Lesson Learned from the Environmentally Sustainable Supply Chains Roundtable at MIT

- December 11, 2013 10:06 AM
Categories: Commentary, Supply Chain Management, Sustainability | Tags: ,

A number of organizations (26 people and 16 companies, to be exact) recently took part in a Summit at MIT exploring environmental sustainable supply chain topics. For more information on the highlights from the proceedings, see Navigating the Bumpy Road to Sustainability. Reading through the summary of these highlights (including participant opportunities and concerns) is fascinating to say the least. I’ll share some of them below – and encourage you to read the whole story:

“One of the challenges that came under the microscope was how to set appropriate goals, collect the right metrics to measure progress against those goals, and report progress to customers and the public. A hot topic that emerged during the metrics discussion was whether sustainability metrics are linked with job performance. The attending companies were split 50/50 on this issue.”

The PR battle is never won around issues of supply chain risk and sustainability, and it certainly can be lost. To wit, “many enterprises live in fear of their practices being attacked publically by NGOs or external stakeholders. However, there was an active discussion on the role of NGOs and consortia in providing both expertise and dialogue forums around practices to increase environmental sustainability in supply chains.”

Visibility (and technology) can help overcome a range of challenges while reducing risk. “Companies increasingly need greater supply chain visibility to understand environmental impacts and risks, and to protect themselves and improve their environmental standing.”

Multi-tier matters: “Many enterprises at the event have good visibility into tier 1 suppliers, but very limited contact or knowledge when it comes to tier 2, 3 or deeper suppliers. While some companies are mapping their operations voluntarily, impending regulatory requirements such as conflict minerals tracing measures in the Dodd-Frank Act, are forcing enterprises to establish more transparency in their supply chains. This class of regulation encourages companies to better understand the depth of their supply chains beyond conflict minerals.”

Take innovative approaches that might seem counterintuitive. “For example, a consumer products manufacturer has actually opened up its IP on an innovation in order to promote wider adoption, increase economies of scale, and reduce the price. Conversations around the innovation topic included the move towards radical transparency and intra-industry sharing of methodologies, and the embedding of environmental sustainability in product design and across the supply chain.”

The findings to come out of this event – at least the summaries from the Supply Chain Summit blog – only scratch the surface of a number of topics that we’re equally as passionate about as are the participating members in the event.

We encourage practitioners who attended the summit and others to reach out to us for a free trial to our supplier management and supply chain risk research including:

Sustainability in Procurement: Prevent the Next “Bangladesh Factory Fire” From Happening Again

Planning a Long-Term Response to the Bangladesh Factory Fire

Sustainability in Procurement: Why Do Sweatshop Scandals Occur?

How Do You Handle Underperforming Suppliers?

Supplier Management Market Landscape: Detailed Slide Download!

Supplier Management Data: 90+ Fields Finance and A/P Want Info On

Supplier Management Data Collection: 75+ Company Level Fields

Of Supplier Management…and Horsemeat

Beyond Bird Flu 2.0 – Inoculate Your Supply Base Against Supply Chain Risk

The Policy Supply Chain: Conflict Minerals and Preparing for Mandated Ethical Sourcing

Conflict Minerals Analysis: Readiness, Technology, and Questionable Practices

Conflict Minerals Compliance: Checklists, Templates, Planning Documents

Conflict Minerals Q&A: SEC Enforcement, China, Scrap, and Supplier Views

Conflict Minerals – How To Prepare Your Supply Chain (Part 1)

Conflict Minerals – How To Prepare Your Supply Chain (Part 2)

“Be Smart About” – Supplier Information Management Solutions (Part 1)

Procurement Visibility and Insights – Supply Chain Transparency

Supply Performance Management – Introduction

Supply Performance Management: Critical For Procurement Measurement

Re-thinking and Re-claiming “Tail Spend”

Prime Contractors – Sensible Procurement Tool or Soft Option?

Prime Contractors: Sensible Procurement Skill or Soft Option (Part 2)

Offsets, Local Content, and Supplier Information Management

Offsets, Local Content and Supplier Information Management (Part 2)

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 1)

Direct Material Sourcing and Supplier Management Platforms (Part 2)

Can Supplier Management Be Saved? The Problems With SIM, SRM and Risk Management (Part 1)

Can Supplier Management Be Saved? The Problems With SIM, SRM and Risk Management (Part 2)

Global Supplier Intelligence: A Bureau van Dijk Review

RollStream (GXS): Supplier Management Prospect, Customer and Competitive Recommendations and Analysis

LockPath – A Hybrid GRC and SPM Approach to Conflict Minerals (Part 1)

LockPath – Taking a Hybrid GRC and SPM Approach to Conflict Minerals (Part 2)

HICX Solutions: Supplier Management Meets Master Data (Part 1)

HICX Solutions: Supplier Management Meets Master Data (Part 2)

Cortera – Looking at Supply Chain Risk Through the A/R Lens

Overcoming Supplier Diversity Capacity Challenges – When Suppliers are Too Small (Part 1)

Supplier Diversity Meets Supply Management: A Roadmap for Success (Part 1)

Supplier Diversity Meets Supply Management: A Roadmap for Success (Part 2)

Supplier Diversity Meets Supply Management: A Roadmap for Success (Part 3)

Supplier Diversity Meets Supply Management: A Roadmap for Success (Part 4)

Supplier Diversity – Creating Shared Value for the Future of the Nation (Part 1)

Supplier Diversity – Creating Shared Value for the Future of the Nation (Part 2)

Advanced Supplier Diversity: Addressing the Real Legacy of Triumph

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