Can You Reduce the Carbon Footprint in Your Supply Chain?

There is more pressure than ever for companies to consider their environmental impact and see what they can do to reduce their carbon footprint. ‘Going green’ on a personal level is quite straightforward: recycling, reducing waste and buying sustainable goods are common environmentally-friendly practices. However, on a business level, it can be difficult to know where to start. Here are some tips on how to reduce the carbon footprint in your supply chain.


Increase efficiency and reduce waste

Reducing waste should be a priority for anyone looking to reduce their carbon footprint, but this is even more true for businesses, especially manufacturers.

The main way to reduce waste within your supply chain is to see where your processes can be more efficient. Are there any processes that can be combined or streamlined? Are there materials or equipment that can be used for multiple purposes?


Reuse and recycle resources

Recycling on a personal level is the embodiment of ‘every little helps’, but businesses making a commitment to recycling can affect change on a much larger scale. Seeing how you can reuse or recycle resources that you would otherwise throw away or replace will make a huge difference to your carbon footprint, and it will also save you money by reducing your overall spend.


Ensure transparency and communication between partners

Everyone needs to be on the same page to create a more environmentally-friendly business model. When your business embarks on a new green initiative, everyone in your supply chain should be made aware of your goals and how they can help you achieve them.

Ensuring effective lines of communication is essential for business success, but even more so when it comes to sustainability as this can avoid mistakes that would result in excess waste.


Find like-minded suppliers

It can be difficult to reduce your carbon footprint without the support of the other businesses in your supply chain, so it may be worth considering which suppliers you continue to use if they are resistant to change.

If you exclusively deal with suppliers who share your green initiative, this is more likely to spark change in other suppliers who want to do business with you. This could then spark change on a higher level than just your supply chain and have a positive effect on your industry as a whole.


Set sustainability targets

Most businesses will have sales targets, which act as a way to measure your success and incentivise employees. Sustainability targets can work in much the same way. Reviewing your wastage and emission-generating practices will give you a clearer picture of where your business needs to be more eco-friendly. This process will also help you to keep sight of your goals, as the benefits of going green are hard to recognise on a day-to-day basis.


Review and overhaul your logistics

In the past, we have spoken about the benefits of consolidating your supply chain to make it more efficient, but that advice also has merit when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. Working with fewer suppliers means fewer deliveries and lower emissions.

It’s worth reviewing your current logistics and asking whether you have any deliveries that can be combined, if it’s plausible to order more stock in one go and receive deliveries less often, or whether you can switch suppliers on certain products to reduce the number of deliveries.


Advance planning and adaptability

If you are too reactive in the way you do business, it can make it hard to reduce your carbon footprint. Planning in advance whilst still being adaptable to change is the best approach to a greener supply chain.  

Working with your suppliers on a sales forecast for your business will help to reduce waste and decrease lead times. Plus, by planning ahead and asking if there are other sustainable materials you can use in times of a shortage, you will be able to run your business more smoothly all year round whilst being sustainable.


Reducing the carbon footprint of supply chains will go a long way towards reducing our environmental impact. Making ‘green’ changes doesn’t always have to involve a complete business overhaul but making a commitment to being more sustainable can inspire more to do the same.

If you need help managing your supply chain, why not see how we can help?

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