Lately and rightly so, the concept of sustainability has taken centre stage. As businesses strive to reduce their environmental impact, the shift towards sustainable supply chains has become imperative. We’ve explored the key differences between existing supply chains and sustainable supply chains.

Let’s get into it

Environmental Impact: Moving Beyond the Status Quo

Existing Supply Chains

Traditional supply chains often prioritise cost efficiency and speed, neglecting their environmental impact. These linear systems generate substantial waste, contribute to pollution, and deplete natural resources.

According to the United Nations Development Programme, global supply chains are responsible for 50% of greenhouse gas emissions.

Sustainable Supply Chains

Sustainable supply chains, on the other hand, seek to minimise environmental harm through every stage of the value chain. They prioritise reducing waste, conserving resources, and embracing renewable energy sources. Embracing sustainable practices can lead to a 30% reduction in carbon emissions, as reported by the Carbon Disclosure Project.

Social Responsibility: Putting People First

Existing Supply Chains

Traditional supply chains focus primarily on cost-cutting measures. This approach can lead to poor working conditions, unfair labour practices, and human rights violations. Studies by the International Labour Organisation estimate that 25 million people worldwide work under forced labour conditions.

Sustainable Supply Chains

Sustainable supply chains prioritise the well-being of workers, local communities, and society at large. They uphold fair labour practices, promote diversity and inclusion, and engage in community development initiatives.

A study by the MIT Sloan Management Review found that companies with sustainable supply chains experience a 55% reduction in labour violations.

Economic Resilience: A Path to Long-Term Success

Existing Supply Chains

Traditional supply chains often focus solely on short-term economic gains, leaving businesses vulnerable to disruptions. Linear supply chains are highly susceptible to risks such as raw material shortages, market volatility, and geopolitical conflicts.

The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the fragility of these systems, leading to significant disruptions worldwide.

Sustainable Supply Chains

Sustainable supply chains prioritise resilience, adopting circular economy principles that reduce waste and enhance resource efficiency. By diversifying suppliers, embracing local sourcing, and leveraging technology, businesses can build more resilient supply chains.

Companies that implement sustainable supply chain practices could experience a 15% reduction in supply chain disruption costs. (Accenture)

The shift towards sustainable supply chains marks a crucial turning point for businesses seeking long-term success and environmental stewardship. By embracing sustainable practices, organisations can minimise their environmental impact, prioritise social responsibility, and enhance economic resilience.

Let us recognise the power we hold in shaping the future of supply chains. Together, we can drive the transition towards sustainable supply chains, creating a more sustainable and prosperous world for generations to come.

How can Human help?

We collaborate with founders, executives and teams to help them to map, identify, design and test the sustainability of supply chains. We see beyond just the technology and focus on long-lasting results. We look at culture, embedding continual capability up-skilling, innovation systems and leading for change.

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We’d love to hear your story and see if we can help create the next chapter