End-To End Environmental Transparency

ds-smith-tim-price_2015In the wake of the The VW emissions scandal, Tim Price, DS Smith marketing director looks at why environmental transparency is important for your brand, saying smart brands have ditched traditional supply chains for something far more efficient and far more transparent…

DSSmithThe VW emissions scandal has highlighted peoples’ wariness on any company’s environmental claims. We all know environmental concerns are THE big issue. We – both as citizens and organisations – know more about it than we ever did. By osmosis we’re absorbing the information from governments, NGOs, lobbyists, and scientists.

VW will be counting the cost of its actions for some time to come so it’s a timely reminder of the role transparency plays in any business. It’s important that business is transparent; keeping us informed about what we are buying, where it came from, and what should happen to a product once it, and indeed its packaging, reaches the end of its life.

Brands have for a long time understood the whole supply chain – they need to do so to deliver goods to the market competitively, efficiently and, of course, profitably. But the smart brands do so much more than that now.

Now a smart brand does all that whilst mitigating the effect of its supply chain on the environment – achieving the twin goals of environmental and financial benefits. In fact, really smart brands have ditched traditional supply chains for something far more efficient and far more transparent.

Supply Cycle

Traditional supply chains are linear: materials come in, are processed and moved out. With no real end-to-end transparency or consequence, such linear models are exposed to multiple material leakage points. They do not lend themselves to reducing and recycling the waste produced. A move to a more circular model, let’s think of a supply cycle instead of a supply chain, shifts focus to a concentration on resource management. Now we start designing waste out, reusing stuff where practical. When recycling materials reach the end of their life, we turn them into something useful to be used within the supply cycle again and again and again.

If you consider recycling and waste management at the point of waste production then you have left it too late. This issue needs to be considered at all points of a supply cycle, from purchasing through to production. And waste management is not about finding a simple collection service. You want so much more than that. Benchmarking, realising achievable best practice, using data to make informed decisions, project management, environmental benefits and reduced costs. You want it all. And the question you should be asking a new supplier is ‘how much value can you bring to my brand?’

All this requires and provides brands with transparency. Transparency is required to achieve such a model, but also the supply cycle provides a brand with a transparent model of environmental best practice.

Any businesses that take environmental issues seriously and offer transparency throughout, from materials sourcing, through lean production to sustainable waste management and recycling, adds value to their brands. Remember, a great brand should be trusted by its customers, believed by its employees, and add value to what it sells. Environmental transparency underpins this all.

More information on improving environmental transparency can be found at the DS Smith website

Darrel Moore

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