Benefits of Environmental Sustainability in SME Supply Chain

1. Improved brand image and competitive advantage.
The improvement of brand awareness through ―doing good‖ is becoming one of the pillars of advertising. Encouragement and practice to conserve resources not only improves brand awareness. The opportunity to enhance brand image is lost if the company doesn‘t do as it preaches.

2. Increase productivity and reduce costs-extractors of sustainability claim that sustainable business practices eat into corporate profit. Development of sustainable business practices lends itself to efficient operation that streamlines effort and conserves resources, which enhances employee productivity and reduces cost. Reducing cost also encompasses energy conservation strategies that can be as simple as turning off unnecessary lights and insulating walls to more sophisticated efforts such as installation of geothermal heating and cooling systems.

3. Increase business ability to comply with regulation. With all the discussion regarding climate change, dwindling energy resources, and environmental impact, it‘s no surprise that state and federal government agencies are enacting regulations to protect the environment. Integrating sustainability into your business will position it to meet changing regulations in a timely manner.

4. Attract employees and investors. People like to be associated with the positive, especially younger generations raised on a steady diet of environmental protection messages. They do not want to be linked to companies implicated in ecological disasters and social
welfare scandals. Show your company as respectful of the environment and of its employees and it will attract the calibre of people whom you want to employ and the funds your business needs to expand.

5. Reduce waste. This is likely the simplest and most obvious way to engage in sustainable practices. Beginning in the 1990s with offices collecting empty cans for recycling, the effort has grown to encompass waste mitigation in paper (conserving trees and forest habitats), value engineering of products (reworking or developing new processes that use less raw materials, waste less material in production of goods), to changing out incandescent lights for LED lights (greater efficiency combined with fewer bulbs used).

6. Increasing profitability- Green energy is cheaper. Attracts many customers as most people are environmental conscious

7. Innovating Products and Services. Suppliers that understand a company‘s vision and long-term plans are better equipped to suggest changes and ungraded to products and processes, which can improve operations and also help companies accomplish innovation goals. The key to a sustainable supply chain is trust between customers and suppliers — and this can also create more profitable supplier relationships

8. Creating Partnerships or Global-Industry Standards

9. Protecting Against Reputational Damage. Stakeholders including investors and customers are increasingly putting pressure on businesses to extend their sustainability policies into their supply chains. This is evidenced by a record number of shareholder resolutions related to supply chain sustainability in recent years, as well as social media pressure on companies to ensure they are viewed as committed to sustainable and responsible business practices.

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