Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain
This is part 1 of a two-part series where we reflect back on some of the learnings shared by companies during the launch event for What is the size of the prize?
At BITC, we have been supporting and challenging businesses in building sustainable and resilient supply chains for a number of years, through guides and publications, training, events and bespoke advisory projects.
Last week, at an event hosted by Waitrose, BITC launched its new sustainable supply chain publication titled What is the size of the prize? Building resilient supply chains fit for the future. The publication calls on businesses to rethink sustainable supply chains, becoming proactive instead of reactive. This means moving away from responding to socio-economic and environmental risks and making the supply chain a central element of resilience and innovation which creates added value for business.
David Jones, Supply Chain Director, Waitrose, offered his insights from a buyer’s perspective. He maintained that “buying is all about relationships” and part of Waitrose’s strategy is to engage with suppliers on a one-to-one basis. This develops long-term relationships, securing prices and produce for now and the future. In turn, suppliers are associated with an ethical, trustworthy brand which helps them secure new business opportunities and creates financial stability.
Keith Weed, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Unilever, built on this from a brand and marketing perspective, emphasising the importance of sustainable supply chains. In Unilever’s own research into consumer attitudes, 83% of the 5,500 people surveyed showed an interest in the provenance of products. Within this group, 74% thought sustainable products are of better quality and 76% said they would purchase a sustainably sourced product. Ten years ago, the numbers would have been nowhere near as high as they are today. This shows there is a clear movement towards consumer engagement – and a demand for companies to start thinking about sustainable sourcing into the future.
While discussing the importance of sustainable supply chains from different perspectives, both speakers emphasised three crucial aspects:
In next week’s post, we will share further insights from companies in the audience who contributed ideas. Patrick Mallon, Field Director, BITC, led the discussion on three key themes from the publication: