This week, the world celebrated Earth Day, known as a time to take positive action toward advancing global, national and local environmental policy. The battle to protect and preserve our environment wages on with rising urgency, as the realities of climate change become increasingly and alarmingly evident.
“A fresh and frustrated generation of young people are refusing to settle for platitudes,” according to the official Earth Day website. “Digital and social media are bringing these conversations, protests, strikes and mobilizations to a global audience, uniting a concerned citizenry as never before and catalyzing generations to join together to take on the greatest challenge that humankind has faced.”
Whether in response to this growing societal pressure or from a sincere desire to do good, many businesses are bringing about real change, 365 days a year. I thought it would be interesting to share some of their stories.
Upcycling in action: Brewer’s Crackers is a family-owned company with a passion for curtailing the 1 billion tons of edible food waste that is derived from U.S. breweries each year. Brewer’s Crackers takes the leftover spent barley from craft beer companies; combines it with wheat flour; and creates a variety of healthy, sustainable crackers and chips. “These grains are still incredibly flavorful, and the steeping process actually unlocks valuable nutrients,” according to Forbes.
Collaborative service: Timberland honors the Earth through ongoing, green community service events. Importantly, internal surveys reveal that this practice ranks very highly as a reason why employees enjoy working for the outdoor clothing company. “We also invite our business partners and vendors to join us in service, not only to increase our collective impact, but also to strengthen our relations,” Timberland Community Engagement Leader Atlanta McIlwraith told Greenbiz. “A day of service builds morale in powerful ways.”
Radical simplicity: Slow fashion is a business model through which clothing is made mindfully and with eco-conscious materials. While the production process may be lengthier, the result is well-designed clothing that’s made to last, ABC News reports. Eileen Fisher is one fashion brand embracing the trend. Founder and CEO Eileen Fisher says this “radical simplicity” involves taking time to review each step of the design and manufacturing process and understanding each piece’s purpose and its relationship to the rest of the line.
Supplier collaboration: McCormick & Company recently launched its Supplier Leadership on Climate Transition coalition — an initiative to engage suppliers in climate action. The program aims to accomplish collective, cascading results by providing suppliers with resources, tools and knowledge to support their own climate journeys. The first year will focus on educating companies about greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, calculating GHG footprints and establishing science-based targets.
Sustainability demands a team effort
As the Timberland and McCormick examples demonstrate, supply chains are all about collaboration; no business can achieve essential sustainability goals alone. As Michael Okoroafor, McCormick vice president of global sustainability and packaging, puts it: “We are looking forward to engaging our suppliers on this journey to mitigate the climate change impact and benefit the world around us.”
An ASCM corporate member, McCormick taps into numerous benefits that are specifically designed to help them realize sustainable, superior supply chains. One such benefit is access to exclusive, thought-provoking roundtable discussions, such as “Reduce Carbon and Risk with Circular Supply Chain,” which recently took a deep dive into the risks of climate change in our industry.
If you’re interested in learning more about your own supply chain’s sustainability performance, I encourage you to download our free self-assessment tool. The SCOR-based ASCM Enterprise Certification Standards measure and compare an organization’s environmental performance across dimensions including circular economy, climate strategy, energy, water and waste, material usage, and product life cycle stewardship — a worthwhile exploration on Earth Day and every day.