Making the Business Case for Supply Chain Sustainability

If you missed the webinar "Making the Business Case for Supply Chain Sustainability: 3 steps towards unlocking value," the recording is available here. The slides are available here.

The webinar, with Nick Pennell, Director of Lavery Pennell, discussed how to increase supply chain sustainability while reducing costs. 

Procurement departments have made great strides over the years at understanding the costs in their supply chains and using that information to achieve greater savings for their businesses. Now, many of us are tracking carbon footprints and other sustainability metrics, but are struggling to use this information to drive improved supply chain performance AND sustainability. 

This webinar focused on:

  • How sourcing can improve supply chain sustainability while unlocking a range of benefits for your company – and your suppliers. 
  • A structured, three-step process that procurement departments can take to drive effective progress
  • Case studies of how companies such as Walkers Crisps have identified opportunities for driving sustainability initiatives while simultaneously reducing costs.

Questions addressed during the Q&A session included:

  • Can you comment on equating sustainability in the supply chain to improving the resiliency in terms of supply chain dependability and increased efficiencies for suppliers?
  • We have focused on environmental footprint, but there is a lot of attention on social as well, ie labor, economic impacts, etc, can you comment on these attributes in supply chain management?
  • Nick said that a company should differentiate between footprint info gathered for reporting and info gathered for identifying opportunities. Is it suggested that a company collect more detailed data for reporting purposes? But if this is not being used to identify opportunities, what is  the value in collecting the info for reporting? Is it just to satisfy reporting requests?
  • You've talked about the formal internal "business case" for the organization and its supply chain, but not about business benefits from a marketing/reputation/consumer side.  Do you have a view on this?
  • Some mfg's (customers) are collaborating to reduce stress on shared suppliers by setting mutually acceptable standards. Can you speak to this and integrate it into the discussion of supply chain management?
  • What is the best way to collect data from your suppliers? Do you find that they are hesitant to share such information?

Questions that remain to be addressed include:

  • Having a business case does not lead to change and transformation in organizations! This showed approach works only on a project basis. Companies need ongoing, integrated systems to identify business cases. How would you integrate this into companies?
  • Do you calculate/norm the sustainability impact of a supply chain always in costs/Euros? It is difficult to convince top management to reduce the absolute ecological impact in a non-financial language
  • If it is found that the "hot spots" are far down the supply chain (e.g. cattle ranching for leather for a shoe retailer), how should a company tackle an area that is so far up the supply chain?
  • If, for example, if I spend £10 million with my top ten biggest suppliers each year, how do I identify which suppliers offer the biggest opportunity for cost reduction? Do I spend £1000s and years on LCAs or is there a quicker, more efficient way to target suppliers?
  • How do you suggest multinationals can unlock shared value for themselves, society and the environment rather than just value for themselves?