What is Sustainable Supply Chain Management?

In simple terms – sustainable supply chain management is the act of addressing global issues like climate change, deforestation, and human rights by lowering carbon emissions, reducing waste, and improving labor conditions.

Supply chains are responsible for the majority of energy and resources used by a company, from powering equipment and warehousing to packaging and transporting products. If companies continue to prioritize sustainable supply chain practices, it also applies pressure on other companies to uphold the same values – ultimately creating positive change and saving the planet.

In this article, we will take a closer look at the systematic framework and the benefits of supply chain management. 

Sustainable Opportunities in Supply Chain

When integrating sustainable practices into your supply chain, you want to be sure you’re upholding environmental values, while simultaneously ensuring cost effective and speedy operations. Listed below is a systematic framework to follow, developed by Forrester Research.


There’s no better place to start going green than at the very beginning of the supply chain process – the procurement stage. Procuring sustainable materials and products to develop and manufacture will overall reduce energy usage and water consumption.


Implementing more sustainable measures within the operation process (carbon emission optimization, alternative energy sources, etc.) has the power to reduce usage of resources, leading to a more efficient and cost effective process.


Instead of using products that only have one purpose, upcycling and reusing products more than once will allow supply chains to avoid excessive waste. Supply chains should be taking part in a circular economy – which is an economic system intended to regenerate products over and over again.

Communication and Data Collection

Internal and external Communication is key to successfully implementing a new sustainable process. By communicating with supply chain partners, stakeholders, and customers – companies are able to measure the effectiveness of the new sustainable initiatives and identify the areas that may need improvement.

How it Benefits Your Company

It’s no secret sustainable supply chain practices are designed to help the planet, but the companies implementing these practices will also directly benefit from them.

Save money –Supply chains use a significant amount of resources, like energy, water, gas, and so forth – all which can be very expensive. Sustainable practices focus on limiting usage and consumption, as well as finding alternative methods, which essentially reduces the cost of operations.

Company image – Consumers want to support brands that also support their values and that are also transparent with their supply chain process. A buyer is more likely to purchase from a sustainable company, even if the cost is more.

Strong company culture – Employees want to work for a company who’s principles align with their own. Sustainable practices not only focus on going green, but also on improving company culture. Employees are more likely to accept a job offer and stay in a position longterm when they feel valued and have a greater sense of purpose.

Compliance – Not only are sustainable practices encouraged, but governments around the globe will soon begin to require it. The United Nations set a deadline for the year of 2030 to accomplish the Sustainable Development Goals – which is an agenda to end poverty and hunger, protect the planet, and create a prosperous future for all.


Companies have the social responsibility to implement and maintain sustainable supply chain practices into their business operations, as they have the power to make a positive impact on the environment.

About Carson Derrow

My name is Carson Derrow I'm an entrepreneur, professional blogger, and marketer from Arkansas. I've been writing for startups and small businesses since 2012. I share the latest business news, tools, resources, and marketing tips to help startups and small businesses to grow their business.