Reusable shopping bags, paper straws, eco-friendly phone cases, and biodegradable waste bags. These are just some of the environmentally friendly products that are becoming more and more popular. Being green has become very important to consumers. Many companies have spent a lot of money to re-brand themselves, and now pay more attention to recycling, protecting endangered forests, sourcing local products, and managing water consumption.
Before, businesses did not pay as much attention to sustainability efforts based solely on the fact that it was cheaper not to. However, today, companies are evaluating the greener options and improving their environmental initiatives. Not only is the greener option better for the environment, it also benefits your bottom line.
Green Thinking Across the Supply Chain
All companies have a supply chain which can be straightforward or can consist of hundreds to thousands of suppliers. Businesses are also consumers. When looking to buy products, they are looking at their supplier’s supply chain. It’s not enough for just your company to be green, where you obtain your goods and services must also use green sourcing and manufacturing methods. An eco-friendly supply chain is crucial for companies who want to use the greener option. You can ensure that all aspects of your supply chain are eco-friendly by thinking green and learning about what aspects you control. Here are three ways to make your supply chain green.
Firstly, when you are looking to purchase your materials or components, there are a few considerations to ensure that you are benefitting from a green supply chain. You should use local suppliers whenever you can, therefore minimizing shipping distances and costs. You should ask your suppliers if they have programs they use to reduce waste and energy use, and if they recycle products and materials. Working with your suppliers will help to create a green supply chain.
Shipping and Transport
Secondly, shipping can be expensive, especially if you are thinking about the environment. It is important to strike a balance between bulk shipping and the risk of carrying more inventory. Consider analyzing trucking practices to avoid trucks returning empty or making multiple trips between warehouses. You should also continuously optimize the routes taken. Changes in market conditions, fuel costs, traffic patterns, and road construction, can impact delivery times, costs, and emissions.
Finally, the location of your manufacturing facilities and processes provide the opportunity to minimize the environmental impacts of production. Your plant design, such as the equipment you are using, the HVAC systems, and power co-generation, will also make an impact.
Eco-Friendly Strategies and Tips for Creating a Green Supply Chain
Being environmentally friendly is very important to your consumers, and overall benefits your bottom line. But, how do we make our supply chain green? Here are some tips for making a green supply chain.
- You can start with partnering with green suppliers as mentioned. Many large companies have made this decision and have now made a name for themselves and are trusted by their customers.
- Switch to green equipment. There are many types of equipment used across all stages of the supply chain. Most of these release harmful emissions and pollute the planet. To become more eco-friendly, switch to greener equipment wherever possible. Replacing equipment is costly, and there is not always room in the budget. Instead, you could start with calibrating your equipment to work more efficiently so there is less fuel consumed and fewer pollutants released.
- Recycle! Recycling is the key to an eco-friendly lifestyle. Enforce a company policy to reuse waste products whenever possible. This not only helps to keep the environment clean, it is a cheaper source of raw materials.
- Have a proper waste management system. Waste is unavoidable, but by managing your waste products you can create a greener company and a cleaner environment. Ensure you are separating your recyclables and reusing what you can.
- Use renewable energy. Most manufacturing uses fossil fuels which cause a lot of harm to the eco-system. Wherever you possibly can, use energy that is generated by clean and renewable sources such as solar power, wind power, and thermal energy.
There are many different things that businesses can do to become greener and help the environment. A lot of options seem like obvious changes, however not all are feasible and specific aspects of the eco-friendly supply chain will vary from industry to industry. This means that you need to figure out which works best for your company and needs.