by your supply chain activities. Finally, you will need cooperation of your supplier as well as multitude of other stakeholders (auditors, regulatory agencies, not-for-profit organizations…) to make this successful. Fortunately, some of the sustainability aspects in the supply chain are directly driven via regulatory requirements such as Reduction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), REACH and Conflict Minerals. Others such as labor standards, occupational health standards and performance, environmental footprint of supplier activities, community involvement and impact are more convoluted and require intensive collaboration with the supplier. You have at your disposal carrots or sticks to compel your supplier to do the right thing. You may end up using both.
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