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Sustainability and the Supply Chain Agenda

We are pleased to announce our upcoming 23rd Semi-Annual Supply Chain Resource Cooperative (SCRC) Meeting. The meeting will take place on April 28th and 29th at NC State University in Raleigh, NC. The theme of this meeting focuses on the increasing strategic focus on sustainability that many organizations are seeking to weave into their supply chain operations. Sustainability comprises not only environmental impacts, but also spans areas such as labor and human rights violations in the extended supply chain.

Despite the continuous discussion of sustainability theme in the press, the fact is that there remains a fundamental disconnect between the concept of sustainability and its application into organizations’ supply chain operations. This is true on a number of fronts, including contract environmental impacts, low cost country sourcing and human rights compliance, product and process design material planning, life cycle costing product design, disposition and reverse logistics, and logistics carbon foot printing. Many of the tools in these areas have been around for a number of years, yet their application rates are low due to the complexity and policy impact requirements that remain unresolved.

On the other hand, the risks associated with not focusing on sustainability issues are also apparent. Organizations who have had environmental or human rights mishaps have been sorely punished at the hands of the press. Whether executives believe it or not, sustainability is a topic on the front of everyone’s mind, and must be planned for and managed accordingly. In our next meeting, “Applying Sustainable Principles to the Supply Chain” we explore some of the lessons learned from a number of industry experts who bring to bear their views on this issue in a closed forum of executives. Interested parties should contact Lauren Van Arsdale, SCRC Operations Manager, at

Some of the questions that we will consider in the areas of sustainable supply chain management at this conference will include the following:

• How are environmental and human rights criteria integrated into global low cost sourcing activities if there is no visibility into operations in these areas?
• How can your organization align sustainability with current contract structures, cost reduction initiatives, regulatory requirements, and supply chain planning?
• What incentives can be created for suppliers and logistics partners to ensure that sustainability becomes part of their own corporate agenda?
• What changes in current sourcing, planning, and logistics activities will be impacted if sustainability initiatives are truly taken seriously?
• And finally, how can sustainable supply chains be measured and linked to shareholder value?

This SCRC meeting, “Applying Sustainable Principles to the Supply Chain,” is an excellent opportunity for you and your team to listen to a number of expert opinions on these topics, network and share perspectives with other executives facing the same sets of challenges. The meeting is a private forum for open discussion of problems faced by executives with a common interest in driving intelligent solutions to a largely undefined and challenging public directive.