- The Cascading Materials Vision, an initiative created by the World Wildlife Fund, is designed to explore the opportunity for managing materials more effectively, taking into account supply chain managers, waste management providers and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), GreenBiz reported.
- Through a higher value placed on secondary materials — those that have already been used — the vision will help create a more structured course for materials to travel from the recycling bin back to the factory floor, thus alleviating the burden on natural systems.
- For example, the supply chain for aluminum, although already well-defined in terms of end-use, can still benefit from greater focus on the capture rate of materials.
One finds the elephant in the room these days disguised as relentless political discourse. Part of the dialogue involves the reduction or elimination of regulations and laws that are seemingly impacting large and small business alike. Many targeted regulations focus on environmental laws established to protect employees, customers, stakeholders and the earth itself. For example, one of the first Trump administration laws adopted this past winter was the easing of restrictions to protect waterways from coal mining waste.
Other environmentally focused regulatory rollbacks have also occurred, or are under attack. Even international treaties such as the Paris climate accord bring attention to an evolving position of the United States government on environmental issues. As a witness to the Boston Harbor cleanup and the economic engine that it created, and having grown up in the industrial heartland of New Jersey, I personally support strong environmental regulations. And that viewpoint informs my sourcing decisions.
Buyers, albeit all supply chain professionals, underestimate their influence in the source selection process, especially as it relates to the green supply chain. While their companies may have a ‘low cost at all cost’ mentality and proverbially kick the environmental can down the road, buyers can have a strong influence on aligning the supply chain around environmentally strong initiatives.
Call it sustainability, the green supply chain, or regrettably in some cases "tree-hugging," more and more companies these days are addressing environmental issues at the local, regional, national and global level. Just because some national environmental regulations have been eliminated does not mean that we have to change or personal or company values. In fact, it is more important than ever to show leadership and a green resolve.
Gone are the days where the green supply chain consisted of poorly constructed recycled notebooks at the local office supply store, often carrying a 15 percent premium. These days, companies compete on their green initiatives and buyers have many choices to choose environmental sound suppliers who are also high-performing. For most, choosing an environmentally friendly business strategy is what allows them to maintain a high level of performance. It is an economic, not a marketing, decision.
Just because environmental regulations have been eliminated does not mean companies need to revert back to the days of the belching smokestacks and yellow rivers of my youth. And thankfully, most will not. While the Cascading Materials Vision may seem a bit complicated on the surface, especially addressing the molecular level of materials, common sense is at the heart of the green supply chain. Advancing a supply chain strategy of reuse, recycled, or recovered is just good business, no matter the ever-changing regulatory environment.