4 Supply Chain Trends That Will Promote Sustainability

4 Supply Chain Trends That Will Promote Sustainability

As customers and activist pressure for sustainability grows, companies are turning to supply chain improvements to promote efficiency and find more environmentally friendly solutions. At the same time, trends in logistics are drawing on important technologies that will naturally boost efficiency. 
Here are 4 key supply chain trends that will promote sustainability. 
 
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1. Green Logistics 
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The rise of sustainability as a consumer concern is driving companies to adopt “green logistics” to win customers and cut costs ( http://www.tradeready.ca/2019/topics/supply-chain-management/6-global-supply-chain-trends-to-watch-in-2020-and-beyond/ ) at the same time. The success of the young environmentalist, Greta Thunberg, attests to the popularity of environmental causes among younger consumers in particular, and this is driving companies to make greater efforts to promote sustainability in their supply chain operations. 
By adopting sustainability-oriented approaches, companies are cutting costs in their supply chains even as they reduce their impact on the environment. It’s a win-win for business and for the environment.
 
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2. Better Transparency in the Supply Chain 
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Supply chain transparency has helped to increase accountability as well as highlight areas for improvement. This is very much a movement in progress: companies are undertaking more and more efforts toward transparency, and the trend is likely to continue. 
Consumer pressure in this area continues to grow, and that will mean that companies will have to take more action to provide transparency in their supply chains. This is expected to include preparing reports on the impact of their supply chains showing jobs created, sourcing practices, types of labor, and the modes of transportation used. 
This is certainly a trend to watch, as companies are only likely to become more transparent over time.
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3. Blockchain Tools 
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Blockchain tools ( https://www.supplychain-academy.net/supply-chain-trends-2020/ ) are playing an important role in promoting supply chain visibility. It’s not hard to see why: blockchain technology functions as distributed public ledgers, meaning every transaction is logged on every node in the blockchain network. 
This trend toward the use of blockchain is contributing to transparency as per the above. The entire nature of blockchain defies centralized control: if information is provided to the blockchain, it is visible across the blockchain. This is particularly important for sharing information pertaining to sustainability. 
 
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4. Automation 
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Automation is scarcely new, but it is actively transforming supply chains with increasing impact. In 2019, for example, companies in North America bought over 16,400 robots to the tune of $869 million. Autonomous mobile robots are also expected to speed up labor-intensive tasks, radically increasing productivity. This is very good news for efficiency, which will have a significant impact on the use of natural resources. 
The rise of drones is expected to have a significant impact on supply chains as well. Before long, drones will be regularly ferrying small packages to customers’ doorsteps. Overall, automation and robotics will enhance productivity and efficiency, not kill humans’ jobs. Instead, people will work in higher-value tasks, making use of information provided by robots and by software. 
 
Supply chains are becoming more sustainable and more efficient. This is not an accident: both trends are being driven by consumer pressure, technology, and business interest in greater efficiency for savings and for PR. The future of supply chains looks increasingly sustainable. 

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