Supply Chain and the Circular Economy

10/26/20

Is your supply chain sustainable?

Sustainable supply chains are a critical component to a circular economy. What's a circular economy? A circular economy is the idea of keeping materials in use for as long as possible in order to eliminate waste.

APICS Greater Detroit supports supply chain professionals with the information and education they need to remain competitive in today's world.

Read more in our latest blog post below.

Per Gartner's Future of Supply Chain Survey, seventy percent of supply chain leaders are planning to invest in the circular economy in the next 18 months.

Association for Supply Chain Management recently asked, "Why is adopting a circular model so important for today’s supply chains?" in an interview with Deirdre White, an internationally recognized leader in building trisector partnerships to address the world’s most pressing challenges as the CEO of PYXERA Global. Ms. White has led the transformation of the organization to one that maximizes impact through strategic partnerships.

Per Deirdre White, "In our natural world, all physical matter revolves in an infinite cycle of restoration and regeneration. There is no waste in biological systems; only secondary resources. It therefore makes sense that our global economy should be harmonious with its larger ecological system. But this is not the case. Our linear, take-make-waste platform requires a paradigm shift. The transition to alignment, to a circular economy, must happen now. It’s about how we think, behave and consume. It’s about equitable distribution of resources to avoid straining critical ecosystems and careful attention to the regenerative capacity of nature."

White suggested it's important for leaders to ask the right questions such as:

  • How can we stop extracting raw materials and design out waste?

  • How can we keep materials already in the economy in circulation to avoid consumption at the expense of our natural resources?

  • How do we get to a state where our economic activity regenerates our natural systems?

ASCM also asked how supply chain professionals can help their organizations cultivate a worldview in order to have a more positive impact?

White shared that, "Our worldview is formed by the prevailing cultural influences we experience every day. It is critical for leaders at all levels of an organization to cultivate a corporate environment that embraces change and innovation with sustainability in mind. Supply chain professionals have the unique opportunity to increase competitiveness and customer satisfaction by directly applying sustainable practices to their work, and society is eager to see more ethical supply chains as a means to lasting change."

Harvard Business Review also shared the following best practices to creating more sustainable supply chains based on multinational corporations who have pledged to work only with suppliers that adhere to social and environmental standards:

  • They have established long-term sustainability goals.

  • They require first-tier suppliers to set their own long-term sustainability goals.

  • They include lower-tier suppliers in the overall sustainability strategy.

  • They task a point person on staff with extending the firm’s sustainability program to first- and lower-tier suppliers.

Supply chain leaders play a critical role in cultivating sustainable supply chains and keeping materials in use for as long as possible in order to eliminate waste.

Looking for more information on best practices for managing supply chains? APICS Greater Detroit is offering the upcoming globally recognized certification classes: Certified in Production, Inventory Management Part 2 starting on 11/7 and the Certified Supply Chain Professional starting on 12/5.