Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Your Supply Chain

addtoany linkedin

Top negotiators from countries around the world recently came together to form the final draft of the Paris agreement on climate change. All eyes were on the group taking part in the two-week long conference, where discussions centered on decisions crucial to the planet’s sustainability for future generations and us. Although not enforceable at this point, it’s still a big step toward acting on this critical issue. With the stakes so high, I thought it was important to reiterate several key points and promote awareness on what individuals and businesses can do to contribute to global sustainability at a collective level. As individuals, there are lots of things we can do to help preserve our world and reduce our own carbon footprint. A wide range of options as simple as installing a smart thermostat, to controlling food waste, driving fuel efficient or hybrid/electric cars, or taking part in ride sharing are all ways we can do our part. For businesses though, options and impact are much larger, particularly when it comes to implementation across the entire supply chain. With demand patterns so volatile and competition in markets so intense, there is often less chance for businesses to consider what’s best to help our world while they also focus on trying to achieve other corporate level targets. As an example, you could have a last minute order that needs to be delivered within a short time period, or you could have a disruption that will force you to change the type of transportation you originally planned. You could even see your forecast for your new product is way lower than what the market is demanding (hopefully you are using RapidResponse for your stat forecast!). However the change occurs, you have to act fast and recognize impact before it’s too late. And you need to consider the environmental impact of that change. You might wonder how all this is even related to the climate change conference. Well, let me tell you. Will whatever you’re using for supply chain management allow you to respond to changes as quickly as you need? Is your supply chain agile enough to respond and make the best choice possible to adjust to the change? No? Then odds are they aren’t flexible enough to allow you to run scenario simulations to determine which decision is most environmentally friendly. So many companies are making a shift toward working on an environmentally responsible business practice as they already realize any innovation without a positive impact to the planet is one-step behind. Your carbon footprint is as important as your innovative supply chain, if not more. So consider alternatives like building your data centers supported by solar plants, creating energy efficient products, running your global operations on renewable energy, or measuring your carbon footprint as part of your metrics on your daily dashboard. And since ‘tis the season, maybe we can think of some creative gifts that are geared toward helping the planet.

All I want for Christmas is an opportunity to fund a project to help reduce my impact on the environment!


Terry Melton
- December 22, 2015 at 9:10am
The Paris agreement is a positive step forward, but it doesn't tell you how to do it, how to measure your carbon footprint properly, where to start from or how to manage it all. As in most things, if you are unsure of what to do, you tend to delay it and delay it until forced to act by your boss or even legislation.

If we can address this lack of knowledge in a quick and efficient way then more people and companies are more likely to take the initiative and do it. It doesn't need to be a major investment to measure your carbon emissions and keep on top of them. Sure, there are lots of tools and calculators on the market - each one measuring in often slightly different ways and some which, to be honest, aren't entirely transparent enough to instil confidence. How would you know what is the best tool and how it all fits into your 'low-carbon' strategy?

The answer is, unfortunately, that many wouldn't know. This is again is a major inhibitor of people, companies, taking the initiative at all. At Melton Associates, we believe that it is better to understand and learn for yourself before you can take the plunge; and it doesn't need to be a lengthy or expensive process either. Without wanting to make a blatant plug on the short, on-line course we are developing with the UK's Energy Saving Trust, I would like to make the point that starting from a position of understanding and seeing the calculations that are needed is the best place to start from.

Leave a Reply