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Environmental Sustainability: Green Supply Chain Management

Michael Wilson | Apr 7, 2014

Green Supply Chain Management involves the adoption of environmental practices to reduce a company's carbon footprint. Companies are recognizing that incorporating these practices ...

green supply chain management

Green Supply Chain Management involves the adoption of environmental practices to reduce a company's carbon footprint. Companies are recognizing that incorporating these practices are a responsible and necessary investment. The pressure to ‘go green’ comes from many sources including regulatory, consumer and market competitiveness.

Before implementing your own strategies, research and examine practices that other companies are using and look to be innovative so you stand out from the crowd. 

Let's have a look at the different ways to implement these practices in a supply chain management system.


Read: The Green Mile: 4 Ways to Gain From Sustainable Supply Chains


Optimized Networks

The industrial and research fields can greatly benefit from energy efficiency in their operating, manufacturing and energy related expenses. Network infrastructures consume large amounts of electrical energy and by optimizing their network systems, it can have a huge impact on reducing CO2 emissions. Here are some areas to look at:

  • Implementing virtualization - The idea here is to create a virtual version storage device
  • Server Consolidation - Consolidating processes to eliminate under-utilized servers and server locations result in energy cost savings.
  • Upgrade old and outdated equipment for more energy saving products.

Energy Efficient Buildings

Energy efficient buildings can have a big impact on reducing greenhouse carbon emissions, energy use and costs-especially where lighting, HVAC and heating are concerned.

  • Controlled applications - This takes programmable thermostat settings one step further by scheduling certain sections of a building to have HVAC and lighting reduced.
  • Occupancy sensors - These sensors can detect motion, infrared signals or card access to schedule lights or HVAC. This can override a normal scheduled application.
  • Daylight Harvesting - This application can detect zones near windows so lighting can be dimmed accordingly.  Motorized shades can be used to prevent sunlight from warming up a section too much, thereby reducing HVAC.
  • Optimum Stop - As soon as the earlier possible time is detected, the temperatures can start to be setback but still maintain comfort levels for employees until they leave for the day. This is also known as coasting.
  • Water Efficiencies – applying sensors to faucets, using native plants for landscaping and installing low-flow toilets will curb water usage and increase savings.

Read: 5 Common Supply Chain Mistakes and How to Resolve Them


Low Carbon Sourcing

There are many areas to look at to reduce carbon emissions across the entire supply chain:

  • Implement a high-tech vehicle tracking system to reduce routes and modal switch platforms to improve operability.
  • Analyze the location of where raw materials are obtained and where production takes place. Look at alternative sourcing options and review their emission rates.
  • Integrate recycling along the supply chain by recycling packaging and waste. Encourage consumers to return waste to your company for recycling or safe disposal.

Clean Efficient Vehicles

All of the major automakers now offer a much greater line of green vehicles that are more diverse than previous vehicles. Consider any of the following for company vehicles or ride-share programs:

  • Gasoline Electric Hybrid
  • Flex-fuel vehicles - runs on gas or a blend of up to 85% ethanol
  • Clean diesel cars and trucks
  • Natural gas vehicles
  • Pure battery electric vehicles

These are just a few among many solutions to reduce your carbon footprint and increase your bottom line.  There are many tangible and intangible benefits to be realized that will increase the sustainability of your business.

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