By the Editors of Supply & Demand Chain Executive
"Green" and "sustainability" have become new watchwords for the supply chain. Whether or not you believe that green supply chain goals are practical or attainable, and regardless of your feelings on topics like global warming and fair trade, the fact remains that more and more companies are beginning to incorporate green goals into their corporate social responsibility programs, and chief executives are looking to their supply chains to help meet those goals.
This year Supply & Demand Chain Executive is recognizing small, midsize and large companies that are taking steps to realize green goals with our 2008 Green Supply Chain Awards. We saw significant interest in the inaugural edition of the awards, receiving more than 50 submissions. From among the nominated companies our review panel selected 21 that stood out for their projects to incorporate sustainability objectives into their own supply chains or to enable sustainability in their customers' supply chain. The recipients of the 2008 Green Supply Chain Awards are listed below, along with a description of their projects.
Building Sustainability into the DNA
Private Sector Award Winner: Method Products, Inc.
San Francisco, www.methodhome.com
Chemical engineer Adam Lowry and his former roommate Eric Ryan founded Method Products eight years ago with a vision of bringing nontoxic, environmentally safe and yet highly effective cleaning products to market. Today, the company's innovative product designs grace the shelves at many of the best-known retailers in the U.S., UK, Canadian and Australian markets.
"It's important to note that one of our founders had been a passionate environmentalist long before the idea of Method as a company, as a brand, came to fruition," says Paul Tasner, senior director of operations at the company. "Striving for sustainability in every aspect of our business is truly part of our DNA."
Tasner says that Method is reluctant to use the word "goal" in describing its supply chain sustainability efforts. "We envision this process as a never-ending, constantly evolving effort. At Method, we believe in progress, not perfection."
The company incorporates recyclable and/or compostable packaging across its entire product line, maintains an uncompromising approach to the use of non-toxic raw materials in every product its sells, and takes advantage of solar-powered manufacturing and warehousing facilities whenever possible. It moves products by sea, rail and road – always in that preferential order. "Air freight is simply not an option," Tasner says.
Method also has worked with its third-party partners in manufacturing and logistics to instill its principles into their operations as well. As a result, its contract manufacturers re-circulate their waste water to protect the local sewage system and waterways. Method is a manufacturing member of the EPA's SmartWay Transport Partnership, and it formed a joint venture with the largest contract freight carrier in the United States – the J.B. Hunt Company – designed to deliver its products using a biodiesel-fueled, energy-efficient fleet.
Applying this uncompromising attitude to the supply chain is not always easy, Tasner admits. "As a company whose supply chain is primarily dominated by third-party relationships, our ability to effect change is considerably more difficult, we believe, than those businesses that control their own means of supply," he says. "Nevertheless, it hasn't changed our philosophy."