To stay competitive, forget 2050; it’s all about thinking 20:80


Richard Griffiths

Increased interest from large organisations in the sustainability of their supply chains is putting pressure on SMEs to prove their credentials. The Supply Chain Sustainability School’s new Technical Partner, Edge Environment, is keen to help Australian businesses stay competitive and maximise the value of sustainability.

Businesses can no longer avoid thinking about the environmental and social impacts of their supply chains, according to the Supply Chain Sustainability School’s newest Technical Partners, Edge Environment.

“For most companies, approximately 80% of their environmental and social impacts are through their supply chain, and a mere 20% come from their own operations,” says Tom Davies, Chairman and Co-founder of Edge Environment. “Organisations can no longer ignore the impacts generated along the life-cycle of their products and services, and suppliers of all shapes and sizes need to up their game accordingly if they want to attract and retain customers.” he adds.

So where are these changes coming from? Following the Paris Agreement on climate change, over 200 of the world’s largest companies have already committed to develop science-based targets. This methodology requires participants to measure the climate impacts of their supply chains as part of the target-setting process. And more established tools such as ISO14001, which is used by more than 1.5 million companies worldwide, are now advocating life-cycle thinking. Terms such as ‘industrial ecology’ and ‘circular economy’ are becoming a regular feature of corporate reports and boardroom strategy discussions.

Supply chains are responding fast. Product sustainability certifications are growing exponentially worldwide. For example, there are now 6,000 Environmental Product Declarations in the ‘building products’ category alone. “Many of Australia’s biggest property and construction companies are taking a very detailed look at their supply chains, and are changing their procurement practices in response to what they find. Many larger, established suppliers are responding well to the new paradigm, but there is a danger that some, especially SMEs, might get left behind. By working with the School we can help companies understand what is expected of them, and help them gain access to a market for sustainable goods and services worth trillions of dollars.” says Richard Griffiths, Head of Industry Engagement with Edge Environment.

“Edge have worked at both ends of the construction and infrastructure value chain – from multi-billion dollar property and infrastructure assets to start-up building product manufacturers. Importantly for us, they also bring with them supply chain insights from other sectors from fast food to telecommunications,” commented Robin Mellon, Chief Executive Officer of the Supply Chain Sustainability School. “This will put our members in touch with innovative, ‘outside the box’ thinking, helping them to stay competitive in a rapidly decarbonising and increasingly transparent global market.”

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