Your Supply Chain Carbon Footprint — Measuring it Ain’t Easy

Despite the current hype surrounding sustainable, green and socially responsible procurement initiatives -- and despite what I know Aravo's Tim Albinson will argue, I do believe that we're in a period of hype at the moment, though I do suspect this will give way to longer-term investments and approaches -- it turns out that measuring the carbon footprint of your supply chain is not as easy as some are making it out to be. According to a recent article in Time Magazine, "for retailers with long and varied supply chains, it can be almost impossible to tell where a carbon footprint begins or ends. The lack of hard metrics for measuring these things makes it awfully easy for companies to gin up their equations and then brag about their green cred."

But retailers are not the only companies thinking more about the cost and benefits of going green. High tech manufacturers such as Dell and Nokia, among others, take green and sustainable procurement practices quite seriously -- in some cases, prioritizing soft cost factors over hard-dollar savings ones in sourcing decisions. And it won't be long before other manufacturers -- not to mention services companies -- take green procurement more seriously as well. Perhaps the new breed of green procurement technology vendors such as Aravo and EcoVadis (who I'll be introducing to Spend Matters readers next week) will begin to put some science and process into measuring supplier practices.

Jason Busch

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