Chief Green

machine learnings

The record number of forest fires in the Amazon rainforest in Brazil recently caused a huge public outcry. Since then, evidence has emerged of other huge fires in Africa’s Congo Basin forest, Siberia and Indonesia. As attention grows – and rightly so – for these wildfires around the world, sustainability is increasingly making its way onto the agendas of not only governments but also businesses. For most companies, it’s a matter of jumping on the bandwagon. But truly embracing sustainability as part of your strategy calls for leadership with a long-term vision.

Ray Andersen, CEO of the US carpet tile manufacturer Interface, announced his Mission Zero commitment for 2020 back in 1994. Similarly, Paul Polman introduced Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan in 2010, just a year after becoming CEO of the company. It is aimed at halving Unilever’s environmental footprint caused by the manufacture and use of products by 2030 without hampering company growth. According to a recent survey by The Economist, 36% of companies are striving to pursue a sustainable supply chain strategy because of growth opportunities.

Mindmap for sustainable business

In the summer of 2016, I spoke to Paul Polman personally about creating a mindmap for sustainable business. Although he helped me to gain access to various experts, the mindmap didn’t materialize back then, mainly due to time constraints on both sides. But now, three years later, we’ve finally published a mindmap for sustainable supply chains. It visualizes the various trends, their impact on company departments, the supply chain challenges and possible solutions. Hopefully, this mindmap will give supply chain professionals a much-needed basis for taking constructive steps towards sustainable business models.

The Native Americans, also known as American Indians, have always felt a strong connection to the earth and – just like their forebears – want to leave their descendants a sustainable future. In view of their cross-functional responsibilities and their overview of the complete chain of raw materials and end products, supply chain professionals would seem to be the ideal ‘Chief Green’ to realize a sustainable supply chain – with or without the help of our mindmap.

Martijn Lofvers, Chief Trendwatcher Supply Chain Media
martijn.lofvers@supplychainmedia.nl