Supply Chain Management for Environmental Improvement

How Can Government Help Businesses Green Their Supply Chains?

A short survey of several manufacturers that are currently implementing green supply chain practices, gave a few ideas on how government can help businesses in these efforts. These are mentioned below with links to some of the resources.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking for additional ideas to assist businesses. If you have suggestions, please e-mail them to the Pollution Prevention Resource Center.

Links to Government Information and Resources

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Green Suppliers Network is a public-private partnership, aiming to help suppliers and manufacturers eliminate waste, save money, and reduce their eco-impact.

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Supplier Requirements - 29 CFR 1910.119

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - The Lean and Green Supply Chain - A Practical Guide for Material Managers and Supply Chain Managers to Reduce Costs and Improve Environmental Performance

U.S. EPA Enhancing Supply Chain Performance with Environmental Cost Information: Examples from Commonwealth Edison, Andersen Corporation, and Ashland Chemical

National Institute of Standards and Technology Virtual Supply Chain Management: A Re-Engineering Approach Using Descrete Event Simulation (by Shigeki Umeda and Albert Jones)

United States-Asia Environmental Partnership (USAEP) Supply Chain Environmental Management: Lessons from Leaders in the Electronics Industry

Survey Questions and Replies

Question 1: Does your company proactively seek government involvement in supply chain activities?

Replies:

  • Most businesses said no because they are unaware of the available assistance and/or and do not believe it is a priority for the federal government in their broad scope.
  • A few businesses do not utilize U.S. government resources because their supply chain is mostly international.
  • One more reason for not seeking assistance was stated as: "supply chain is a function of the market, not regulation."
  • One company proactively seeks government assistance in this area and likes to see government involved.

Question 2: How could you be helped by government in promoting / implementing green supply chain activities?

Replies:

  • A forum is needed with government, to promote sound resource recovery, and supplier / distributor education.
  • Government needs to practice what they preach.
  • Getting opportunities for continuing awareness and education.
  • Expansion and more promotion of environmental purchasing activities and tools.
  • Link economic advantages of green products to innovative regulatory technical assistance.
  • E-mail newsletters on programs available to businesses, such as ClimateWise and the Resource Conservation Challenge.
  • Offer incentives for small business to apply greening-the-supply-chain techniques. Large business has more resources to influence suppliers; this is not always possible for small businesses.
  • Ensure that green procurement requirements or guidelines are based on sound science or actual environmental impact and actual utility in the field.
  • There are too many different environmental purchasing criteria. Procurement requirements should stick with established standards such as Energy Star.
  • "We believe a manufacturer's self-declaration of environmental attributes for their products is preferable to prescriptive green procurement requirements." See ECMA Technical Report 70"

 

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