All businesses rely on a chain of suppliers – whether for products or services.

PRODUCTS

Once you have looked at how to reduce your own corporate carbon footprint and conserve resources, here is a set of questions that should be asked of our supply chain in relation to product:

  • Do we need this (all/at all)?
  • Who made it? And how?
  • What is it wrapped in?
  • How will it be transported?
  • How will it perform throughout its life?
  • What does it say to our customers?
  • What is it made of?
  • Where will it end up?

Source: WEconomy

An additional note on packaging

Packaging comes in many shapes and sizes: boxes, bags, cans, foam pellets, shrink wrap, tubes, paper, etc. – all designed to protect a product and keep it pristine or fresh.

When considering packaging in your supply chain, make sure you cover the various types:

Primary packaging:the wrapping or container handled by customers.

Secondary packaging:larger cases, boxes, or bags use to group goods together for distribution, ease of carrying, or displaying in shops.

Transit packaging:pallets, boards, plastic wrap, and containers used to collate products into larger loads for shipping.

SERVICES

Supply chains also include service providers. These should also be added to your assessment.

Are they committed to renewable energy?  

What environmental policies do they have?

Will you refuse to work with companies unless they can meet your expectations on ethical and sustainable behaviour?  

And a final note on the UK Modern Slavery Act which came into effect in 2015. This requires companies to make a public statement on whether they have processes in place to look into modern slavery anywhere in their operations or their supply chain. Technically only multi-million pound turnover companies need to publish a statement on this (on the main page of their website) but it’s an area that all companies should consider.