The Socially Sustainable Supply Chain

Over the past several weeks I’ve been investigating many of the social and environmental aspects of supply chain operations and just what opportunities exist for supply chain professionals to take positive action resulting in the operation of a socially sustainable supply chain.

Surprisingly, I found many more opportunities than expected and will now share these with you in the hopes you will be inspired to take action on those items within the span of your control or to escalate and promote to management the other items you can only influence within the organization.

Obviously, the most visible sustainability project these days relates to global warming and carbon reductions and credits leading to a state of carbon neutrality. This is also the topic we’ve written the most about in recent weeks at SCN with the full article string available through In Search of the Carbon Neutral Supply Chain.

But beyond this are many additional ways one can endeavor to make your supply chain socially sustainable including Leadership in Energy Efficient Design or LEED for short.

Also gaining momentum are structured projects aimed at removing as much toxicity as possible from your supply chain

Social sustainability in supply chains also goes well beyond the environmental aspects and includes the human or social issues relating to slave labor and this is very eloquently and thoughtfully reviewed in the article The Ethical Supply Chain – is it Viable? from Dr. Alan Knight, OBE, Head, Social Responsibility, Kingfisher plc.

So when you’re looking at ways you can perform your role in logistics and supply chain management to have a greater social impact in a positive direction, begin all of your project analyses by asking how can this project be developed to create a socially sustainable supply chain?

Jeff Ashcroft

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