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Should I be focused on Supply Chain Sustainability?

March 2023

The call to improve global sustainability is well-documented from media outlets to pledges from business leaders. The supply chain is where this change urgently needs to be actioned if we have any hope of achieving global sustainability targets, such as the UK’s pledge to be Net-Zero by 2050.

The documentation of commitments and changes we must make often come in waves, typically triggered by global events such as the annual climate conference. But Supply Chain sustainability shouldn’t just be a trending topic. Just because it falls out of the headlines, doesn’t mean it should fall off your radar.

According to a CEO study led by the United Nations Global Compact and Accenture where 1232 CEOs in 113 countries and 21 industries were asked which technologies would turn the dial on sustainability in the next five years:

  • 87% responded with ‘analytics on processes, equipment, and products’
  • 78% said ‘AI-powered demand forecasting’

However, the majority stated that they haven’t even started model scenario analysis to manage their response to climate change, despite acknowledging the importance of the supply chain on the road to Net Zero. [https://www.accenture.com/za-en/insights/supply-chain-operations/supply-chains-key-unlocking-net-zero-emissions]

What can be done?

It’s very easy to make a public pledge to sustainability, or perhaps even agree that action must be taken, but in line with the view of the majority of CEOs, an obvious way to improve the sustainability of your supply chain is to implement End-to-End Planning Solution software, giving you visibility across all aspects of your value chain.

The Power of Data

By adopting the latest planning solution technologies, such as Scenario Planning, you enable your supply chain to be modelled in real time allowing you to test scenarios for emission reduction and business resilience, all while optimising customer service and maintaining, if not improving, your current objectives and goals.

A Resilient Workforce

With global emergencies and a volatile market becoming commonplace, it is important, now more than ever, to diversify your workforce in more ways than one. Your people on the ground need to be working in digitally driven environment, with the means to act quickly and make changes to meet their targets.

On the back of this, contingency planning is becoming key. By optimising scenarios such as geographic diversity you will be able to make appropriate and timely actions to prevent stock outs caused by climate emergencies.

Focus on Emissions

The overall breakdown of emissions can influence your company’s approach to sustainability, and the action that you may decide to take on schemes such as Carbon Offsetting.

To briefly summarise:

  • Scope 1 emissions = direct. These are the cost of running your business such as vehicles, buildings, and machinery you own.
  • Scope 2 emissions = indirect. This is the energy you purchase to run your buildings/machinery.
  • Scope 3 emissions = indirect. These are the indirect emissions across your company’s supply chain, both upstream and downstream that result from company operations. Some examples are business travel, waste, employee commuting, and transport and distribution to name a few.

Scope 3 emissions should be the main focus of businesses aiming to meet supply chain climate goals as they can be up to 11 times of your Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions combined. In fact, in Fast-Moving Consumer Goods companies, 90% of their overall emissions equate to Scope 3.

But transparency is often cited as a big obstacle, a challenge that a comprehensive planning solution would help you overcome.

Should I be focused on Supply Chain Sustainability?

In answer to be above question: absolutely, and with some urgency.

Understandably, we can often be tired of Government telling us what we must do to meet their pledges, but these are commitments that protect us all. With a sustainable supply chain, not only will emissions go down substantially, but you can expect your company’s reputation to improve as environmental responsibility is a crucial focal point in today’s industry.

Operationally, you can also expect to see an increase in productivity as you gain visibility over all aspects of your supply chain. By adopting sustainable techniques and resources, the efficiency of your business will improve, a proven link to decreased costs overall.

Trusted by our clients

“Greencore is involved in multiple categories, supplying a diverse range of products with different characteristics that require very different manufacturing processes. We selected sofco as they have an End-to-End planning and execution system that can be configured easily to fit these disparate demands. Our approach is much more sophisticated and collaborative now.”

Chris Chestney

IT Business Partner, Greencore

“What impressed us most about the sofco people was they understood our business, listened, and would bring a lot of experience to the project. They brought solid solutions to the issues we presented them with. It was clear from the outset that we were going to be able to work well together as a team and deliver this project. That is exactly what has happened.”

Barbara Van den Berg

Project Manager, Van Geloven

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