Water, carbon, and energy management is becoming a critical sustainable business strategy to address internal and external supply issues. Creating supply chain management alignment through increased eco awareness, cooperative business relationships, and applied sustainability concepts can have immediate business impacts and reduce business sustainability risk. As a result of the business environment rapidly changing, companies not only have to react but also lead by example.
But what does leading by example really mean? From a sustainable business context, proactive businesses like IBM, Walmart, Timberland are applauded by incorporating sustainable business strategies in core operations. For instance, “Walmart and other major retail and industry giants are driving upstream and downstream performance based changes, designed to reduce suppliers environmental footprints and focused on several key areas: energy management, fuel cost containment, carbon emissions, water use and waste generation. ” That would be the most common example of “lead by example.”
But what about the reactors to these strategies? Are they not leading by example as well? Considering the larger scope of the business world is without sustainable business strategies or even perhaps an awareness of sustainability, is it possible the suppliers in these supply chains, while reacting to the initiatives of the broader business sustainability initiatives are in fact, leading by example as well? “Now to that you may say that suppliers are goaded, cajoled, forced, strongly encouraged, or perhaps threatened to comply, or else risk losing millions in contracts.” Quite the contrary, “with the likes of Miller, IBM, Hewlett Packard and others continues to be more of the carrot and less of the stick- more collaboration and performance based incentives coupled with onsite verification- that’s all good because it encourages accountability.”
Both roles serve a purpose and synergistically perpetuate the proverbial green ball rolling. What does make a difference? If you’re not on the playing field. As they say, you have to play to win.
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