A sustainable supply chain operates with environmentally responsible and ethical practices throughout its journey, aiming to minimize pollution and carbon footprint. Creating such a supply chain involves implementing specific strategies at each stage, from the concept stage to the customer's doorstep:
1- Eco-Friendly Procurement:
Selecting suppliers that offer eco-friendly products and services is essential for establishing a green supply chain. Sustainably sourcing materials lays the foundation for a sustainable supply chain. Some brands may opt for recycled or refurbished materials, while others may choose raw materials harvested in an environmentally responsible manner such as agricultural products grown in a sustainable way or products made from environmentally friendly materials.
2- Green Manufacturing:
Green manufacturing focuses on conserving non-renewable resources, reducing waste and pollution, and reducing emissions. The key aspect of this stage is reducing energy consumption. Alternative energy sources, such as hydropower, wind energy, solar energy, and biofuels, can help reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Energy-efficient technologies can also play a significant role in reducing energy usage.
3- Sustainable Packaging:
Sustainable packaging encompasses all phases of a package's life cycle, including the sourcing of materials and disposal by consumers. Using packaging made from post consumer recycled materials such as recycled paper or corrugated cardboard is a good start. Another option is biodegradable packaging made from materials such as corn or mushrooms, which easily decompose in the garden or landfill and do not pollute the environment. As a last step, choose and design your packaging material to incentivize your customers to reuse the packages.
4- Sustainable Warehousing:
Sustainable warehousing emphasizes enhancing the efficiency of warehouses and reducing waste and energy consumption. An issue faced by many warehouses is that they quickly become outdated. Older warehouses are often less energy efficient, resulting in increased CO2 emissions. Fortunately, renovations can help make warehouses greener, such as the installation of energy-saving technology, using alternative energy sources such as hydro, solar, and wind power, adding windows for natural light, and using electric forklifts instead of gas-fueled equipment within the warehouse. Today, many organizations collaborate with a third party for managed warehouses in prime locations, as having a closer proximity to key distribution centers reduces energy consumption in goods transportation.
5- Green Transport:
Sustainable transportation boosts the bottom line when it comes to green practices as transportation accounted for 28.2% of greenhouse gas emissions in 2018, according to the EPA. To make transportation more sustainable, measures such as consolidating goods to minimize air freight shipments or truck trips, investing in electric or alternative fuel trucks, and utilizing rail transportation can be taken. Rail transportation is a particularly efficient and eco-friendly solution, as trains carry more cargo, use less fuel per ton-mile, and cost less. When choosing a freight forwarder, prioritize one that prioritizes green transportation and invests in eco-friendly solutions such as electric and double-trailer trucks to reduce your carbon footprint.
6- Life Cycle Management:
Managing the life cycle of a product is essential for achieving a circular economy and environmental sustainability. Sustainable life cycle management refers to considering the total impacts of an activity, product, or service from its origin to its end. Today, many CPG brands started to think ahead, not only the production and the distribution of their products, but also consumer use and product disposal stages of their products. Consider using materials and packaging that can be repurposed for another use after the initial product to reduce disposal.
How can Bucephalus Help?
Bucephalus is a supply chain ops platform that empowers the millions of fast-growing e-commerce brands to move products faster, cheaper, and more sustainably using AI. We supercharge our customers’ operations by giving them a birds-eye view of their supply chain, acting as the connective tissue between the backend of their operations and single-use apps. Our product is continuously processing customer data using our AI systems inspired by our team’s experience working in data science at Amazon and providing actionable insights on your supply chain and sustainability metrics.
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