Focusing on Sustainability, Companies to Collect More Data from Suppliers

Executives See Path to Significant Sustainability Gains

New York City (July 24, 2012) – Green Research, a New York-based corporate sustainability research and advisory firm, today released a new study of corporate environmental sustainability practices and trends.  The study finds efforts to improve sustainability in corporate supply chains are hindered by poor data quality and a lack of measurement standards. In a survey of 30 senior sustainability and procurement executives at major companies globally, 62 percent of executives said their efforts to track supply chain sustainability performance are impaired by a lack of measurement standards. For suppliers already beleaguered by numerous information requests, things will get worse before they get better: 81 percent of companies plan to ask suppliers for more information in the coming year.

Executives Believe Gains Are Possible without Compromising Business Goals

Despite the challenges, executives are optimistic about the prospects for significantly improving sustainability in their supply chains. “Companies often lack direct control over their suppliers and sub-suppliers,” said David Schatsky, principal analyst and founder of Green Research.  “But new tools and management practices are empowering companies to drive improvements in supply chain sustainability.” Sixty-four percent of executives surveyed said their companies can have significant influence on their top suppliers’ sustainability performance.  Eighty-four percent believe their companies can obtain much better environmental performance from suppliers without compromising their companies’ business goals.

New Management Practices Profiled

Supply chain sustainability improvements will be made possible in part by the adoption of new green technologies throughout the supply chain but also by new management practices, Green Research found. The company conducted a series of exclusive executive interviews coupled with an analysis of public company disclosures to identify 10 supply chain sustainability best practices. These include setting specific goals; educating and supporting suppliers; and leveraging emerging standards to collect and analyze sustainability data from the supply chain.

Report Offers Vendor Assessment Guidance

The study also finds that a wide range of technology vendors and service providers have entered the market with solutions for helping companies collect, track and manage supply chain sustainability performance data. The study presents profiles of a dozen such vendors representing a range of approaches for addressing supply chain sustainability issues, along with a Vendor Assessment Framework companies can use to help them select an appropriate vendor. Nearly 40 percent of executives surveyed in the study said their companies were somewhat likely or very likely to acquire a new IT system to help with supplier sustainability information over the next 12 months.

The supply chain sustainability study is available for purchase online at greenresearch.com.

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Filed under press release, Supply chain, sustainability

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