Category Archives: Supply chain

Putting Words Into Action: Walmart releases detailed plans to implement its chemical policy

Read the full post from EDF.

Today, Walmart unveiled its sustainable chemicals policy Implementation Guide. The Guide details how the company will work with suppliers to bring safer products to millions of American shoppers, as announced last September when the policy was introduced.

Walmart’s chemicals policy affects formulated consumable products – the non-food products that you can pour, squeeze, dab or otherwise apply to your body or use in and around your home or car, from health and beauty aids to baby products to pet supplies. There are three main components of the policy:  transparency through expanded ingredient disclosure; advancement of safer product formulation through the reduction, restriction, and elimination  of priority chemicals and use of safer substitution practices; and a plan to take Walmart private brand consumables through the U.S. EPA Design for Environment (DfE) Safer Product Labeling Program — a rigorous product certification program that reviews the safety of product ingredients. Walmart’s policy is audacious in that it attempts to evolve from the common restricted substance list (RSL) approach to one that actively promotes usage of safer chemicals.  The release of the Implementation Guide makes public how this is expected to happen.


More companies face climate-related risks to supply chains

Read the full story at GreenBiz.

It’s easy to talk about companies needing to understand climate risks in their supply chains. It’s a lot harder to do something about it.

Risk and supply chains were woven tightly throughout the conversation at the Climate Leadership Conference last week in San Diego. It brought together leaders across public and private sectors — from business to government to utilities — to explore the latest science, projections and opportunities presented by increasing climatological changes.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 4, 2014 in Climate change, Supply chain


Tomorrow’s truck loses weight, but at what environmental cost?

Read the full story at SmartPlanet.

A lighter gas-powered pickup truck that gets 30 miles per gallon looks great on paper, but glance up the supply chain and the energy-efficiency picture blurs.


Burberry Pledges No More Toxic Chemicals in Supply Chain

Read the full story from Environmental Leader.

Burberry has committed to eliminating hazardous chemicals from its supply chain by Jan. 1, 2020, following weeks of Greenpeace-led protests at its stores and consumer pressure on its social media channels.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 29, 2014 in Supply chain, Textiles


Collaborative Action on Climate Risk

Download the document.

More multinationals and their suppliers than ever before now use CDP to achieve sustainable supply chain management. Written by Accenture, the CDP Global Supply Chain Report 2014, Collaborative Action on Climate Risk contains a wealth of information on how leading companies are managing the significant risk that climate change poses to the globalised supply chain model. For the first time ever, this report combines analysis of climate change and water related information disclosed by thousands of companies.

Leave a comment

Posted by on January 23, 2014 in Climate change, Publications, Supply chain


Supply Chain Sustainability: What It Really Means to ‘Go Green’

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

Today, food and beverage manufacturers are incorporating sustainable practices in a number of different ways. These can include a wide variety of activities and initiatives, including streamlining logistics to minimize emissions in transport, reverting to packaging materials that are made of recycled or recyclable materials, auditing the utility usage at their facilities as well as investing in energy-efficient machinery.

The global regulatory landscape is shifting to accommodate this drive towards improved sustainability, supported in many cases by the efforts of major retailers to incorporate sustainable practices into their guidelines. For example, in the US, Walmart’s long established Sustainability Scorecard rates and ranks the green efforts of the companies in its supply chain. By examining aspects of its supplier business including greenhouse gas emissions, utility and water usage, the sustainability of packaging materials and waste management, among others, the retail giant calculates an overall sustainability score for suppliers and thereby encourages further improvements across its supply chain. Similarly, leading European supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has invested heavily in its 20×20 Sustainability Plan, which includes a commitment that by 2020, Sainsbury’s suppliers will also be leaders in meeting or exceeding the company’s social and environmental standards. This plan incorporates targets for significantly reducing carbon emissions across the supply chain.

These clear retailer guidelines, combined with a variety of region-specific government standards, are encouraging and enabling a new generation of sustainable best practice across the world.   For example in May 2012, South Korea became the first country in Asia to introduce a national greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions trading scheme (ETS). The ETS will commence in 2015, and aims to reduce the country’s emissions by 30% by 2020. To achieve this, the country’s manufacturing businesses will need to re-evaluate their production operations and practices.

Leave a comment

Posted by on December 5, 2013 in Supply chain


Annie’s Inc. gleans insight from supplier engagement

Download the case study and other from the Sustainable Food Trade Association.

Implementing Sustainability is a series of case studies intended to provide practical examples of how Sustainable Food Trade Association (SFTA) members execute on the SFTA declaration areas. By highlighting the work of companies with strong systems in place, we hope to encourage wider adoption of sustainability practices and encourage transitioning companies towards sustainable business models.

In July 2009, Annie’s became a member of the SFTA. At this time Annie’s signed the “Declaration of Sustainability,” a pledge committing to continuous improvement and transparency as well as annual reporting on the company’s environmental and social impacts.

From its inception, Annie’s has embraced the values of sustainability. However, in 2009 the organic industry was changing, and values-based businesses began identifying the need to formalize these values into a comprehensive strategy. In 2010, Annie’s saw this opportunity to bring on the company’s first director of sustainability, who quickly identified that the major environmental and social impacts of operations were not at the corporate office, but rather, throughout its supply chain. As such, Annie’s began to delve deeper on its ingredients – how they were grown and where they were sourced. In order to get this information, Annie’s developed a strategy for engaging suppliers.

Annie’s director of sustainability Shauna Sadowski says, “We have to strike a balance between where we can make the greatest impact and what we have control over.” For Annie’s, developing strong partnerships with manufacturing facilities – had always been a priority in order to ensure the highest quality products. This partnership paved the way for the sustainability team to collect social and environmental data and create a supplier engagement program.

Annie’s engages with its supply chain through three distinct areas: 1. Farmers and ingredients suppliers 2. Packaging suppliers, and 3. Manufacturing, Distribution Center and Re-packers. Each area has specific programs in place to improve sustainability performance. The team decided to seek quantitative data from the suppliers in group 3 (and most recently, group 2) as a way to further engage with them on facility performance.

The first question for Annie’s was, “What do we want to know about our manufacturing supply chain when it comes to environmental and social impacts?” Guided by SFTA’s Declaration of Sustainability and the company’s own focus around food, planet and people, Annie’s developed a simple but comprehensive survey and drafted 15 “yes/no” questions with the opportunity for additional comments. Within this first survey, the company identified energy as the first metric on which to collect data; this aligned with the company’s long-standing focus on climate change. This short survey included a set of qualitative questions like, “Do you track your energy use?” or “Do you offer benefits to employees (above and beyond legal requirements) that contribute to overall health and well-being?”

The survey was designed to ensure a high response rate, which in subsequent years would lead to better relationships and more consistent data. However, it was not the survey alone that created a high response rate; it was Annie’s history of building enduring relationships with suppliers. “We got an 80% response rate out of the gate,” says Sadowski, “and that truly was because of the work our operations team has done since the inception of the company.”

The operations department identifies supplier partners to make Annie’s products and packaging; it’s important these suppliers understand the brand and values. The sustainability department adds another dimension to the relationship by engaging and learning about the sustainability impacts of the supplier.

It is a recent trend for companies to ask for additional information from suppliers. Some of the information might previously been considered confidential. To build trust, Annie’s began utilizing their annual supplier meeting to have face-to-face conversations about their sustainability strategy and desire to measure key supply chain metrics. From these meetings, suppliers learn what is most important to Annie’s from a sustainability perspective, and thus where they should be focusing their efforts in order to be aligned with Annie’s mission and goals.

In 2012, Annie’s reached out to suppliers again, this time asking for more quantitative data on energy and waste, rather than the simple “yes/no” answers as they did in the previous survey. This helped Annie’s start to develop a system by which to fairly compare sustainability practice outcomes of suppliers, using data as the underlying criteria. Getting the data was not about criticizing suppliers, but identifying areas of best practices and introducing operational efficiencies to the entire supply chain.


What will sustainable supply chains look like in the future?

Read the full story in Supply Management.

What might supply chains look like in 10, 20 or 50 years’ time? What will the sustainability risks and opportunities be? How will supply chains need to evolve?

Mapping the future is always a challenge, but as we look ahead it’s clear sustainability mega-trends are coming our way. Rising demand for food, energy, living space and water; and the challenge of dealing with climate change will continue to have a profound impact on the global economy and the vast network of supply chains that are part of it. Business will need to look at these issues, understand the impact that they will have on their operations, and then focus on what they will do to mitigate these impacts.

Leave a comment

Posted by on October 16, 2013 in Supply chain


Time to Reveal the Juicy Details of Your Supply Chain

Read the full story in Environmental Leader.

What is really in my beef burger? Is my new shirt coming from an unsafe Bangladeshi factory? Is my chicken fed GM food? Customers now don’t always take what they use and consume for granted. Company supply chains and practices are under increasing scrutiny, and recent events – such as the horsemeat scandal – demonstrate how important traceability and transparency are.

The supply chain is now considered a fundamental part of a company’s responsibility. In its new G4 Guidelines, the Global Reporting Initiative is encouraging disclosure of performance and impacts all along the supply chain. A truly sustainable company should be able to demonstrate high ethical and environmental standards from cradle to grave.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 16, 2013 in Supply chain


Supply Chain Energy Efficiency: Engaging Small & Medium Entities in Global Production Systems

Download the document.

Companies that want to reduce their carbon footprint need to pay attention to the energy they use. But at least as important – and in some cases even more so – is paying attention to the energy used by links in their supply chain.

The University of Minnesota Institute on the Environment’s NorthStar Initiative for Sustainable Enterprise, along with the Environmental Defense Fund, provide valuable suggestions on why and how to do so in a new report, Supply Chain Energy Efficiency: Engaging Small & Medium Entities in Global Production Systems.

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 14, 2013 in Energy efficiency, Supply chain


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,100 other followers

%d bloggers like this: