Supply Chain Executives Embracing “More than the Basics” in Sustainability

In a study released by West Monroe Partners, 51% of participating supply chain executives (in North America) consider a green supply chain to be a strategic priority, showing that “appetites for sustainability exist.” However, only 37% have dedicated sustainability individuals or teams.

Since it can be difficult to secure the resources to embrace sustainability initiatives that have an impact, the report notes that regulations could help to “force action.” It also suggests that, within companies, those interested in making changes should assemble the sustainability business case for senior leadership.

Sustainable supply chain leaders derive benefits including:

  • Improved brand image and “customer sentiment,” and related revenue upside
  • Easier recycling
  • Reduced logistics costs
  • Reduced production costs
  • Compliance with regulations

Embracing the SDG framework and identifying how each SDG could be relevant and impactful for the company’s supply chain, could be a new, key way to secure more resources for advancing a green supply chain.

How does your supply chain link up with the SDGs?

SDG 12: Ensure Sustainable Consumption and Production Patterns (SCP)

SDG 12 calls for: efficiently using natural resources; halving global food waste – both at retail/consumer levels, and along the production and supply chain; managing chemicals and wastes in an environmentally sound way throughout their life cycle, and reducing their release to air, water and soil; preventing and reducing waste generation, and recycling and reusing;  encouraging companies to adopt sustainable practices and conduct sustainability reporting; and promoting sustainable public procurement.

SDG 12 in Action  

Tesco Group Chief Executive Dave Lewis is co-chairing a coalition of 30 international leaders – “Champions 12.3” – to reduce global food waste. The coalition is named for SDG Target 12.3, which calls to halve per capita food waste and reduce food losses by 2030. The coalition will showcase best practices in reducing food waste, and advocate for more investment and innovation in the field.

Another food waste initiative was undertaken by the Consumer Goods Forum, which notes that “if food waste was a country it would be the third biggest emitter of greenhouse gases globally after China and the US.”

The Food Waste Resolution focuses on CGF’s retailer and manufacturer members, and aims to halve the amount of food wasted in their operations by 2025. The resolution notes that food waste “undermines food security, contributes to climate change, consumes scarce natural resources such as water unnecessarily, and costs money.” CGF aims to achieve the goal by engaging with supply chains and end consumers, where material, and through partnerships with governments and NGOs.

Tell us your SCP story at @GlobalSourcing with

SDG 13: Combat Climate Change and its Impacts

SDG 13 calls for action in three areas, in parallel to the agreements reached in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC): resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries; national policies, strategies and planning on climate change; and education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning.

$100 billion will be needed annually by 2020 “from all sources” to address developing countries’ needs in mitigating climate change, and capitalize the Green Climate Fund.  Goal 13 calls for building capacity for effective climate change-related planning and management, including a focus on women, youth and local and marginalized communities.

SDG 13 Amplifier

The Supply Chain program at CDP enables organizations to engage suppliers on climate change and water.

According to CDP, business supply chains’ GHG emissions can be as much as four times that of a company’s direct cdp videooperations, and they represent a primary area of focus for businesses seeking to mitigate climate-related risks. CDP also notes that climate change and water stewardship issues increasingly impact business supply chains through new regulatory requirements, with potential negative implications on a company’s license to operate.  Moreover, extreme weather is creating supply chain volatility, leading to rising costs and the risk of reputational damage to a company’s brand value.

The Supply Chain program helps member organizations reduce their GHG emissions, improve water sustainability, and minimize environmental risks across their supply chains. Learn more.

Tell us your Climate Change story at @GlobalSourcing with GSC1717

SDG 14: Protect Oceans, Seas and Marine Resources

Goal 14 highlights the need to reduce marine pollution, restore marine and costal ecosystems, address ocean acidification, address overfishing and destructive fishing practices and restore fish stocks, and direct more of the economic benefits from marine resources to small island developing states.

SDG 14 in Action

Jet Blue knows that a healthy ecosystem in the destinations on its route network have a direct impact on its business: “No one benefits when oceans and beaches are polluted, yet these problems persist around the world.” Jet Blue has partnered with: The Ocean Foundation, to show the economic value of clean beaches, the Center for Responsible Travel, to introduce sustainability students to coastal tourism; and the Surfrider Foundation to support coastal restoration and protection for oceans, waves and beaches. Jet Blue wants its customers to “land on a clean beach, now and in the future.” Learn more.

Tell us your marine protection story at @GlobalSourcing with GSC1717

Showcase your sustainability leadership by aligning your mission with the UN 17 SDGs through the GSC 17/17 initiative.

Contact Louis Coppola ( or Angeline Judex( to learn how to leverage our extensive global network to communicate your commitment to sustainable development.