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SAP: Sustainability comes to the forefront

Supply Chain Digital examines SAP’s eGuide “Surviving and Thriving: How Supply Chain Leaders can minimise risk and maximise opportunities.”

|Jan 7|magazine5 min read

In the last of four articles, we zone in on the importance of sustainability.

Sustainability will be an increasingly important focus for organisations worldwide over the coming years as they seek to satisfy consumer demand and comply with regulations, while still meeting their individual goals. 71% of respondents to SAP’s survey outlined that their organisations have a plan to decrease carbon emissions, while 86% believed that a sustainable supply chain is a competitive advantage and makes them stand apart.

Leaders showcase the importance of these priorities by being willing to sacrifice profits in the short-term to meet their goals. Three-quarters of Leaders confirmed that they are willing to do so and this inclination to give up impressive financial metrics is vital as they make way for other companies on their sustainability journeys.

As a Supply Chain Leader, this means experimenting to find innovative solutions and leading the charge in transitioning to sustainable manufacturing and sourcing, even if those solutions in the short-term come at the expense of profitability. A large proportion of Leaders are already addressing sustainability issues in some of their products across manufacturing, engineering and delivery with 69% confirming they have introduced sustainable practices on a wide scale across their supply chains in these areas. 

According to SAP’s analysis, sustainability was found to be the most challenging area for improvement for Supply Chain Leaders. They highlighted time to implementation (59%) and customer demand for speed and convenience (49%) as top obstacles to achieving sustainability. Additionally, they are increasingly more likely than others to say that designing sustainable products and sourcing sustainable materials has grown even more challenging over the past three years.

While all companies face stiff headwinds when it comes to ensuring sustainability throughout their supply chains, it’s important to keep an eye on customer-centricity and insights from real-time data that could simplify the task. In addition, the use of intelligent technologies can help firms meet their sustainability goals and reach their targets.

To read SAP’s full report on how Supply Chain Leaders can minimise risk and maximise opportunities, click here!

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