Going green is a priority for many supply chain managers today, but not every effort is successful. In fact, efforts to “go green” often involve strategies whose impacts are difficult to measure. A crucial part of any environmental initiative is being able to evaluate how green your supply chain is in an actionable way. While there’s no single way to assess a program’s success, some organizations have provided guidance that supply chain managers can use to gauge their effectiveness and improve their policies.
How Green Is Your Supply Chain? Assessing Sustainability KPIs
While making efforts to go green is admirable, it’s an empty gesture if no true change occurs as a result of your initiatives. While there is no standardized green supply chain rating system in the U.S., there is one in China with standards general enough to be applicable in any country. The Corporate Information Transparency Index establishes green supply chain ratings based on several criteria, including:
- Responsiveness and transparency: This standard measures how the company responds to questions about its green practices, as well as ways it makes its own efforts public. If the general public knows little about a company’s sustainability initiatives, it tends to assume that these initiatives don’t exist. As a result, transparency is a primary criterion for proving that a company is dedicated to green supply chain management.
- Compliance and corrective actions: The speed at which a company addresses issues within the supply chain that waste resources or damage the environment is a crucial component of this rating. In addition, a business’ relationship with suppliers that follow unsustainable practices will impact that company’s compliance score, as doing business with an environmentally irresponsible company is just as damaging as following poor internal practices.
- Positive influence on other organizations: By pushing their direct suppliers to adopt green supply chain practices, companies can extend their environmental impact and drive sustainable change. Supporting local businesses that already follow green practices is also a key component of this.
- Energy conservation and emissions reduction: This criterion is about making efforts to reduce energy use through smart changes like switching to LED lights or streamlining travel routes to cut fuel consumption. It also involves supporting the companies that make this a priority through means such as working with transporters that use an electric fleet or buying carbon offsets.
- Promoting green choice: Companies should reach out to consumers to help them understand the importance of the environmental impact of every product’s life cycle. They should encourage consumers to seek transparency from companies they do business with and to minimize their own environmental impact.
One often overlooked area of opportunity is pallet supply.
By reviewing each of these key areas, supply chain managers can better understand how green their supply chain is, as well as areas they can improve. One often overlooked area of opportunity is pallet supply, as shipping platforms affect a business’ sustainability in multiple areas, from natural resource depletion to energy use.
Simple Options for Improving Your Sustainability Score
There are many ways to make your supply chain more green, but switching to plastic pallet pooling is particularly effective because it helps companies improve their sustainability across the board. The eco-friendly benefits start from the moment plastic pallets are made and continue to the day they’re retired.
When a plastic pallet reaches the end of its useful life, it doesn’t wind up in a landfill as wood pallets do.
- Plastic Pallet Creation: Plastic is a far greener base material for a pallet than wood. This is especially true when you compare plastic pallets to hardwood pallets, which are made from hardwood trees that may take decades to grow back. Plastic pallets, meanwhile, doesn’t require the destruction of trees and can be created from recycled plastic.
- Plastic Pallet Use: When in use, plastic pallets help companies minimize fuel usage. As plastic pallets are lighter than reusable wood pallets, the use of plastic pallets can reduce the weight of a truck’s cargo load, which cuts back on fuel use and therefore carbon emissions. Pallet pooling also minimizes waste in transportation since a pooling service’s network of clients and depots makes pallet transportation and reuse streamlined and fuel-efficient.
- Plastic Pallet Disposal: Finally, when a plastic pallet reaches the end of its useful life, it doesn’t wind up in a landfill as all wood pallets inevitably do. Instead, it’s ground down to make a “new” plastic pallet, ensuring there’s no waste in the supply chain and creating a closed-loop model of business.
Measuring how green your supply chain is isn’t a simple task. It requires a lot of subjective assessment that leaves much room for error. However, plastic pallet pooling is a proven method for establishing eco-friendly practices across the supply chain, making it an ideal starting point for reducing the environmental impact of your company’s logistics.
iGPS pooled plastic pallets will help you create a more sustainable supply chain. To learn more about switching to plastic pallet pooling, contact us at 1-800-884-0225, email a specialist at [email protected], or visit our contact page.