What is green supply chain management?
There is currently little consensus as to a definition but Srivastara, 2007 provides the following useful definition: “Integrating environment thinking into supply chain management, including product design, material sourcing and selection, manufacturing processes, delivery of the final product to the consumers, and end-of-life management of the product after its useful life”.
Business Link have identified two clear sets of benefits from making your supply chain as green as possible – these are:
There are straightforward, low-cost things that every business can do to make a positive difference to the environment, what you decide to buy and whom you decide to buy from can make a difference. Making chain of supply as green as possible needn’t be difficult. Small steps – such as ensuring that suppliers are using recycled or recyclable materials where possible and that their packaging is minimised and sustainable – can have a significant impact if they’re taken by enough businesses.
There are two main types of business benefit.:
- Potential cost reductions achieved largely through increased resource efficiency.
- Customer preferences and enhanced reputation. Both businesses and consumers are increasingly using environmental issues as a criterion in their purchasing decisions.
So how would you go about greening your supply chain?
Microsoft’s Midsize Business Centre gives the following advice:
1. Develop a strategic plan, set clear, comprehensive objectives for your green chain initiative.
2. Assess your current environmental impact.
3. Implement green practices internally.
4. Address your suppliers’ environmental responsibility.
5. Communicate your company’s environmental policies to your suppliers, and have them complete a self-assessment questionnaire about current practices. Audit the responses to ensure they’re accurate. If a vendor is out of compliance with one of your requirements, help it develop a remediation plan.