Sustainability and Supply Chain: Exploring environmentally friendly innovations for a better future

As we continue to gain awareness on the impact of supply chain of various industries on the environment, companies are gradually making sustainable changes to limit those impacts. Procurement and wider supply chain management is uniquely placed to be at the forefront of environmental change, thanks to its global impact and vast interconnected network. It is predicted that the next 10 to 15 years will be crucial in the sustainable supply chain management to create a major change in how the process is creating an impact on the environment.

The recent studies done around sustainability and supply chain suggests that consumers these days are more likely to opt for brands that practice a certain level of sustainability. From apparels to food business, there has been a noticeable change in how brands conduct their supply chain management practices to better suit the environment. A sustainable supply chain is one that successfully balances environmental, economic, and social impacts with one another. These areas affect not only the environmental performance of a supply chain but the impact of ethical working practices, human rights records, resource efficiency, and waste management.

Supply Chain is at the heart of sustainable business deliveries.

Up to 90% of a company’s environmental footprint is generated via its supply chain. When you take a look at a product’s lifecycle from sourcing to manufacturing and delivery, it becomes abundantly clear that a lot of energy and resources go into supply chain management. This leaves a disproportionately large carbon footprint behind but also presents a significant opportunity to promote tangible change. Consumers are now leaning towards ethical and environmentally conscious businesses that are transparent about their sourcing and manufacturing suppliers. That means that business need to incorporate certain sustainability practices not only to be a more responsible brand but also to sell the product or service.

If you are looking to explore more sustainable practices within your company, below is a guide on how you can do that for the long term.

1. 3D printing to reduce waste

Orchid Global Sourcing explored a lot of sustainable methods to reduce waste during the product development stage. We wanted to provide the best for our clients while also being responsible towards the environmental changes. Currently, we provide our clients with 3D models during the product development for their feedback and approvals. This helps in waste management as well as gives our clients to get the whole look and feel of their product for a better understanding. 3D printing allows companies to create and manufacture new stock whenever needed and has the potential to reduce carbon levels emitted via industrial manufacturing. Further benefits of using 3D printing include being able to recycle waste from other products and dramatically reducing both transport time and emissions.

2. Automation and robotics

Supply chain management during the global pandemic put the focus on automated processes for secure practices without putting the employees at risk. There was a sprout in online orders and customers expected faster high-quality deliveries from their trusted brands. With delivery expected to be cheaper and quicker than ever, warehouse capacity and last-mile logistics were pushed to near breaking point. Robotics and automation within the supply chain were some of the key tools used to mitigate these issues. Drones, delivery robots, disinfection robots, and automated inventory management systems all played their part in ensuring the continuity of the supply chain.

3. Sustainable packaging

Earlier, most of product packaging was highly dependant on plastic, which takes up to 1000 years to decompose in landfills. Hence, it is definitely not a safe choice for the environment. Being aware of these factors, the packaging industry is now stepping up in its efforts to be more sustainable. Alternatives of plastic packaging have been developed in the recent years using materials such as bamboo, water-resistant papers, sugarcane, wood and more. Investing in such packaging options is cost-effective in addition to being a sustainable packing option. This also reduces wastage in the packaging process and is considered to be a part of the wider push for long-term sustainability.

Orchid Global Sourcing has the vision to create a future-ready, sustainable supply chain management company. We are constantly exploring and developing safer and sustainable practices in the supply chain management process to provide better environmentally conscious options to our clients. You can join hands with us as we try to build a safer and more sustainable future in the supply chain process.


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