Sustainability in Supply Chains Driven by Positive Business Outcomes: 3M Study

by | Jun 15, 2017

An overwhelming percentage of manufacturing suppliers say that they undertake sustainability measures because they have tangible business value. Those positive business outcomes in supply chain sustainability, suppliers say, mean that sustainability and CSR will remain core focus areas for organizations and their suppliers in 2017, according to a study from 3M.

The study, Driving Growth and Innovation through Supplier Partnerships, also shows that supply chain teams consider “uncertain policies of the new administration” to be a significant worry (the second biggest concern) when it comes to the risk their supply chains are facing, at 15%. Also of concern – though perhaps at a lower percentage than might be expected – is regulatory compliance, at just 8%. The biggest concern, at 61%, was volatile commodity and supply prices.

Concerns over supply chain risk – and steps taken to combat potential issues – have increased among some manufacturers because of the potential scarcity of natural resources in coming years. General Motors, for example, is working with its suppliers on sourcing only sustainable natural rubber for its tires in a move that it says will eventually lead to net-zero deforestation and ensure that the availability of rubber remains suitable to meet growing demands.

Similarly, a number of organizations including McDonald’s and L’Oreal have joined the newly-expanded supply chain platform of CDP – the non-profit that drives companies and governments to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions – to request information from their key suppliers on how they are managing the risks linked to deforestation. The companies say they are combining their purchasing power to achieve deforestation-free commodity supply chains and ensure that the commodities they need will continue to be available in the future.


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