Entering The Green Supply Chain

November 7, 2012, 9:11 am Climate Friendly Yahoo!7

Climate Friendly examines how your business can become part of the green supply chain, and the benefits of doing so.

Entering The Green Supply Chain

Last week we introduced the green supply chain, looked at some examples of businesses that are part of the green supply chain and the benefits they have experienced through increased sales. This week, let’s examine how your business can become part of the green supply chain.

Part 2

To be a player in the green supply chain space, you must consider two aspects:

1. Internal

Greening yourself.

Casting a green eye over your business will reveal where resources are being wasted, and therefore where there are opportunities for financial savings. Also, demonstrating a clear environmental management strategy to your customers is a point of differentiation and will attract green buyers.

Acting sooner rather than later is a prudent strategy as KPMG explained in a recent publication.

“The question for supply chain leaders should be whether they want to innovate at their own pace, or wait until the situation is ‘do or ‘die’ and the methods and approaches are mandated.”

2. External

The requirements and credentials of your customers and suppliers.

Many companies and government agencies now require that their supplies have solid environmental credentials. Depending on who you are looking to supply, you may need an environmental management plan, a carbon management plan or a comprehensive environmental strategy.

You should also consider your own suppliers. It works both ways.

If you’re feeling ambitious, here are some more specific steps you can take to become part of the green supply chain.

Get your house in order.
a. Drive the change yourself or nominate an internal champion to articulate the benefits of environmental responsibility in your business, developing a clear business case for the initiative. Be sure to include the public relations benefits, potential cost savings and reduced exposure to carbon intensive suppliers.

b. Do an audit of your environmental impact and select relevant benchmarks based on industry averages. Good sources of these industry averages are provided by your local business chamber or industry association.

Related: How Carbon Offsets Work

c. Set goals, empower your employees to act, encouraging involvement and feedback from them.

d. Formalise your action into an Environmental Management System. An EMS doesn’t need to be long or complicated; it is simply a roadmap for how you plan to achieve your actions.

e. Review annually.

Now that you have sorted out your environmental plan, it’s time to look for opportunities to supply green businesses and government agencies.

List, Contact & Document

f. Create a list of businesses with specific green supply chain requirements.

g. Make contact either directly or through sustainable procurement forums and events.

h. Make sure you always document your internal sustainability measures as you may need to include these when tendering for business. Starting a shared folder or a sustainability group of volunteers will help you stay organised and on track.

Look at Your Own Suppliers
Consider your own suppliers and hold them accountable.

i. Request information. Many businesses can supply a sustainability scorecard for their products. Sites like ecospecifier.com.au offer an independent view on various aspects of a products’ sustainability.

j. Help your suppliers make the transition to sustainability if they are not currently up to speed.

k. Ensure further integrity of your suppliers through independent research or by using verification bodies such as the National Carbon Offset Standard can be an effective way to screen and review your supply chain.

Related: How To Pass On The Impact Of The Carbon Tax

The ever greening of the supply chain is a growing trend. Businesses are increasingly considering the environmental responsibility of their own actions, but also the actions of their suppliers.

Getting on board sooner rather than later means you will be ahead of your competition and open up new market opportunities for your business.

Is your house in order? Have you come across green supply chain requirements in your business? As always, we’d love to hear from you about your initiatives and help you on the journey to become more competitive. Join in the conversation today on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn or email us at takeaction@climatefriendly.com.