Why Sustainable Supply Chain Management isnt making the grade

Source: The Nordic Partnership, 15 August 2003

The Nordic Partnership has released the first findings from the project, Rules of the Game Sustainable Supply Chain Management. The paper, No Writing on the Wall examines some of the dilemmas and barriers to sustainable supply chain management, based on the discussions of several international NGOs and leading Nordic companies. Although a complex process, sustainable supply chain management makes good sense, but there is no real incentive to do it. As yet there is no writing on the wall.
Managing your supply chain is a complex enough business in todays globalized and commodified world. With factors such as international regulations and the development perspective, ensuring fair value and sustainability throughout the supply chain is an arduous task.
But its also clear that dealing with the supply chain can provide a strategic opportunity to learn more about both current and future markets and offers huge rewards to all involved. Many companies have started to look more strategically at supply chain management as a source of innovation.
Why then, isnt sustainable chain management happening more? One key reason is the absence of low-hanging fruit, where cost savings can balance efforts to be sustainable. Nordic Partnerships Managing Director, Michael Brinch Pedersen explains, Sustainable supply chain management offers a huge potential to sustainable development and can add value if capitalised through markets. But the immediate benefits and tangible results are currently hard for both business and NGOs to see.
The Nordic Partnerships vision is to make sustainability a rewarding business, and is currently undertaking a series of projects that aim to identify and understand some of dilemmas and barriers to sustainable supply chain management and other business issues.
It seems that partnerships have a key role to play in overcoming these dilemmas as engaging with other stakeholders can create the momentum necessary to make sustainable supply chain management a worthwhile process. The survey illustrates the willingness shown by NGOs and business to create partnerships that can help address the issues and open up dialogue with other important stakeholders, such as governments/authorities and investors, in order to instigate changes in the long term.

Download the report (pdf)