“Without action, the overall costs of climate change will be equivalent
to losing at least 5% of global GDP each year, now and forever…the
benefits of strong, early action far outweigh the costs of not acting,”
warned British economist Lord Stern of the effects of global warming on the world economy in the 2006 Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change¹.
most organisations, responding to climate change begins with the supply
chain, the core of every organisation’s environmental footprint, TechPro Personnel tells SmartProcurement.
Green Supply Chain Management (GSCM) – defined by Srivastava as
‘integrating environmental thinking into supply chain management,
including product design, material sourcing and selection, manufacturing
processes, delivery of the final product as well as end-of-life
management of the product after its useful life’² – has been proven to
reduce impact on the environment, while positively affecting business
Yet, while most organisations acknowledge that doing
nothing is no longer an option, many have yet to start implementing
GSCM measures. Deloitte Canada found that 80% of respondents to their
Supply Chain study defined GSCM as a corporate strategic priority – but
75% indicated that measures had either not yet started or had not moved
beyond regulatory compliance³.
How is GSCM being adopted in South Africa?
are many examples of South African companies effectively ‘greening’ the
supply chain – as the annual Green Supply Chain Awards show.
their fifth year, the Awards are a joint initiative between the
Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport: South Africa (CILTSA),
the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) and Supply Chain
The award winners show that South African supply chains are leading the way:
Rainbow Farms (winner of the ‘Best Project: R1-million to R10-million’
category) who converted incandescent lighting in 36 facilities to LED
systems, reducing electricity consumption by 117 000 kWh per month, to
TFD Network Africa (winner of the ‘Best Project over R10-million’
category) who launched ‘Driving the Green Movement’, a project that
addresses energy efficiency, water management, waste management and
carbon emission reduction.
Barloworld Logistics, Ellerine
Holdings and Growthpoint Properties together used green building
technologies to convert a disused foundry into a state-of-the-art
warehouse for green distribution, earning a ‘Highly Commended’ mention.
African products also shine, with ECO₂Fleet (a web-based reporting
service, developed by Standard Bank that measures the carbon footprint
of a vehicle fleet to reduce costs) and to DHL (with their aerodynamic
teardrop trailer that reduces wind resistance at speed) both winners in
the ‘Best Product’ category.
What challenges face companies looking to green their supply chains?
Common challenges face companies looking to implement GSCM, says John Wilkerson, an American Supply Chain Specialist:
Standards: There are many individual standards (the JSE’s SRI Index,
Kyoto Protocol, ISO), but no single global standard that can easily be
• Awareness: A lack of executive-level awareness hampers GSCM implementation.
• Business case development: Limited capital/resources and increasing legislation make the case for GSCM harder to sell.
key challenge, according to Barloworld Logistics’ supplychainforesight
2013 Reportб, is a shortage of Supply Chain skills – or the ‘human link’
in the chain.
The Report found that lack of skills is viewed as one
of the top five constraints to South African supply chains and the
single biggest constraint to competitiveness.
And the benefits?
Apart from reduced environmental impact, the Deloitte³ survey found that other benefits of GSCM include:
• Cost savings: The initial costs of implementation are offset by long-term savings on energy, transport and other costs.
• Competitive advantage: ‘Early adopters’ of GSCM gain the competitive edge.
• Corporate image: Improved internal branding and external recognition.
Product and service innovation: An emphasis on reduction, efficiency
and costs can spill over into other areas of business, stimulating
product and service innovation.
• Deeper customer and supplier relationships: The result from working together towards sustainability.
• Listing on sustainability indices: Like the JSE’s SRI.
sustainability and the business benefits that can be gained from GSCM
make it an imperative – which is important, given that, in a 2013
interview with the World Economic Forum, Lord Stern said: ‘Looking back,
I underestimated the risks.’
Do you believe that GSCM is important? TechPro would like to hear your thoughts... Join their discussion on LinkedIn.
¹: Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change: HM Treasury, GOV.UK
²: S.K. Srivastava, 2007
³: Deloitte Canada: Green Means Go: Green Supply Chain Management: Opportunity
today, imperative tomorrow.
⁴: Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport: South Africa (CILTSA), the Consumer
Goods Council of South Africa (CGCSA) and Supply Chain Today magazine, 2012.
⁵: 5 Major Challenges to Green Supply Chain Management, The Examiner, 2010
6: supplychainforesight, Barloworld Logistics, 2013
⁷: The Guardian, 26 January 2013