Gaining a Supply Chain Edge

Defining Sustainability in the Supply Chain

There are almost as many definitions of “sustainability” as there are shades of green.

One thing that energy and supply chain experts can agree on, however, is that sustainability is one of the most significant issues facing businesses today.

So how do we define sustainability? How can we create “greener” supply chains? Are there really profit opportunities for companies along the way?

These are just a few of the questions in my mind when I started reading the new white paper, Why Sustainability Matters in Your Supply Chain. It was written by Tompkins and American Energy Solutions to provide a joint energy and supply chain perspective. 

There’s no doubt that sustainability is entering a new phase that promises a broad impact on supply chains. It covers the entire organization on the demand side as well as the supply side.

From a supply chain view, you can help the environment and create profit opportunities by taking actions such as:

  • Reducing emissions from manufacturing processes;
  • Utilizing more efficient transportation modes such as LTL (less than truck load) rather than parcel;
  • Ensuring that your distribution network is properly sized for customer needs; and
  • Replacing facilities with more modern warehouse technologies that use less energy.

Companies that are ahead of the sustainability curve are the ones writing the rules, cutting costs, avoiding risks, and winning public relations battles. Reducing emissions and energy consumption and realizing greater profits are not mutually exclusive.

So what steps is your company taking toward a greener supply chain? Are there lessons you have learned in the journey to sustainability?


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