Charles Darwin could have been speaking about business organizations when he noted that those who survive are those most responsive to change. He was speaking of animal and plant species, of course, but the metaphor is striking - organizations must be responsive and adapt just as species must adapt when situations and environments change. As resources become scarcer, the global population increases and the yet-unknown impacts of climate change continue to present challenges, supply management professionals must understand the risks associated with their supply chains to survive in a changing world and create due diligence which addresses those risks.
Clearly, taking on the complex realm of corporate sustainability leads to many questions: How do I prioritize? What do I prioritize? Am I required to measure my supplier's greenhouse-gas emissions? Am I responsible for my supplier's water use? These are far from simple questions. Sustainability, just like survival, requires constant adaptation, measurement and understanding of the system in which one exists. To have a sustainable supply chain, organizations have to transition from the more traditional, transactional supply chain to a strategic supply chain. Strategic supply chains take into account that the supply exists within a system, and examining that system determines where the journey to a sustainable supply chain begins.
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