Metric-driven sustainability initiative gathers speed and favor

Shareholder pressure is forcing publicly-held manufacturers to adhere to the highest levels of sustainability, said industry analysts and experts speaking yesterday a the International Warehouse Logistics Association 2012 Convention & Expo in San Francisco

By ·

“Going Green” is no longer a choice for supply chain managers – it’s a given.

Shareholder pressure is forcing publicly-held manufacturers to adhere to the highest levels of sustainability, said industry analysts and experts speaking yesterday a the International Warehouse Logistics Association 2012 Convention & Expo in San Francisco.

“As logistics providers we can’t afford to wait for the government or its regulators to tell us how to be responsible corporate citizens,” said IWLA president and CEO, Joel Anderson. “Fortunately, we have not been standing still on this issue.”

That point was reinforced by a panel of comprising shippers, consultants, and academic leaders who addressed association’s “Sustainable Logistics Initiative,” (SLI).

“This is not about ‘tree-hugging,’” said Bruce Carlton, president and CEO of the National Industrial Transportation League. “When the League was asked to partner in this initiative, we recognized that this represents a unique metric-driven breakthrough. It’s an ideal public/private solution to ongoing supply chain concerns.”

Dale Rogers, a professor of logistics and supply chain management at Rutgers Business School, said the “sustainability movement” is where the “quality movement” was decades ago.

“The pressure for quality standards came from investors back in the 1980s,” he said. “And we are seeing the same thing with sustainability today. One need only look at the Dow Jones Sustainability Index to see evidence of this. No major multinational wants to be removed from that list.”

As reported here late last year, Logistics SLI participants – 3PL facilities – report and engage in a rigorous and objective measurement process. Continuous improvement of each facility is the benchmark. The entire process is verified by an outside independent organization, The Sustainable Supply Chain Foundation.

Lisa Harrington and Richard Bank – two foundation directors – said that shippers are now seeking formal recognition of sustainable practices.
“SLI compares apples to apples,” said Harrington. “This is not a ‘one-off’ operation.”

Bank concurred: “Compliance goes right to the bottom line.”

He added that companies engaged with the foundation do not sacrifice trade secrets or operating practices.

“SLI is another check in the box, when it comes to protection of brand and image,” said Bank. “Companies today can’t afford not to have something like this.”


About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at pburnson@peerlessmedia.com.

Subscribe to Modern Materials Handling Magazine!

Subscribe today. It's FREE!
Find out what the world’s most innovative companies are doing to improve productivity in their plants and distribution centers.
Start your FREE subscription today!

Article Topics

· All Topics
Latest Whitepaper
Mobile Solutions: Improving Supply Chain Efficiencies
To meet customer's ever-increasing service expectations and improve their business efficiency, companies are looking to their supply chain operations – especially material handling and warehouse operations managers.
Download Today!
From the February 2017 Modern Materials Handling Issue
In warehouses and DCs, planning solutions tend to take a back seat to execution system functions. Vendors are working to boost the trust factor using tools that break down forecasts and blend with analytics.
Automated Storage on the Move
Receiving 101: Setting the Table for Success
View More From this Issue
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Sign up today to receive our FREE, weekly email newsletter!
Latest Webcast
2016 Warehouse/DC Operations Webcast: Confronting omni-channel complexity
During this webcast we’ll examine the current activities, trends, and best practices in warehouse and DC operations management and how companies plan to address complex issues associate with omni-channel fulfillment.
Register Today!
EDITORS' PICKS
Johnson & Johnson: A vision for automation
J&J Vision Care brings together a variety of automated technologies, including an innovative...
Using AGVs at LEDVANCE
The lighting manufacturer reaped savings by reducing maintenance costs and product damage, and using...

System Report: Sustainable Distribution at REI
Specialty outdoor retailer REI’s new distribution center brings together the next generation of...
System Report: Whirlpool puts mobile robots to work
In Whirlpool Corp.’s Clyde, Ohio, factory, mobile robots have automated the delivery of parts to...