Supply Chain Sustainability a Priority, But Achieving it Remains a Challenge

Posted Oct 22, 2018

Survey by iPoint BiS reveals key drivers, barriers to supply chain sustainability and differences in perception among U.K. and U.S. retailers and FMCG companies

98% of executives surveyed indicate their company is committed to supply chain sustainability with 45% saying their company is “very committed.” 

More than three quarters (77%) have a clear plan and vision for supply chain sustainability; however, only 8% of companies surveyed have met their supply chain sustainability plan because of perceived time and effort.

U.S. executives surveyed are more concerned about protection against reputational, with 40% more managers citing it as a sustainability goal in the U.S. compared to the U.K.

Only one in five U.S. executives surveyed view sustainability as a C-level responsibly compared to one in three in the U.K.  


Stuttgart, Germany and Ann Arbor, Mich. — Oct. 22, 2018 — Research from iPoint BiS, member of iPoint Group, a leading provider of software and consulting for environmental and social product compliance and sustainability, today announced research that revealed key priorities and challenges regarding  supply chain sustainability for enterprise retail and Fast moving consumer goods (FMCG)/Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) companies. The survey questioned 250 U.S. and U.K. supply chain decision-makers and found that while 77 percent consider supply chain sustainability a strategic priority with a clear plan and vision, 92 percent of companies fall behind on their commitment due to perceived time and effort.


The research looked at supply chain sustainability drivers and unsurprisingly found that cost saving is the number one goal among managers when creating a sustainable supply chain with 41 percent citing it. This was well above 31 percent looking to reduce environmental impact. In the U.S., managers are much more concerned about protecting against reputational damage, with 40 percent more managers citing it as a sustainability goal in the U.S. compared to the U.K.


Among the reasons given for barriers to implementing a sustainable strategy, 44 percent say it’s because of the time and effort required, and 43 percent say it’s difficult to prove the business case. Companies realize that sustainability is important but are finding it difficult or time-consuming to implement.


Despite increasing regulatory pressure and the acknowledgement that sustainability is a key priority, less than half of businesses have a formal measurement of the environmental impacts of their supply chain and track progress towards their sustainability goals.

Two  thirds  of survey participants  don’t  use  software  tools to measure impact;  and  even  though  89%  realize  there  are  tools available,  21%  don’t  know  which  tools  to  use, indicating a significant education gap.  


Joerg Walden, CEO of the iPoint Group, emphasizes: “More than ever before, organizations are facing increased demands for insight into their social and environmental performance. CSR or Environmental Social and Governance (ESG) data is no longer just a compliance or financial issue, it has become a social issue where stakeholders, including the public, take an interest in an organization’s CSR or ESG reports. It’s clear from our research that enterprise understands this, but the evidence points to the fact that there is a long way to go before the benefits of sustainability are realized through proper measurement.”


Oliver Mueller, Co-Founder and CEO of iPoint BiS, adds: “We live in an era where data can deliver easily trackable progress and actionable insights for decisions and improvements in real time. EHS and sustainability need solid reporting to make a measurable difference and to prove the business case. More than this, EHS and sustainability can rise above organizational boundaries by providing complete transparency into organizational and supply chain relationships through automation, turning sustainability into a business advantage and easily proving the business case.”


CiDER, iPoint BiS’ EHS and sustainability application, is built on graph database technology and event-sourced data management to enables multi-layered inventory and visualization of multi-tiered supply chain relationships. CiDER focuses on usability and performance efficiency to deliver business analytics for decision support. 


About iPoint

iPoint is a leading provider of software and consulting for environmental and social product compliance, and sustainability. More than 50,000 companies around the globe rely on iPoint for managing, tracking, analyzing, and reporting data across the whole value creation network. Since its founding in 2001, iPoint has been constantly expanding the iPoint Group and its solutions portfolio to realize its vision of building an integrated digital platform for the Circular Economy and a holistic sustainable operating system. The latest additions include the ifu Institute for Environmental IT Hamburg, an industry leader in Life Cycle Assessment and Material Flow Cost Accounting, CircularTree, a Berlin- and Melbourne-based Blockchain and sustainable supply chain startup, and iPoint BiS in Stuttgart, a provider of EHS & Sustainability solutions.


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