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Building Green Supply Chains

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Everyone's talking about sustainability. Entire fleets of trucks have been converted to biodiesel; packaging has gone on a diet, losing mass and weight; and new technology is reigning in electric use in factories and stores.

A new report from Diamond Management & Technology Consultants provides some interesting insights on the phenomenon. For instance, it notes that companies need to be aware that going gung-ho implementing green programs could prove costly and have a negative impact on the company’s bottom line in the short term.

gardencenter.jpgSo, take smaller steps. The report suggests green initiatives start in areas that can benefit both business and environment. Not every one of them will have a positive return on investment. Therefore, it is essential "to think about all the green initiatives together as a balanced portfolio, with some initiatives being done on an investment basis," the report states.

Traditionally, the companies that took up environmental initiatives were the big polluters. They did it purely to improve their corporate image and to correct any damage they caused. That's not the case anymore. Now it's cool to be green, and consumers are placing more and more importance on sustainability in making purchase decisions. It follows that, by adopting environmentally sustainable business practices now, companies will beat out their competitors for bragging rights and enjoy measurable financial benefits.

The long-term gains are innumerable, and some aren't even realized yet because the movement is so new. But watch for it to grow, and quickly expand. Green supply chains are no longer exclusively about sustainability for its own sake, but also about internal efficiencies and cost containment. These are topics that catch any company's attention.

PS -- In case you're wondering, the photo is a close-up of a spot cooling diffuser fan in the garden department at an environmentally friendly Wal-Mart store.

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