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Supplier Sustainability: How Fast Can You Move the Needle?

Posted By Jeff Moad, July 05, 2011 at 10:45 AM, in Category: Sustainability

As manufacturers begin to extend sustainability efforts into their supply chains, pushing suppliers to meet emission and other standards and measuring their performance, how quickly can manufacturers expect to see measurable results?

A new report from medical products maker Baxter International Inc. suggests that companies taking a structured approach can expect to impact supplier behavior fairly quickly. Baxter, which rolled out a multi-part Global Supplier Sustainability Program a couple of years ago, last year started conducting an annual survey of its suppliers to determine their progress. In 2009, Baxter found that 34% of its suppliers could be considered "green", meaning that they said they had developed or were in the process of developing programs aimed at things like reducing GHG emissions and reducing waste. By 2010, however, the survey indicated that 44% of the Baxter suppliers questioned could be considered green.

The survey included a subset of Baxter's 35,000 suppliers in 100 countries. Baxter spends $5.5 billion with them annually.

Baxter's Global Supplier Sustainability Program looks at supplier performance in reducing environmental impacts, compliance with global material regulations, protection of employee environmental, health, and safety in manufactuirng, and compliance with anti-terrorism trade guidelines such as C-TPAT.

Is your company also working with suppliers on sustainability compliance? If so, are you seeing similar rates of progress? What practices do you find most effective in collaborating with suppliers on sustainability?

Category: Sustainability
Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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