Supply chain sustainability is now a business priority among executives, employees and consumers, says Daniel Bachar, VP of Product Marketing at Logility. He discusses how technology is essential to support traceability, environmental responsibility, fair trade and fair labor.
Increasingly, supply chain sustainability is becoming a key corporate goal as organizations aim to minimize environmental damage and positively influence the people and communities in which they live and do business. Sustainability refers to managing the environmental, social and economic impact of a business in way that reduces harm and benefits the world.
Today’s organizations must be accountable and transparent for their business practices as conscious consumers want to know how products are sourced, all the way from raw materials to labor to finished goods. Consumers aren’t the only ones – employees and investors expect sustainability to be a top priority, too.
Let’s explore the importance of making supply chains more sustainable by gaining greater visibility to drive improvement and minimize negative social and environmental impacts.
Pandemic Heightens Sustainability Awareness
Eighty-three percent of executives responding to the 2021 State of the Supply Chain Sustainability Report said the pandemic either accelerated supply chain sustainability activity or increased awareness and heightened their sense of urgency toward it. This research by the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics further states, “The connection between companies’ track records in sustainability and their ability to win market share and turn profit is likely to strengthen.”
Interestingly, some sustainability-minded eCommerce retailers are going out on a limb and bucking the trend of next-day delivery by offering slower customer deliveries to offset their carbon footprint and reduce waste. By including their sustainability measures in their descriptions, packaging and ads, they are working to inform consumers about the impact of their choices.
Going into 2022, companies not committed to sustainability will have a hard time surviving. This should happen at every level of the supply chain, from sourcing raw materials to suppliers used to delivering products to end customers.
Supply Chain Visibility Matters
This practice of educating shoppers about their choices is in line with companies providing greater visibility in supply chains to satisfy consumer demand to know about the products they purchase: What are they made of? Where do these items come from? Are workers making these products treated well and paid fairly?
Tracking chain of custody ensures compliance. When you couple increasing government regulations with rising consumer demand for ethical and sustainable products, it’s easy to understand why brands should invest in compliance tools that provide tangible evidence to support their claims.
Yet GEODIS research shows 62% of companies have limited visibility of their supply chain, and just 15% have visibility on production. Yet having well-orchestrated, efficient supply chains requires comprehensive visibility – from beginning to end – across the entire network.
An effective traceability solution enables supply chain professionals to view critical information that improves decision-making and helps ensure they meet the company’s sustainability objectives.
Using such data helps improve operations and strengthens brand integrity as it provides product-specific chain of custody information, visibility into every tier of your supplier network, verifiable sustainability claims and compliance with government regulations, among other benefits. Further, traceability solutions leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) can identify risks related to supply disruption and unearth banned or unauthorized suppliers.
A Digital Sustainability Solution is Key
Complacency is not an option. Supply chain sustainability and the visibility that goes along with it is critical – and that involves every single player and supplier from beginning to end. Having that visibility requires technology in the form of a digital supply chain solution that supports traceability, environmental responsibility, fair trade and fair labor.
Supply chain sustainability is invaluable and holds the key to environmental preservation, satisfying consumer and internal stakeholder demand, and increasing your company’s viability and profitability going forward.