One core belief that we stand by at Agilité is that we are only as good as our supply chain. But what does this mean in practice? Every decision we make as business owners has some impact on the environment – whether it’s direct, such as greenhouse gas emissions, or indirectly through our suppliers. 

 

Why businesses may be cautious about sustainability  

We all want to do better for the planet. But one of the biggest objections to making sustainable change comes from lack of knowledge. How can we measure the impact of our carbon-cutting initiatives, and where does the supply chain fit into this? 

A great place to start is by reviewing our suppliers. We need to look for credentials – real standards as set by organisations such as the Global Reporting Initiative – as well as solid evidence of change-making. This will require some degree of research and transparency between suppliers, for example: 

 

Why we should all prioritise sustainability in the supply chain 

Moving to a sustainable supply chain affects every facet of the business. In our latest report, Conscious Construction: Building a Sustainable Supply Chain, we discuss the wide-reaching benefits. 

 

1. The climate imperative 

At present, the construction industry is one of the biggest contributors to climate change – responsible for 40% of water pollution and 50% of landfill waste respectively. By reducing our climate impact, we can create a more sustainable future, while also improving our bottom lines.  

Alexandre Loisy, pre-construction director at Agilité, says: “Reducing your business’ environmental impact can lead to huge savings. Not only will it reduce waste; it will also boost efficiency and create a positive culture within the organisation.” 

 

2. Legislative concerns 

An ESG conscience is not only a “nice-to-have”, says Cintia Procaci, founder of eco-conscious consultancy A Beautiful Green. Legislative changes can impact risk management, so it is important for companies to have full transparency over their supply chain. 

Likewise, she notes, pressure from other organisations such as the EU will put the spotlight on reporting. “One EU proposal will demand that multinationals have clarity around human rights in the value chain, whilst another asks companies to produce non-financial reports that detail their sustainability efforts.” 

 

3. Winning new business 

Corporate social responsibility is now becoming aligned with other value-adding factors such as price or reliability. Procaci adds: “Ethically, stakeholders are becoming increasingly educated around the sustainable issues facing the global population.” 

This means that businesses are increasingly incentivised to work with others who share their values. As Loisy notes, making our green agenda known can help to establish strong professional connections. Accreditations such as ISO 14001 only serve to strengthen this further.

 

4. Diversifying the supply chain 

The events of 2020 and beyond have wreaked untold havoc on supply chains throughout the world. From a pandemic to conflict, stakeholders are having to source new means to deliver their products on time.  

A sustainable supply chain is a diversified one – working with multiple suppliers to reduce mileage and deliver on schedule. This prevents downtime and protects companies’ reputations. 

 

5. Improving company culture 

A sustainable supply chain helps us to mitigate risk. These risks are not only about buying and selling, but about the workforce itself. Just as our clients are looking to work with more socially conscious businesses, so too are colleagues.  

A global millennial survey by Deloitte found that 63% of workers in this age range donate to charities, while 43% volunteer. By weaving sustainability into the company culture, we can attract top talent. 

 

Is a sustainable supply chain on your to-do list for 2023? 

Prioritising corporate social responsibility will have far-reaching, long-term benefits for your business. But how can we start to make the change? Our report, Conscious Construction: Building a Sustainable Supply Chain, offers actionable tips and insights to help you get started. 

 

Download the free report here >

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