The Sustainable Supply Chain Foundation is solidifying its new relationship with IWLA, the International Warehouse Logistics Association. More recently, the group has succeeded in measuring six distinct areas of sustainability - four that are environmental in nature, and two that are social. The foundation has also been approached by the Environmental Defense Fund, and has garnered support from the National Industrial Traffic League. Bank says it is especially focusing on having an impact on medium-sized companies, with a particular emphasis on users of third-party logistics services.
Harrington said the concept of sustainability within the supply chain is growing in importance. "Wall Street and consumers are getting much more aggressive about what they see companies needing to do in the environmental area," she said. "As the supply chain becomes better known [among] the general public, people are looking to see whether it's actually sustainable." The concern extends well beyond the practice of "greenwashing," in which organizations merely give lip service to the notion of environmental responsibility. Companies are adopting baseline metrics to measure their impact on the environment, then using those numbers to improve their performance and disseminate results to the public.
The foundation aids in that effort by acting as a neutral, third-party verifier of corporate sustainability efforts. "A company's own broadcasting of being green might not be believed by the public," said Bank. "We provide that verification."
In the eyes of the public, he added, "your product isn't green unless your supply chain is green."
More and more, Harrington said, companies are incorporating sustainability concerns into their contracts with 3PLs. They are becoming aware that the supply chain could constitute the largest portion of a carbon footprint, even more than manufacturing. Sustainability, she said, "is becoming table stakes for 3PL providers to win contracts."
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Keywords: supply chain, supply chain management, green supply chains, supply chain sustainability, global logistics, 3PL, third party logistics, transportation management, logistics management, supply chain planning
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