Managing the Impacts of Sustainability in Supply Chains
Last week in San Jose Oracle held its third annual Oracle Value Chain Summit, the largest gathering of supply chain professionals in North America. There were over 2,500 value chain experts representing more than 425 companies from 31 countries in attendance. A common theme throughout many of the session presentations was the topic of sustainability and the need to integrate sustainability throughout the value chain in order for it to be truly cost and environmentally effective. Andrew Winston kicked off the sustainability discussion during his keynote titled ‘The Big Pivot: Doing Business in a Hotter, Scarcer, and More Open World’. Andrew, co-author of ‘Green to Gold’ and author of ‘The Big Pivot’, is a globally recognized business strategy expert. He highlighted his vision for business success in a fundamentally changed world, discussing how businesses are being challenged and transformed by a number of critical sustainability-related trends including deep demographic shifts, resource constraints, extreme weather events, and radical transparency. But these challenges also offer unprecedented business opportunities, particularly in supply chains which comprise a large component of sustainability impacts for most organizations. Information technology is playing a significant role not only in terms of transparency but also by providing unprecedented means to drive efficiency and innovation.
These same thoughts were echoed in a later session titled ‘Radically Practical Strategies to Address Supply Chain Sustainability’. Andrew hosted this panel discussion where sustainability experts from National Instruments, Stanford University, and Oracle discussed various sustainability strategies used at their respective organizations. The panelists discussed both the successes and opportunities they have experienced while implementing initiatives to make sustainability a key embedded component in their organizations. The common thread was that sustainability has emerged as a new business reality that can deliver significant business opportunities to organizations in terms of risk management, cost avoidance, revenue growth, and brand equity.