There’s no doubt that we’re fast approaching a point of environmental crisis. Indeed, a recent United Nations (UN) climate report states it is “now or never” to take steps to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees. Everyone has a responsibility to minimize potential damage wherever possible. Indeed, businesses not only need to reduce their impact as an ethical and social duty. Consumers are increasingly prioritizing sustainable brands.
This is a particularly important consideration for electronics businesses utilizing supply chains. After all, there are various elements throughout manufacturing and logistics operations with the potential to disrupt the environment. Given that around 90 percent of a company’s environmental impact is caused by the supply chain, this is an important area to prioritize your focus.
So, let’s take a closer look at the issue. How can you adopt sustainability in your supply chain to build a genuinely sustainable brand?
Among the most important ways you can implement sustainability is by prioritizing efficiency throughout your supply chain. By reducing unnecessary use of time, energy, and resources, you can minimize the pressure on the environment.
This begins with a continual analysis of every point in the chain so you can identify areas of leakage and address them. The internet of things (IoT) can be useful in this regard. By placing sensors in key areas throughout manufacturing, warehousing, and shipping, you can gain solid data on all activities. When combined with artificial intelligence (AI) supply chain management software, you regularly implement efficiency improvements.
Your efficiency analysis should also be directed toward a more responsible approach to inventory. Excess stock tends to result in more waste, unnecessary packaging, and transportation emissions. While it’s not unusual for stock to accumulate in the supply chain, it is also avoidable. Among the best ways to minimize bloated inventory is to utilize data analytics to perform more accurate demand forecasting and stock turnover calculations. This gives you the information to keep your safety stock and your potential negative environmental impact to a minimum.
Consider your materials
The materials your company uses plays a key part in your claim to be a sustainable brand. Indeed, this is one of the first elements your consumers will notice about your company. If their items are delivered with boxes far too large for an item or the product itself is created from non-biodegradable materials, they will pay attention to this.
As such, a responsible approach to using materials is a key component of a sustainable supply chain. Don’t simply consider whether the manufacturing materials are obtained from sustainable sources. Look at how easily your consumers can recycle or reuse the products once they’re finished with them.
In both the manufacturing and shipping process, you must consider your packaging materials. Utilize protocols that support a carbon-neutral packaging strategy wherever possible. This includes reviewing your products to ensure you’re producing packaging in the most efficient dimensions. Avoid single-use plastics and substitute these for biodegradable raw materials like paper or cardboard.
Collaborate with your partners
Few businesses can run the entire supply chain themselves. However, this doesn’t mean you only have responsibility for your part in the process. The suppliers and partners you choose to work with equate to ethical and environmental decisions about their actions. Consumers will also often judge your company by the actions of the partners you choose to associate with.
For example, Apple Inc. has committed to carbon-neutral products by 2030. Apple has more than 200 suppliers.
As such, it’s important to collaborate on sustainability with all your partners. With new and present partners alike, the most important thing is to keep communicating on the issue. Talk about why you’re committed to sustainability. Arrange meetings to work together on mutual improvements you can make. Your combined perspectives and ideas can result in innovative solutions that can keep your businesses green and profitable.
Building a sustainable brand is important from ethical, environmental, and commercial standpoints. The amount of e-waste disposed of every year is estimated at 63 million tons worldwide. The electronics supply chain is one of the key areas of concern, so it’s important to place your focus here. Utilize the IoT and analytics platforms to improve efficiency. Adopt protocols for more responsible materials usage. Importantly, collaborate with other partners in the chain to improve everyone’s activities. It takes some time, commitment, and a little investment, but your sustainable actions can bolster your brand and positively impact the planet.
Author: Luke Smith
Luke Smith is a writer and researcher turned blogger. Since finishing college he is trying his hand at being a freelance writer. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics but technology and business topics are his favorite. When he isn’t writing you can find him traveling, hiking, or gaming.