Supply Chain Management
Some corporations are recognizing the need to exert some control earlier in the product life cycle to ensure more environmentally friendly products. Supply Chain Management only works when Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM) have direct communication with their suppliers. The increasing use of contract labor in many countries and the complicated supply chain for some products, such as high tech electronics, makes control of the supply chain difficult — but not impossible.
Many companies and retailers have their suppliers fill in questionnaires or agree to certain standards. Often these standards are predicated by consumer concerns.
For instance, when consumers asked if B&Q, a major do-it-yourself housewares and sporting goods chain in Britain, used wood from the Amazon or from clear-cut forests, the company realized that “didn't know” really means “didn't care,” and set out to correct this lack of information. Now, B&Q holds their suppliers accountable to ensuring that all of its wood products are from sustainable forestry certified sources. Their policy is to “continue to build our customers’ trust that all our wood and paper products come either from proven, well-managed forests or recycled material, thereby continuing to grow sales and build pride for our entire supply chain”…“We will make wood from well-managed forests more competitive than wood from poor or unknown forestry.”
For more information, please visit B&Q’s website.
The fashion retailer H&M demands a similar environmental commitment from its suppliers. It does not allow the sale of many hazardous materials such as PVC plastic or support unsustainable forestry practices. For a list of their material restrictions visit the H&M website.
Case Study: Hewlett Packard’s Supplier Requirements