Chain reaction

Companies need to take a long-term, impact-based approach when transitioning to a sustainable supply chain, says Anuj Saush

The era of responsible business is now upon us, with more and more companies embracing sustainability – including in their supply chains. Most companies tend to start their sustainable procurement programme by focusing on environmental issues, but recent legislation (such as the California Transparency in Supply Chains Act [2012], the UK’s Modern Slavery Act [2015] and France’s Corporate Duty of Vigilance Law [2017]) has provided fresh impetus for companies to manage social dimensions of the supply chain, such as child labour, human rights, slavery and working conditions. Increased media interest, evolving expectations of what’s acceptable in relation to environmental and social practices, and consumer activism have also pressured companies into adopting a more holistic approach to sustainable supply chain management. Embracing sustainable procurement practices can help companies manage business risks, achieve cost savings through material efficiency gains, enhance brand reputation, and manage suppliers more effectively.

Sustainable supply chain: drivers  

However, while some companies are pioneering sustainable procurement initiatives to drive impact and create value, many do not have the resources or in house knowledge to go beyond a tick-box approach. A review of the sustainable supply chain-related KPIs of about 60 large global companies indicated that most use process-based indicators, such ...

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