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One of the most popular trends that the corporate world has seen in the last few years is environmental friendliness, affectionately coined "going green." What does it mean to go green and why would a company choose to do it? Traditionally, the idea behind eco-friendliness is to avoid negative impact on the environment. However, it's really about much more than just preserving resources and keeping the environment clean. There are many important benefits to bringing sustainability to your supply chain. Here are 5 benefits of a sustainable supply chain and how you can learn more about supply chain management and logistics that work.

1. Decreased Costs

While establishing a viable supply chain may be an initial investment, a good system will undoubtedly decrease your overall spending in the long run. For example, you'll reduce the cost of waste, reuse products that can be reused, and avoid expensive mistakes at various points in the supply chain. Focusing on short-term gains won't get you anywhere over time. When you implement a sustainable system that effectively streamlines your business processes and increases your efficiency across the board, this ultimately lowers your cost of operations.

2. Improved Company Image

Consumers are becoming more conscious that the products they purchase may have an impact on the environment. In fact, 66% of global consumers state that they're willing to pay more for sustainable goods. Whether it's plastic packaging or harmful chemical waste produced during product manufacturing, customers are less likely now than ever before to purchase a product that negatively affects the environment. Consumers want to do business with companies and buy products from brands that make a strong effort to embrace sustainable practices. When you "go green" and implement sustainability within your company, you improve your reputation. Marketing campaigns can be built around your efforts to become eco-friendly, which can increase sales and boost your company image.

3. A Better Customer Experience

Customers who receive the wrong item or get their items late are naturally going to be upset. In the past, it was easily managed by rectifying the situation with the customer. They might tell their friends, but word-of-mouth circles were small. The problem today is that technology allows displeased customers to leave reviews on a number of platforms, from Yelp to Google and Facebook, which can quickly tarnish your image in the eyes of a much larger audience. No company wants to have to deal with unsatisfied customers, because making it right by replacing their items or giving them a refund can become costly over time. A reliable supply chain that is efficiently streamlined will lead to a better experience for customers. Order issues like incorrect or defective items or late shipping will be reduced to a minimum or even eliminated with the right sustainable supply chain in place. 

4. New Business Possibilities

When streamlining your supply chain, you're naturally going to need to develop relationships with other businesses. Whether you're ordering raw materials to make your product from a wholesale supplier or working with a shipping company, you're going to collaborate with a variety of partners to get your product all the way from the design stage to your customer's doorstep. These activities can help you create new business opportunities, which helps to promote your brand and increases your revenue. In some cases, you may be able to pursue new ventures with businesses you've developed a partnership with, thus widening your net and your total brand reach.

5. Improved Bottom Line

What a sustainable supply chain boils down to is an improved bottom line. Beyond whatever initial investments you'll need to make to make the necessary changes to your company's logistics, fewer mistakes, fewer returns, and less waste all translate into increased profit. When you take steps to streamline your supply chain and logistics in a big way and reduce your negative impact on the environment, you open the door for your business to move up to the next level. An efficient supply chain and managed logistics will simultaneously reduce your costs and attract more buying customers.

As an example of how popular sustainability is becoming, AFFLINK has developed a class for our Members called Sustainable Choices, a training program for sales professionals to help them understand the benefits of using environmentally-friendly products. Opportunities like these help you see why going green is becoming an increasingly smart business move.

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About Michael Wilson

Michael Wilson is AFFLINK'S Vice President of Marketing and Communications. He has been with the organization since 2005 and provides strategic leadership for the entire supply chain team. In his free time, Michael enjoys working with the Wounded Warrior Project, fishing, and improving his cooking skills.

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