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Take a collaborative approach to supply chain sustainability

Whether you are already in close contact with suppliers, collating Scope 3 carbon emissions, or have yet to consider supply chain sustainability, it is vital that suppliers feel supported in their pursuit of environmental impact reduction.

What is a "collaborative approach"?

Collaboration in this context means framing supply chain sustainability as a team effort. This means removing harsh judgement from the process by giving suppliers the chance to improve. It helps micro businesses and SMEs to be part of your business ecosystem.

It is about taking an open minded and fair approach to each business, acknowledging that not all suppliers will have the time or finances to achieve advanced environmental milestones such as Net Zero or B Corp accreditation.

The stronger your business ecosystem, the stronger your long-term outlook, so building a trusting relationship in the short term can have long term benefits.

Tip: Consider whether your supply chain audit procedure allows suppliers to provide supplementary information. This helps them feel heard and prevents a frustrating experience for smaller businesses that are doing a lot to reduce their environmental impact but might not be capable of immediately hitting more stringent criteria.

Why is a collaborative approach more effective when it comes to supply chain sustainability?

Collaborating with suppliers, rather than just monitoring them, is more effective in ensuring that they are engaging in green and sustainable practices, according to a study from Esade Business School in Barcelona and the Universidad Carlos III in Madrid.

“Monitoring alone does not have a direct impact on suppliers’ environmental practices. For example, simply monitoring suppliers’ waste and pollution levels does not inspire them to have environmentally friendly production processes” - International Journal of Operations & Production Management

In our experience with Kanopi users, we have experienced the impact of a collaborative approach first hand, whereby suppliers have been far more enthusiastic about sustainability overall when given the chance and support to improve their environmental performance.

Why should I support my suppliers with their environmental action plans?

Although large organisations are under no strict obligation to nurture their supply chains in this way, it is important to ensure you are maximising opportunities to a) reduce risk, and b) improve your company reputation.

By providing suppliers with a platform like Kanopi, you are not only helping them to identify any ways for them to be more sustainable, but you are still gathering fundamental environmental performance data.

To book a free Kanopi demo today, call 01743 343 403 or email

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