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Three Ways Retailers Can Help Suppliers Tackle Sustainability
Three Ways Retailers Can Help Suppliers Tackle Sustainability
Three Ways Retailers Can Help Suppliers Tackle Sustainability
Three Ways Retailers Can Help Suppliers Tackle Sustainability
Three Ways Retailers Can Help Suppliers Tackle Sustainability
Three Ways Retailers Can Help Suppliers Tackle Sustainability
Three Ways Retailers Can Help Suppliers Tackle Sustainability
Three Ways Retailers Can Help Suppliers Tackle Sustainability
Three Ways Retailers Can Help Suppliers Tackle Sustainability
Three Ways Retailers Can Help Suppliers Tackle Sustainability
Three Ways Retailers Can Help Suppliers Tackle Sustainability
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Three Ways Retailers Can Help Suppliers Tackle Sustainability

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http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/03/14/3-ways-retailers-can-help-suppliers-tackle-sustainability/ …

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2012/03/14/3-ways-retailers-can-help-suppliers-tackle-sustainability/

At Strategic Sustainability Consulting, we generally work with the suppliers, rather than the retailers. And I can say without a doubt that suppliers are paying attention to sustainability. They are hearing from virtually every retailer that they sell to, often multiple times per month. They are scrambling to gather data, establish goals, and meet new (and sometimes conflicting) requirements.

To increase the odds of everyone walking away happier and more sustainable, I offer these three suggestions for retailers. Accept these challenges, and your suppliers will not only thank you — they’ll help you achieve your own sustainability goals:

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  • 1. THREE WAYS RETAILERS CAN HELPSUPPLIERS TACKLE SUSTAINABILITYSSC Blog
  • 2. Three Ways Retailers Can HelpSuppliers Tackle Sustainability Jennifer Woofter recently wrote an article Seven Sustainability Trends to Watch in 2012, where she opined that retailers (not government, consumers, or even “business in general”) are the driving force behind sustainability this year. So we were pleased to read the recently- released Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) 2012 Retail Sustainability Report. Based on interviews with representatives from 20 different retail companies and 30 corporate sustainability reports from that sector, the report is an intriguing snapshot of the current priorities, challenges, and opportunities the retail sector faces. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  • 3. Three Ways Retailers Can HelpSuppliers Tackle SustainabilityYou can download the entirereport for free from the RILAwebsite, and we promise that it ischock full of goodies to keep youthinking for a long while. Butbefore you do that, we wanted toexpound on one prediction thatthe report makes about thegrowth of sustainability within theindustry over the next 5-10 years: www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  • 4. RILA Prediction: The Drive to ManageSupply Chain Impacts Will TransformRetailer-Supplier Relationships At Strategic Sustainability Consulting, we generally work with the suppliers, rather than the retailers. And we can say without a doubt that suppliers are paying attention to sustainability. They are hearing from virtually every retailer that they sell to, often multiple times per month. They are scrambling to gather data, establish goals, and meet new (and sometimes conflicting) requirements. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  • 5. RILA Prediction: The Drive to ManageSupply Chain Impacts Will TransformRetailer-Supplier Relationships So, yes. We agree with the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) recent prediction that sustainability will transform the retailer-supplier relationship. But it remains to be seen whether that change is positive or negative for the parties involved. To increase the odds of everyone walking away happier and more sustainable, we offer these three suggestions for retailers. Accept these challenges, and your suppliers will not only thank you — they’ll help you achieve your own sustainability goals: www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  • 6. 1. Coordinate Your SupplierQuestionnaire With Other Retailers InYour Sector  If there is one thing that is driving your suppliers universally crazy, it’s the fact that each retailer has created its own sustainability questionnaire for suppliers. It is ridiculous that our clients are receiving upwards of a dozen different supplier sustainability questionnaires that they feel obliged to respond to.  Each retailer has its own set of questions, its own interface for submitting answers to those questions, and its own It’s maddening. And a waste of time and resources. Rather methodology for ranking and than make your supplier devote the equivalent of two full- time employees to answering surveys, why not coordinate assigning value to those answers. with your peers and lessen the burden on everyone? www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  • 7. 2. Be Clear About What’s ComingNext We all know that sustainability is a moving target. What you ask suppliers to do today is not necessarily what you will expect from them tomorrow. We get it. And we’re happy that you’re taking incremental steps. But for heaven’s sake, give us a heads up about the direction you’re charting. It takes time to get the proper systems in place, and your suppliers would appreciate a little notice. So if you are planning to stay focused on corporate-level greenhouse gas reporting, then tell us so. If you anticipate leaning more towards product-level greenhouse gas accounting, then that’s an important piece of information to share.Remember, suppliers want to make you happy. Tell us what you want (and expect to want in the future) so that we can get busy making plans to meet those expectations. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  • 8. 3. Answer Your Email When you set up a supplier sustainability program, there are going to be questions. In fact, there are probably going to be a lot of questions. And you need to devote the internal resources to answering those questions when they come up. So please think through how you are going to communicate with suppliers struggling to respond to your sustainability demands. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  • 9. 3. Answer Your Email Compile a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) web page. Record a webinar that can be played on- demand later. Offer a demo of the questionnaire interface — how to log in, how to save your answers, the timeline for evaluation, and exactly how you will be using the data provided. Provide an email contact form. And then answer messages when they arrive in your inbox. Seriously. Answer your emails. www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  • 10. 3. Answer Your Email Yes, it can be overwhelming. Yes, there are probably some stupid questions in the mix. (If you continue to get the same stupid questions, then maybe you should create a FAQ to deal with it before it ends up in your inbox!) But when you tell suppliers to do something and then ignore their request for support, you are essentially asking them to guess what will satisfy you. And guessing isn’t going to make anyone happy. So just answer the emails, okay? (Whoever is on the receiving end of the Walmart packaging scorecard, I’m looking directly at you…) www.sustainabilityconsulting.com Copyright © 2012, Strategic Sustainability Consulting. All rights reserved.
  • 11. Read this blog and more by visiting the SSC websitetoday:Strategic Sustainability Consulting BlogWhat are your thoughts? Join theconversation on twitter @jenniferwoofter!

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