How do you green the upstream supply chain ?

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Recently there is a great deal of discussion about sustainability and the importance of going green with the supply chain. For example, SCDigest has a great summary of the recent McKinsey report that mentions that 80% of the carbon footprint for many companies comes from the upstream supply chain. Also, there was a Zurich summit in February that tried to put arms around greening logistics and transportation.

The question  is, how do you action some of these genuine concerns in the running of your upstream supply chain? For starters, just asking suppliers by way of introducing a clause in RFP's would help, straight away. Many suppliers would tell you that small lot orders  on a part-truck basis or by urgent airfreight simply add to the carbon footprint. Similarly rationalizing secondary packaging could go a long way in both reducing cost and improving the environment. "Green metrics" very similar to calorific values of foods would make decisions easy to make. The IT industry is attempting to do this, more traditional businesses need to follow suit in obvious,somewhat routine subjects  like a defining a "Green" RFP clause, coming up with a "Green Transportation metric" and reviewing secondary packaging "green" options.

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