Randall Krantz: “Address sustainability throughout the entire chain”

Companies will increasingly face questions about the sustainable nature of their suppliers’ supply chains – so says Randall Krantz from the World Economic Forum during the Sustainable Supply Chains congress organised jointly by TruEconomy Consulting and Supply Chain Magazine. “We already see this happening with regard to poor working conditions at suppliers in developing countries,” explained Krantz, who, together with Deloitte, presented a road map for sustainability.

“Sustainability is heading in the same direction as e-business and quality management. Eventually, it will become part of a company’s DNA,” Randall Krantz continued. “Less than ten years ago, it was considered unusual for companies to have an e-business strategy, whereas nowadays everyone has got one. The same will happen with sustainability.”

Krantz identifies a number of things that we should be doing differently – innovation, for one: “We need to create value rather than objects.” Collaboration is another – preferably throughout the entire chain. Companies should feel responsible not only for their own part of the chain, but also for that of their suppliers.
Krantz: “In the past, when companies were challenged about the poor working conditions at their suppliers’ facilities in developing countries, they could claim it was none of their business. That might have worked a few years ago, but not anymore. And the same goes for sustainability.”

 Factor four
Companies will also need to adapt their values and demonstrate leadership, “and where investment is involved, the focus should be on the long term,” maintains Krantz, who claims that it is all moving too slowly at the moment: “We are seeing only marginal improvements rather than major transformations.” Krantz recalls the book ‘Factor Four’, by the German scientist, politician and member of the Club of Rome, Ernst von Weizsäcker in which Von Weizsäcker depicts a society with twice the level of prosperity achieved with just half of the resources.