Supply Chain Green - Our Daily Green

Friday, September 24, 2010

Supply Chain Green

Let's face it, we're a nation of consumers. Despite our claims of simplified living, minimalism, and making do with less, consumerism still drives our economy, even in tough times. In layman's terms a supply chain is the way the product gets from the producer to the consumer. It is something many consumers never even consider. However, the supply chain provides an opportunity ripe for reducing environmental impact. According to Stephen Jannise of Software Advice, a free online resource that offers reviews of WMS software, key components from the supply chain include, sourcing, packaging and delivery. He examines several examples in his blog.
One major company that addresses sourcing is IBM. IBM's policy for suppliers requires them to provide full disclosure of their environmental impact as well as require the suppliers to check the environmental impact of THEIR suppliers, a type of domino effect that has potential to influence the entire industry. Disclosure is merely release of information, though, not a guarentee of environmentally friendly practices.  
Whole Foods is a company that is putting policies in place for less and more environmentally friendly packaging. The company is encouraging suppliers to use less plastic and switch to glass whenever possible. On the other hand, they are still using paper receipts printed on thermal paper which cannot be recycled and often contain BPA.
Pepsi has cut their delivery costs by beginning to manufacture their own bottles on site, resulting in a 4 million gallon fuel savings. However, the bottles they manufacture are still petroleum based and wind up in landfills or the ocean.
While these and other companies with such policies have a noble start, is it enough? Or is it just a ploy to greenwash their business practices? Does a company's supply chain policy affect your choices as a consumer? Would you take a minute to take a survey?

supply chain
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