News Round-Up: 3 Businesses Prioritizing a Green Supply Chain

Dustin Caudell
Thu, Apr 28, 2016
Mining operations use green equipment to preserve the natural environment.
Mining operations use green equipment to preserve the natural environment.

Going green is more than a popular trend; it's a legitimate goal for many businesses. Eco-friendly initiatives have gone from marketing tactics to strategies for improving supply chain efficiency and benefiting from cleaner technologies. Here are three stories from the recent news about companies prioritizing green manufacturing and distribution techniques and what it meant for their overall success:

1. Apple Wants to Stop Climate Change
While the public may feel some corporations ignore the effects of climate change to avoid taking responsibility for human involvement in the phenomenon, other businesses make halting or reversing the effects of greenhouse gases a publicly stated goal for the brand.

Apple not only announced its intention to promote green supply chain practices, it recently released data demonstrating exactly what it has done on behalf of the planet. On March 30, Apple shared its supplier responsibility report with the public, according to Business Green. The company's information indicated 75 percent of the organization's carbon footprint stems from its supply chain. The Apple report showed how new green distribution practices stopped 13.8 metric tons of carbon emissions from contributing to global warming in 2015.

Apple was named the 2015 top manufacturer by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs and the Carbon Disclosure Project listed the company as one of 2015's A-List organizations. The retailer's responsibility report isn't a new idea for the company. Apple's been sharing its supply chain logistics management information with the public in an official release for the last 10 years. As one of the top green companies in the world, displaying actual data from its inventory management and distribution activities serves as excellent marketing materials to appeal to information hungry consumers.

2. Wal-Mart Profits from Conservation
Green practices can offer companies more than good public relations. A primary principle of being eco-friendly is conservation - getting the most performance out of your available resources. Supply Chain Digest described how Wal-Mart started green supply chain initiatives that ended up increasing its revenue.

Wal-Mart set a goal years ago to analyze its shipping, warehouse management, storage and picking procedures to determine the actual cost of an individual product. By recognizing and eliminating redundancies in its supply chain, the retail giant not only launched a project it could share with eco-friendly consumers, it eliminated greenhouse emissions and landfill contributions.

During the 2015 fiscal year, Wal-Mart reported a gross profit of $486 billion, according to the University of San Francisco. This is $10 billion more than the previous year and a continuation of a 6-year upward trend for the company. During this time frame, Gartner rated Wal-Mart as one of the top twenty supply chains in its annual ranking. The retailer's commitment to supply chain efficiency means less empty trucks driving back and forth between locations. This is good for the environment and great for the company's commitment to informed resource allocation.

3. Foreign Mining Celebrates a Green Anniversary
The further vehicles have to travel, the more fuel they use. This is one of the reasons green initiatives become more prevalent as supply chains expand globally. Working with foreign partners allows companies to learn from local partners and share proven eco-friendly technology.

In March, scientific organizations in South Africa celebrated a three-year partnership with the platinum industry, according to Mining Review Africa. The collaboration provided local platinum mining operations with fuel cell technology including forklifts that run on the greener resources. Of the many goals expressed by the partnership, a major objective is local training so South African researchers can develop the technology and workers can use the same clean equipment to improve their daily tasks and local environment.

Implementing new technology and procedures into existing supply chains calls for data collection solutions to create visibility. Companies should recognize the real-time benefits of new ideas to plan future initiatives and communicate success with consumers and investors.

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