Firms advised to ameliorate environmental supply chains

Businesses must think differently about their supply chains and the 'costs' attached to going green according to a report by president of the lharrington group LLC Lisa Harrington.

Previously the lowest rung on the sustainability ladder, the environmental supply chain has been underlined as an untapped opportunity for companies to capture value and boost revenue.

The increase in consumer pressure, the need to improve efficiency and reduce cost, the requirement to comply with legislators and the rising expectation of corporate responsibility are forcing companies to re-evaluate their approach to environmental supply chain management.

The ‘Closing The Loop: Building the Environmental Supply Chain’ report was commissioned by logistics company DHL to enable companies to realise the four principles of the environmental supply chain – reduce, reuse, recycle and recapture.

Read the full report – Closing the Loop: Building the Environmental Supply Chain – here.

Commenting on the report, lharrington group LLC president Lisa Harrington said: “A great shift in attitudes is currently underway across industries. Gone are the old and dated misconceptions that ‘green’ means higher costs.

“Where the environmental supply chain model is executed correctly, companies are capitalising on increased revenue and social kudos from customers, while also ensuring their business is operating in line with necessary compliance measures.

“The recipe for success is to get the four principles right… Reduction is all about eliminating waste by injecting efficiency, reusing involves product refurbishment, while recycling is ensuring that your waste becomes opportunity. Recapturing is the process of breaking down end-of-life products to harvest residual value such as precious metals.”

Cost savings

The report offers solutions to help get the four principles right. A Lead Environmental Partner (LEP) to perform a ‘control tower’ role to help optimise a company’s supply chain by providing:


  • End-to-end supply chain assessment 
  • Identification of current and future risks 
  • Carbon footprint evaluation and reporting 
  • Optimisation of strategic and operational resources 
  • Transport network design, incorporating modal shift 
  • Carbon footprint reduction programmes 

Jackson added: “LEPs help make the cost savings even greater with their ability to act as a single vendor for a company’s waste management, ensuring the best recyclable rates are achieved and the process is simplified as much as possible.”

Carbon Trust certification

In the same week, the Carbon Trust has announced that it will develop a new certification to recognise organisations taking effective action on carbon emissions across their supply chains.

Following a period of research and stakeholder engagement, a draft methodology for the new award has been developed and the Carbon Trust will run an initial pilot phase through to early 2015. The method consists of measuring impacts and improving processes and systems which will allow organisations to improve governance, measurement and the implementation of their own carbon reduction schemes.

Carbon Trust managing director of certification Darran Messem said: “For a typical organisation, up to 90 percent of the carbon impacts are outside of its own boundaries of operational control.

“A number of companies are now very good at energy efficiency and cutting carbon inside their own four walls, but the real leaders are starting to look at how they can have an impact across the supply chain. The Carbon Trust’s new supply chain certification will help businesses and public sector bodies along a continuous journey of improvement, as a part of a sustainable, low carbon future.”

Lois Vallely

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