Sustainable Supply Chain
Envision a sustainable and just supply chain as “a web of transactions and relationships that creates long-term value for all stakeholders”. In today’s economy, supply chain management doesn’t mean out-sourcing responsibilities or supplies, but rather taking a proactive and collaborative approach with suppliers, distributors and co-manufacturers across the life cycle of your product or service.
The global economy presents a wide range of opportunity, but with that opportunity comes risk. Consumers, media, and investors alike are looking into aspects of supply chains ranging from animal welfare to carbon emissions. Managing these risks will minimize business disruption from environmental or labor problems, protect a company’s reputation and brand value, and allow greater access to capital. Effectively managing risk also places a company in a position to achieve competitive advantage over its competitors.
Significant opportunity lies in improving supply chain efficiency. Creating efficient transportation, packaging, shipping, and production systems allows a company to reduce the cost and environmental impacts of its operations. Also, developing strategic supplier relationships provides for material and energy optimization. Supply chain efficiency also applies to labor productivity, which can be enhanced in a more efficient system.
Working with suppliers to source environmentally friendly raw materials for sustainable products helps to drive innovation. The benefits of sustainable, innovative products can be seen throughout the supply chain, products can be made with fewer resource inputs, improved working conditions, and with end of life reuse in mind. When all of these aspects are considered, the result is a differentiated product that can provide access to new markets, increased market share and enhanced brand recognition.
Engaging suppliers around sustainability will make the pet industry more sustainable and will contribute to a culture of responsibility. When combined with communication and relationship building between suppliers, this culture of responsibility will make sustainable operations in the pet industry much easier and more prominent, which is also a crucial element for investors.
Responsible suppliers will become more desirable to work with as the industry continues to shift to more sustainable practices. Finally, a culture of responsibility also supports environmental and social improvement as values trickle down to all of the companies in a supply chain.