Giving a short definition, sustainability, according to UN World Commission on Environment and Development, simply translates into “meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.”
With climate change knocking on our door, sustainability has grown in importance. Striving for sustainable development, also businesses need to adapt their way of operating. This includes the implementation of circular value chains and the reduction of their carbon footprint as part of a holistic sustainability strategy.
However, this leaves us with a rather vague understanding of sustainability and sustainable development. Diving further into the subject, three core elements that define and guide sustainability surface and give a better insight into what sustainable development means for businesses: people, planet, profit!
People stands for the care for employees within the organization, but also outside the organization. Caring about people means offering a livable environment, respecting human rights, and ensuring good working conditions in other countries. For example, good working conditions in countries where the raw materials come from.
Planet stands for a proactive attitude with regards to the natural environment. This can be done by contributing to solving environmental problems on which the organization has influence. Often, this translates into paying special attention to the circular value chain and renewable energy sources.
Profit is about the creation of economic value through the production of goods and the provision of services. An organization has to be profit-oriented to secure its own future. The presence of profit is therefore a precondition for improving the two other dimensions.
It has become increasingly clear that modern businesses need to transform how they operate their value chains. Two factors are thereby particularly important. First, circularity - the reuse and recycling of materials. Second, energy - moving towards renewable energy sources and conscious energy usage.
Such ideas will have lasting impacts on supply chains, from alternative raw materials down to return flows and changed activities in manufacturing. The ‘circular economy’, the related term ‘cradle to cradle’, and indicators such as the carbon footprint are all gaining a lot of attention in the wider supply chain community.
Also, Inchainge has occupied itself with questions of sustainability and how to address them within the value chain.
In terms of circularity, our serious game The Blue Connection helps you understand how to increase economic growth through circular strategies that foster environmental sustainability. These entail maintenance, repair, reuse, remanufacturing, refurbishment and recycling.
In terms of energy sources, our simulation The Fresh Connection further addresses a company’s carbon footprint and helps you to develop strategies to reduce it.
Our strategies enable companies to enter new markets and gain market share. Furthermore, they offer new and differentiating propositions, create competitive advantage, utilize the latest technology, and apply solutions to sustain our planet and your business.
Besides our business simulation games that can help you understand how to foster economic growth through sustainable strategies, you can also read more about related topics. Have a look at our website to read more about subject such as supply chain risk management, lean, data analytics, volatility, omnichannel and trade-offs in end-to-end supply chain management.