There is a lot of information floating around in the media about the environment, climate change, sustainability, pollution, nature preservation and more. It cannot be understated how important these topics are to our present and to our future.
But a phrase that recently caught my attention from the World Economic Forum (WEF) was the “Nature Positive Economy”. That sounded like phrasing that would capture the interest of environmentalists and business people alike.
What did they mean by a “Nature Positive Economy”? And given that nothing can happen without a leading and supportive Supply Chain, by extension what is a “Nature Positive Supply Chain”?
One commercial on TV states that by the year 2050 there will actually be more plastic in the ocean than fish!
By 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish!
That’s alarming to say the very least.
We dutifully put any and all recyclable material in our recycling bins every week. While we could certainly do more to reduce the amount of plastic we consume in the first place we have lived with the belief that we were doing our part through recycling.
But everywhere we look on TV and on Social Media we hear about the catastrophic levels of plastic waste floating in our oceans and our waterways, and littering our landscape.
This is a monumental, global environmental crisis caused by a severely broken Supply Chain.
When I was 11 years old everyone in Grade 6 was required to create and make a speech in front of the class. I wrote a speech on Air Pollution. It was an emerging issue in the news at that time. I talked about statistics on the levels of Air Pollution, the damage it was causing, and what we needed to do to curtail and fix the problem. This was long before I had heard the words Supply Chain Carbon Footprint.
I ended up winning the local and regional public speaking competitions with that speech. I didn’t actually end up doing much about Air Pollution beyond helping to promote awareness of the issue with my speech. But it did plant the idea in my mind that we all had a responsibility to create awareness and help protect our environment in whatever manner that we could.
In September 2019, the U.N. climate summit convened in New York. It saw leaders from around the world pledging new initiatives to address the ongoing climate crisis and sustainability, including a $60 Billion renewable energy commitment from Germany, and 15 countries including Britain, Norway and Costa Rica pledging to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050.
World leaders are responding to massive climate protests and strikes around the world, with students inspired by activist Greta Thunberg and others demanding more action.
Around the world, people are demanding more from their governments, business communities, and their fellow consumers to help create a more sustainable future. None of these three communities can solve the crisis alone, but all have a part to play.
Brands labeled as having a Green Supply Chain have started becoming synonymous with sustainability, trustworthiness, quality and forward thinking.
For this very reason, companies globally are frantically climbing to the tallest of buildings to shout out their dedication to supply chain sustainability, and describe the sustainable actions that will follow ‘according to their 2020 initiatives’.
I don’t mean to come off snarky, but there is a clear-cut discourse that has formed between brands actualizing supply chain sustainability, and those who are marketing supply chain sustainability.
Do you know what all big brands have in common? Eco-friendly packaging and sustainable packaging! Well-known brands all over the globe have made slight modifications to their packaging to cater to conscious and educated consumer needs.
This change will help shape the future of retail, help companies retain and grow their customer base with the rise in awareness of environmental issues.
I retired from a multi-national supply chain management company to become a co-owner of a label manufacturing company, which was a real culture change for me.
In the past discussions were held with a Director or Vice President of Supply Chain or Procurement or even the Chief Operations Officer about the design or re-design of the Supply Chain. In my new position, I get to meet the buyers or an executive in charge or procuring labels. In some companies they are categorized as “Consumables”.
There is very little high level attention paid to labels due to the low cost of the labels which can be a few cents to less than a cent. Many buyers feel that the labels are such insignificant parts of the product and place very little time and attention in the sourcing and procurement of the labels.