Closing the supply chain loop remains a priority for multinationals

“Closing the Loop: Minimizing Product Life-Cycle Impacts” also featured a discussion of emerging life-cycle assessment standards and who they quantify environmental impacts across the value chain.
By Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
November 09, 2010 - SCMR Editorial

How can a company reduce impacts along the product life cycle, and what value chain strategies can be implemented to make this happen? This vexing question and several others were addressed by a panel convened for the BSR conference in New York last week.

“Closing the Loop: Minimizing Product Life-Cycle Impacts” also featured a discussion of emerging life-cycle assessment standards and who they quantify environmental impacts across the value chain.

“But how can we effectively apply these standards?” asked Paul Holdredge, product stewardship program manager for GE Healthcare.

For answer for his company, he said, was to create a “design for the environment compliance” program as an entry point.

“From there,” he added, “we took a look across other industries for sustainable examples. Herman Miller was doing remarkable things, and we drew from that model, too. Then we went within, and used our own resources.”

For Tom Polton, lead, environmental sustainability for Pfizer, closing the loop began by contacting BSR for a “materiality assessment” tool.

“Product stewardship was the most compelling need for us,” he said. “Then we went to a strong supplier evaluation program.”

Having taken those steps, he added, provided Pfizer with user anecdotes that in turn created a “bench-markable” system.

“Performance with Purpose,” was the goal of PepsiCo International, aid the company’s senior manager for energy and climate change, Robert C. ter Kuile. “Our journey began in 1999 with Frito Lay, and moved up the product chain to Tropicana. We examined everything from that point on, moving beyond just measuring the carbon footprint made by producing these goods.”

He said that new scrutiny was placed on water use and packaging as they began reaching into the supply chain. From there, they developed a “supplier engagement program.”

Joel Tickner, associate professor department of community health and sustainability, University of Massachusetts Lowell, said most U.S. multinationals are responding the EU’s “Reach Directives.”

“It’s a good response, since it comes from private industry rather than government programs,” he said. “And enterprise transforms markets across industry lines. Then we can shift the focus away from the consumer and concentrate on workers in the supply chain.”

And while this BSR session demonstrated how companies have partnered across the value chain, leveraged networks, and reduced impacts by closing the loop on the materials cycle, the overall conclusion may have been summed up by Holdredge: “We are really in a nascent stage.”



About the Author

image
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 .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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!

Recent Entries

Supply chain visibility is the Holy Grail for warehouses and distribution centers where the fast and efficient movement of goods is the solution to satisfying customer demand. This is especially true for the 68% of companies which are not satisfied with material movement efficiency from source to destination. These companies are seeking new ways to get the right goods to the right place at the right time. They are finding that change, complexity, compliance, competition, and connectivity are leading to further confusion.

Instead of ignoring a forklift fleet and its associated costs, asking the right questions can lead to substantial savings.

This white paper outlines five ways to increase profits with automation. By implementing automated storage and retrieval equipment-such as horizontal carousels, vertical carousels and vertical lift modules, multiple areas of a manufacturing or distribution facility will benefit from savings in inventory accessibility, floor space, time, improved ergonomics and better accuracy.

Citing difficult winter weather, executives anticipate the release of pent-up demand.

First edition takes place in Nairobi, Kenya, Sept. 9-12, 2014.

About the Author

Patrick Burnson, Executive Editor
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review. Patrick covers 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. Contact Patrick Burnson

Comments

Post a comment
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.