Starting in the mid-2000s, climate change and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions began moving to the top of many companies' lists of business concerns and priorities. The focus on those issues grew as the global community became hyper-aware of the effects of climate change and how the habits of individuals as well as organizations were playing a contributing role. Companies that made greenhouse gas emissions and sustainability a priority were also gaining positive public relations and increasing consumer loyalty.
Unfortunately, these initiatives took a back seat during the financial crisis as companies were forced to prioritize corporate survival over reducing their environmental impact. At the same time, many influencers in the business world felt that sustainability initiatives were costly and had little to no positive impact on the bottom line.
Since recovering from those difficult times, many organizations have restarted their sustainability efforts because they want to be good corporate citizens and have the money and workforce available to make a real change and minimize their carbon footprint. As they do so, many are also realizing that they were wrong to believe sustainability initiatives would negatively impact their bottom line. The opposite is actually true; sustainability is an area that can help boost the bottom line and provide a true competitive advantage for companies that choose to implement sustainable practices and policies. For example, recycling parts can help realize savings across manufacturing processes; increased supply chain efficiency can help to minimize "empty miles" spent traveling; and using renewable energy sources can reduce operating costs incurred from month to month.
Supply chain management plays a critical role in any company's sustainability efforts. To
implement sustainability programs that really have an impact—on both the environment and
your business—you must begin to "think green" during the supply chain planning and design
process, not afterward. Doing so will help you to operate efficiently and responsibly while also
increasing profitability. Here are five methods supply chain professionals can implement to help
reduce GHG emissions and positively impact the sustainability profile of their organization:
What's listed above are only a few examples of how sustainable initiatives can help increase profitability in the supply chain. There is no longer a trade-off between going green and growing revenue, and companies looking to increase their business should be seriously considering sustainability practices as part of their long-term growth strategies. Modeling and visualizing their end-to-end supply chain costs can help businesses implement the right changes to achieve these goals. Doing this will not only reduce a company's carbon footprint, it will also help to maintain a competitive advantage and empower decision makers to make a positive impact on their bottom line.