Demand for ethical supply chains on the rise
We’re not sure exactly when it happened, but over time it seems that the architectural preference in buildings has gone from everything being nice, neat, and covered, to customers being able to see the air vents, the piping, and other building features. It’s even become part of the aesthetic of stores and restaurants across the country.
People seem to not mind and sometimes even prefer seeing the innards of how the building they’re in works. The same goes for supply chains. In recent years, consumers have gone from not even thinking about where their products come from and what their made of to wanting to know every detail of how they arrived at their doorstep.
The supply chain scrutiny is more than just wanting to be in the know. Consumers are increasingly demanding that products are made using ethical practices including environmental sustainability, human rights, and often in a way that supports one cause or another.
According to this article from earlier this year, ethical supply chains are “more of a practice than a definition.
“Supporting an ethical supply chain means that companies will incorporate social and human rights and environmental considerations into how they do business across the world,” the article reads. “An ethical supply chain focuses on the need for corporate social responsibility, working to produce products and services in a way that treats its workers and the environment ethically.”
Companies may love the idea of an ethical supply chain, but have no idea what that looks like, if it’s economically feasible, and how to go about it. We would suggest that even taking steps towards a transparent and ethical supply chain are important. Perfection will be difficult to achieve right away.
Here are some steps we recommend you consider as you start this process:
- Examine where all your products and materials are made and produced. Are they coming from sources that respect human rights? Are your suppliers transparent on their business practices?
- Are you transparent about your own company’s practices?
- Reduce waste by using efficient supply and demand management.
- Optimize energy consumption throughout your organization both at your physical location and through fleet management if you offer delivery services (one way to do this is to outsource to a delivery provider).
- Reduce waste by consolidating shipments and finding other ways to use less packaging.
What other ways are you working towards having a more sustainable, ethical supply chain? Is that important for your business and its customers?