Sustainable Supply Chain
By using sustainable practices throughout your supply chain, you can help promote human rights, fair labor practices and environmental progress. An excellent resource is the United Nations’ Global Compact’s Ten Principles, which offers guidelines on ensuring a sustainable business. For many small and micro businesses, it can be challenging to meet every point outlined. Consider it a guideline and goal, and do your best to align to the UN suggestions when possible.
Know your resources
The UN’s Global Compact encourages companies to make sustainability a priority from the top of the organization down. If the business owner views the supply chain as an extension of their workforce and community, the company can set expectations for best practices throughout its supply chain.
Environmental, social and economic impacts exist throughout every stage of the supply chain, including the manufacturing and distribution of a product, its use and end of life (disposal or recycling). Business owners should also think about their own operations to ensure they are maintaining fair labor practices and an equitable and environmentally friendly work environment for employees.
To get started, map out every resource and vendor in your supply chain. Are they providing a raw material or resource that meets your goals in terms of fair labor practices and sustainability? If not, it may be time to research new vendors for your business. Completing a quick internet search on potential vendors or partners can help confirm how green their business practices may be.
You can also maintain a list of sustainable vendors and make it a priority to only use organizations that embrace sustainable business practices. Build a “green” supply chain by asking your suppliers how they reduce waste, recycle and use energy-efficient vehicles and power sources.
Promoting the fact that you have a sustainable supply chain and sharing best practices with other small businesses in your community could have a ripple effect in strengthening sustainability in your area. Companies of all sizes across a range of industries are creating sustainable supply chains, and their efforts are helping to reduce the global carbon footprint.