Executive Briefings

Most North American, European Supply Chain Execs Consider Sustainability Strategic Priority, Study Finds

Some 51 percent of North American supply chain executives say that developing a sustainable supply chain is a strategic priority, according to a survey from West Monroe Partners, a business and technology consultancy.

The survey was conducted together with the Supply and Value Chain Center of Loyola University Chicago and BearingPoint, an alliance partner of West Monroe. In a similar survey, BearingPoint found that 59 percent of European supply chain executives consider sustainability a strategic priority.

According to West Monroe’s study, 36 percent of companies have plans to incorporate sustainability into their operations and 22 percent of that group plan to do so in the next one to three years.

Last year, West Monroe conducted a sustainability survey among North American consumers and found that more than half of consumers are willing to pay at least 5 percent higher prices for products ordered online if they’re delivered sustainably, and 76 percent would wait at least one extra day for climate-friendly transport.

European consumers shared a similar willingness to wait longer and slightly more tolerance for higher prices, according to the equivalent survey conducted by BearingPoint.

“It’s telling that more companies aren’t implementing sustainable business practices in their operations given the demands of customers,” said Yves Leclerc, managing director at West Monroe Partners. “Most supply chain teams are struggling to manage the complexities of globalization, the war for talent and increasing demands, so allocating budget and resources towards sustainability doesn’t seem feasible unless companies can put together a business case for the return on the investment.”

European supply chain executives also cite brand image improvement as the most important motivator. Innovation was far less important in European respondents than in North American respondents (36 percent versus 47 percent). Dissimilar to North American respondents, European supply chain executives placed the highest importance on the economic impacts of sustainability whereas North American executives prioritized environmental impact.

West Monroe joined the Loyola Supply and Value Chain Center, a group of supply chain professionals working to improve global supply chain management and sustainability, in June of 2014.

Source: West Monroe Partners

The survey was conducted together with the Supply and Value Chain Center of Loyola University Chicago and BearingPoint, an alliance partner of West Monroe. In a similar survey, BearingPoint found that 59 percent of European supply chain executives consider sustainability a strategic priority.

According to West Monroe’s study, 36 percent of companies have plans to incorporate sustainability into their operations and 22 percent of that group plan to do so in the next one to three years.

Last year, West Monroe conducted a sustainability survey among North American consumers and found that more than half of consumers are willing to pay at least 5 percent higher prices for products ordered online if they’re delivered sustainably, and 76 percent would wait at least one extra day for climate-friendly transport.

European consumers shared a similar willingness to wait longer and slightly more tolerance for higher prices, according to the equivalent survey conducted by BearingPoint.

“It’s telling that more companies aren’t implementing sustainable business practices in their operations given the demands of customers,” said Yves Leclerc, managing director at West Monroe Partners. “Most supply chain teams are struggling to manage the complexities of globalization, the war for talent and increasing demands, so allocating budget and resources towards sustainability doesn’t seem feasible unless companies can put together a business case for the return on the investment.”

European supply chain executives also cite brand image improvement as the most important motivator. Innovation was far less important in European respondents than in North American respondents (36 percent versus 47 percent). Dissimilar to North American respondents, European supply chain executives placed the highest importance on the economic impacts of sustainability whereas North American executives prioritized environmental impact.

West Monroe joined the Loyola Supply and Value Chain Center, a group of supply chain professionals working to improve global supply chain management and sustainability, in June of 2014.

Source: West Monroe Partners