Companies striving to "green" their supply chains are most constrained by the inability to justify cost of implementation, according to "The Green Supply Chain Study," a new survey jointly conducted by CSC, Manhattan Associates Inc., IBM and Supply Chain Management Review magazine. The study focuses on the most important environmental issues faced by supply chain professionals; outlines the supply chain green initiatives currently implemented or planned in manufacturing, warehousing and distribution; gauges the level of green collaboration with extended supply chain partners; and highlights the greatest challenges for implementing sustainable business practices.

 

The survey revealed that 78 percent of the 250 supply chain executives who responded are either currently implementing or evaluating sustainable supply chain initiatives. Of those evaluating, close to two-thirds report the greatest barriers their organizations face with regard to establishing these business practices is cost justification. Of those currently implementing a program, 40 percent have not established a method to measure return on investment.

 

"CSC helped conduct this study to give supply chain executives a view into what strategic green supply chain initiatives are being implemented or planned by their peers and to help them better understand the impact of their efforts," said Brad Barton, a partner and managing director in CSC's Global Business Solutions group. "The results speak for themselves. Companies clearly need an effective method to identify and quantify high-impact areas throughout their supply chain and ensure their investments are green – especially in cases where these efforts also drive improved profitability."

 

According to the survey, more than 50 percent of the respondents said they have a documented plan at the corporate level, and about the same number said their company has a senior executive, often a vice president, dedicated to this effort. Nearly two-thirds said waste disposal and recycling were the most important environmental issues to address.

 

"This study reveals the importance that companies place on reducing environmental impact by executing strategies that optimize efficiency in their supply chain processes," said Eddie Capel, executive vice president, Product Management and Customer Support, for Manhattan Associates.

 

Many of the supply chain and logistics executives surveyed are involved in at least one sustainability-related group. The study indicates that more than a third are involved in the EPA's SmartWay Transport program, and one-quarter of respondents report that their organizations are actively involved in the Green Suppliers Network and/or Carbon Disclosure Project.

 

The survey was sent to print and e-mail readers of Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines in February 2008, and to CSC and Manhattan Associates clients and prospects. All respondents are involved in corporate policy-making for supply chain strategy planning and initiatives.