According to a Deloitte white paper entitled “The evolving supply chain: Lean and green”, “sustainability and supply chain improvement have traditionally been treated as separate worlds. While many businesses are passionate about cutting costs and boosting supply chain efficiency, some of their most important stakeholders – customers, employees and investors – feel just as strongly about sustainability and social responsibility.”
Furthermore, they point out that major companies have begun to realize that not only can they improve their company and brand reputation, but they can also become more efficient and reduce waste. Not only that but it can help them to better manage shortages and price volatility.
There are five key inputs and outputs that help companies to create value and effect the environment. They are: energy, carbon, water, material and waste.
The good thing is that these inputs and outputs can be some of the easiest ways to reduce costs in a supply chain. In many cases they may only require small changes and have a decent payback involving little or no risk.
Concepts such as near-sourcing, optimized vehicle routing, newer, more fuel efficient engines, and JIT are just some of the many concepts (Lean and otherwise) that can be applied to your supply chain to reduce its impact on the environment and reduce costs.
The bottom line is that it’s not just good for the environment but good for business. If your supply chain is using too much energy, water or materials, or produces too much carbon or waste, then you’re company is a candidate for a Leaner, greener supply chain.