Why should I take action?
Your supply chain affects the environment and communities in a wide variety of ways:
- Energy purchases can directly affect the release of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide linked to global warming
- Sourcing of wood-based products (wood and paper for example) can have a significant impact on habitats, species and indigenous communities
- Toxic materials can be released by mining and manufacturing activities to produce your raw materials
- Low supply costs may be at the cost of others resulting in low wages and child exploitation.
Modern environmental legislation imposes limits and controls on pollution emissions focussing on “producer responsibility” making it the duty of those businesses that cause pollution to pay the cost to prevent pollution in the first place is the most cost effective option.
Investors are becoming more selective about how they lend money, looking for good returns based on a high standard of environmental performance. Insurers are looking for clients to apply good risk management practices to warrant lower premiums.
Customers increasingly make buying decisions where products demonstrate good environmental and ethical performance. The general public is increasingly concerned about the impact of corporate activity on local and global environments.
What can I do?
You can save money and improve your business image by applying the following hierarchy to purchasing decisions:
- Rethink – e.g. review what you buy, challenge repeat orders, minimise stockholding
- Eliminate – e.g. hazardous materials, raw materials with a high energy or water demand
- Reduce – e.g. cut down distance travelled by buying locally wherever possible
- Reuse – e.g. purchase paper and cardboard as product packaging, refillable containers