A sustainable supply chain is one that fully integrates ethical and environmentally responsible practices into a competitive and successful model. End-to-end supply chain transparency is critical; sustainability initiatives must extend from raw materials sourcing, to last-mile logistics, and even to product returns and recycling processes.
Digital transformation and the growing sophistication of digital supply chain technologies are playing a major part in the evolution of supply chain transparency and sustainability. Big Data management, advanced analytics, artificial intelligence (AI), and security tools, such as blockchain and RFID sensors, have brought unprecedented visibility and accountability to modern supply chains. Companies now have a much greater ability – and obligation – to demonstrate corporate social responsibility and to share best practices for green supply chains and sustainable logistics.
As ethical supply chain practices become a greater and more immediate priority for businesses, compliance goals and sustainability benchmarks are also becoming more standardized. The United Nations Global Compact has laid out 10 criteria for measuring supply chain sustainability. These cover areas of environmental responsibility, labor practices, human rights, and corruption. These principles are built upon the realization that socially responsible practices and products are not only good for people and the planet, but are also good for building positive brand awareness, competitiveness, and long-term profitability.