As supply chains go global, the pressure is on to be both socially and environmentally responsible. How does your supply chain stack up? Do your executives support this important trend?
Social Responsibility: Why It’s Become Important
Within the last two years, many major consumer brands have implemented programs in their overseas plants to audit and enforce humane factory working conditions. They are also paying close attention to safety standards. In short, they are seeking more information about where their supplies are coming from and more accountability.
Previously, it wasn’t unusual for a retailer to lack basic knowledge of where a particular item was made—because global brands rely on the participation of many smaller entities that may not be visible throughout multiple tiers of suppliers. For example, about 75 percent of goods produced in China for Walmart come from middlemen.
What has prompted the change? Along with the global supply chain, news has become global. Ignorance of your extended supply chain is no longer an excuse—if a disaster happens in one of your providers’ plants, your worldwide consumers will hear about it. And as the buying power of consumers in their mid-twenties increases, so has their demand for corporate social responsibility.
“This generation cares a lot about transparency,” according to Sebastien Breteau, an entrepreneur and the founder and CEO of AsiaInspection, a quality control service provider.
“They want to know that what they are buying doesn’t kill the planet.” And their concerns extend to the working conditions of those who create their goods.
Sustainability In the Supply Chain
Sustainability has also become a hot topic in the industry, partially due again to consumer awareness. Consumers are increasingly seeking reassurance that businesses are managing their supply chains sustainably, not damaging or decimating the areas where their plants produce.
On the plus side: Implementing sustainable practices can help reduce costs while maintaining customer loyalty. And more and more companies are realizing that building a secure and sustainable supply chain brings additional benefits, such as demonstrating your company’s commitment to stakeholder and societal interests and building a more resilient supply chain.
So how can you incorporate sustainable practices in your own supply chain business? Try:
- streamlining logistics to minimize emissions in transport
- using packaging materials made of recycled or recyclable substances
- auditing the utility usage at your facilities
- investing in energy-efficient machinery.
How does your company measure up? Does your supply chain team practice global awareness? ZDA Supply Chain Recruiting can help you bring your staff up to speed and keep your business in the forefront of the industry. Call us if you’d like to discuss how we can keep you competitive.