Sustainable Supply and Procurement


SustainableSupply and Procurement



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Inregard to Brundtland Commission of 1987, sustainability refers toadvancement that meets the existing necessities without interferingwith the capability of future peer group to achieve theirnecessities. Sustainable procurement can also be described as aprocess through which companies meet their necessities for servicesand goods in a method that it attains a full return on the moneyvalue on a holistic level that profits not only the company but alsothe people as well with no adverse effects on the environment. For anorganization, sustainability can be viewed in three sectors: legalobligations, reduction of waste, cost and handling of risks, itsreputation and safeguarding of the brand. These organizations canalso increase the involvement of its employees by use ofsustainability ingenuities to alter certain habits that are firmlyrooted into the organisational philosophy (Boxall &amp Macky 2009).Some companies do not take these sustainable supply and procurementideas seriously. They lack to understand how the sustainable supplyand procurement practices can fit into their current supply andprocurement practices. The legislation is thus a perfect motivatorfor these organizations to apply the culture and practices thatencourage sustainable supply and procurement into the organization.Examples of such pieces legislations include the Waste Electrical andElectronic (WEEE) Directive, the Waste Framework Directive and theregulation that govern the cataloguing, assessment, approval andcontrol of chemicals. However, recent rises in the prices ofnon-renewable sources of energy such as oil have made consumers moreconcerned with how products are made and the conditions they are madeunder. Such factors are forcing organizations to review their supplychain and its economic viability. These organizations are nowfocusing on practices such as environment-friendly habits, the safetyof workers and human rights while failing to try to elate thesefactors in a sustainable supply and procurement chain (Carter &ampJennings 2002). Carroll (1979) tried to define explicitly anorganization’s economic responsibility. This responsibility denotesincorporation of communal, environmental and monetary as well. In thelast decade, most of the large companies in the world released adiscrete yearly sustainability report. This included 68% of theGlobal 250 firms that focused on combined issues affecting theenvironment, the society and the economy. This was a huge differencecompared to initial reports in previous years that were exclusivelycentered on environmental (Hoffman &amp Bazerman, 2005).

Althoughthe benefits of incorporating sustainable supply and procurement intoorganizations are many and very useful, the response to this policyhas had a low positive reaction. Some of the reasons that could haveled to such are explained below.


Thistheory involves following several points of an idea to explain thespecific evidence. In the end, some of these ideas will be moreconvincing than others. In this case, in spite of some of theseorganizations having the knowledge, the framework and information onthe usefulness of sustainable advancement, the incorporation of itinto their operations of manufacturing and circulation are still yetto be achieved.


Despitehuge developments by setting up of frameworks, sustainabilitydevelopment still has failed to be integrated into the majority ofsupply chain management. This creates a hiatus between the resolveand the behavior to be applied. The only solution of filling this gapwould be by introducing a middle step, which is the planning stage.The process would thus move from resolve to plan, then from plan tobehavior change (Adams &amp McNicholas 2007 pp. 382-402).


Thisterm, in this case, is not used at an individual level. It is used todescribe a reluctance of an organization to apply sustainabledevelopment into their processes. There are various factors that canresult to an organization to keep on putting off the application ofthis vital behavior change. Some of these reasons are the availableskills and abilities, how the members of the organization cooperatewith each other, the nature of tasks the organization deals with andthe context of the culture that is deeply embedded into theorganization (Soosay et al. 2008 pp. 160-169).

AppleInc. and its CorporateSocial Responsibility Policies

. The organization that is going to be studied in this discussion isthe Apple Inc. Apple Inc., which as formerly known as the AppleComputer, Inc. was started in 1976 by Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak.The business initially was known for the development of personalcomputers. The company further expanded to produce consumerelectronics such as iPods and iPads, software such as iOS andpersonal computers known as MacBook. Currently, no other electroniccompany rivals the Apple Inc. When it comes to quality anddependability of their products. On February 2011 after Apple Inc.Issued out its Supplier Responsibility Report of 2010, it was foundout that 137 employees at an industry in China that mainly dealt withsupplies had been severely affected health wise through exposure to acertain chemical cleaning compound. This led to an outcry by severalChinese NGOs who were calling for tighter and more stringentprotocols to ensure such a disaster may never occur again. This madeApple Inc. to review fully their entire supply chain to ensuresustainability. They aimed to use their desire for innovation evenfurther than just their products. They incorporated this innovationinto their processes as well. This was part of their goal, which isto leave the earth even better than they found it. They tooknecessary steps towards ensuring a sustainable supply and procurementsystem in the following major areas.


Theorganization fully understood that for them to be producing as manyproducts as they have been over the years, the impact they werehaving on the environment was extremely large. They used theirinnovation to find ways that efficiently use energy and materials.The energy has been obtained from cleaner sources, and theelectronics they make are among the world’s leaders when it comesto energy efficiency. All their products have adhered to the ENERGYSTAR standards, which is a huge achievement for an organisation ofthis magnitude. All this was done to cut down their carbon footprint.Currently, Apple Inc. is producing and distributing many moreproducts than ever before. However, the values of their carbonemission per product have been dropping down since 2011.


Trees,wind and sunlight, are some of the main resources that Apple Inc.Uses in production, packaging and shipment of their products. Theyview these resources as sustainable and thus have collaborated withthe Conservation Fund to plant more forests that can be managedsustainably for the supply of fiber to be used to produce paper forpackaging. All the data centers for Apple Inc. that are found in theUnited States of America are solely powered by renewable sources ofenergy. The organization has even built a micro-hydro power station,which powers their Oregon data center. Apple Inc. is planning to setup more of these projects that will power more facilities and retailstores worldwide.


Sincenot all of the resources they use can be replaced, Apple Inc. isdeveloping new products that not only use less material but the lastlonger as well. Since clean water is a limited resource, Apple Inc.ensure their production processes as much of this water as frequentlyas possible. Their suppliers who do not comply with this policy areusually made to improve their processes until they do. The Appleproducts are made easy and safe to recycle. One of their supplies,Dongguan Meadville Circuits, was able to re-use wastewater up to fivetimes after enrolling to Apple Inc.’s Clean Water Program.


Severalcomposites that are used in the electronic industry tend to beharmful to people and the environment as well. Apple Inc. Designs itsproducts with clean and less harmful materials to get rid of thesetoxins. Their suppliers are also held accountable when they fail tomeet the standards that have been set. This policy is enforcedthrough factory audits, components testing using independentlaboratories and the results obtained are then verified at theirlaboratories.

AppleInc. is keen on keeping its processes sustainable and to have minimaleffect on the environment. Currently, all their operations in theUnited States have been converted to use renewable sources of energythe organization has ensured a future of well managed sustainableforests and several of the products they have in the market isberyllium-free which is a significant step towards a fullysustainable supply and procurement system.


Accordingto the frameworks that have been set down for sustainable supply andprocurement system, the Apple Inc. the company can be furtheranalyzed to determine whether their policies are headed in the samedirection. The regulations that the organization has set towardssustainability will be looked into under different regulations.

Ensuringsustainability of products

Here,the sustainability for the products is tested to ensure they meet thestandards set regarding the source where the materials and compoundsused were obtained. This criterion does not just apply to thefinished product but also to the components that make up the product.Every part of the product should therefore fully comply with thissustainability policy. For the Apple Inc., its entire products meetthese standards. This is because no materials that they obtain tomake their electronic products are harmful both to people and to theenvironment (Seuring &amp Muller 2008.).The organization strives toensure all their products have no composites that contain toxins.They frequently enforce this through factory audits and qualityassurance tests done in independent laboratories.

Ensuringsustainability of manufacturing processes

Inthis respect, an organization is required to ensure that everyprocess that is taken towards developing the finished productcomplies with the sustainability policy. This includes the energyused, the resources such as water used and the wastes that areproduced. All of these actions ought to comply with the EnvironmentalManagement Standards (EMAS) (Preuss, 2005). Apple Inc. is seen tocomply fully with this criterion. This is because the company isworking towards ensuring that all their facilities are powered byrenewable sources of power, for instance, solar, the wind andhydroelectric power. The company has a strict policy of wastewatermanagement under the Clean Water Program that ensures that water isre-used as many times as possible during production.

GreenSupply Chain Management

Thegreen supply chain management takes surrounding defense and energyconservation into account. This has been further pushed for asnowadays consumers demand or prefer more environmentally friendlyproducts. This is due to the increased awareness towards the plightof the environment. Centuries of manufacturing and shipment ofproducts has led to a very significant negative effect on theenvironment (Gladwin et al. 1995 pp. 874-907). The ManufacturingResearch Consortium (MRC) of the Michigan State University in the U.Sfirst initiated the green supply chain management back in 1996. Theorganization aimed to minimize the impacts on the environment by thewaste and toxins produced by products after their use (Hervani etal., 2005). This was done by ensuring that sourcing of the rawmaterials needed for the product manufacturing complied with theenvironmental rules and regulations found in the Environmental Act.The green supply chain management entails the whole process of aproducts cycle from when the raw materials are sourced, processedinto products, consumed by the people and when recycling of the wasteproducts is carried out. A concept called the stakeholder’s theorywas put forth, and it insisted that the accountability of anyorganization is with its stakeholders and not the shareholders(Freeman, 1984). Here, a stakeholder is anyone who is, primarily orsecondarily, affected by the activities of the organization. Sincethe process involved, include sourcing of resources from the naturalenvironment as well as human labor, both of these can be termed asstakeholders. The green supply chain management can be said thattheir only goal is about a ‘win-win’ relationship of economic andenvironmental performance (Zhu &amp Sarkis, 2004). The body incharge of this green supply chain management set down someregulations that include practices and habits that are beneficial tothe environment. They range from green design, which involvesadvertising and manufacturing, green procurement practices thatinclude authorization of contractors and purchase of environmentallyfriendly provisions, environmentally pleasant packaging and shipmentof products to re-use and recycling at the endpoint of a product’suse. Reverse logistics is applied in governing the movement of goodsalong this chain (Dey, LaGuardia, &amp Srinivasan 2011). It is alsomethod that entails the producer accepting back produces from clientsfor recycling, remanufacturing and reuse or discarding (Dowlatshahi,2000). The whole chain can thus be expressed as:

GreenSupply Chain Management = Green Purchasing + Green Manufacturing/Materials

Management+ Green Distribution/Marketing + Reverse Logistics (Hervani, et al.,2005).

Thisinitiative was divided in the green supply chain is then divided intothree parts namely inbound logistics which includes the productionchain, outbound logistics and the converse logistics (Rao &amp Holt,2005). All these took into account the material providers, the laborforce, the merchants, wholesalers and the consumers. All these worktogether to minimize the negative effects on the environment. Bygreening all this parts of the chain, the incorporated green supplychain became more profitable and profitable in its operations.

Differencesbetween the Green Supply Chain and the Traditional Supply Chain

Thesetwo forms of supply chains vary significantly in their principles.These differences are depicted below.

1.The aim of the traditional supply chain was to increase economicbenefits. Green supply chain management is not focused solely oneconomic benefits but also seeks to decrease the consumption ofenergy and assets to minimize release of contaminants into thesurrounding.

2.The control structure of the two supply chains also differ. Thegreen supply chain management includes external and internaladministration in the operation of the system for environmentalperformance whereas this lacks in the traditional supply chains (Zhu&amp Sarkis 2012 pp.265-289).

3.These two also differ when it comes to their business models. Thegreen supply chain management is a complete business model. In thecase of complete green chain system, factors such low carbon andsafeguarding of the environment ought to be included. This goes fromthe raw material to the endpoint of the produce use (Christmann 2000p. 4). The traditional supply chain does not have such a policy.

4.They also differ regarding the business process. For thetraditional supply chain, the product movement is unidirectional andcannot retreat. It moves from the suppliers to the consumers. Thegreen supply chain management changes this form of reasoning, and theproduct movement is circular and can be withdrawn at each position inthe circle (Hassini 2012. Pp 69-82).

5.Lastly, the two differ when it comes to the pattern ofconsumption. The user interests and business undertakings mainlycontrol the old supply chain. The green supply chain management ismarketed through green government-based organizations,non-governmental bodies or even self-responsibility whereby anindividual feels the need to do right by the natural environment(Singh&amp Shah 2000 pp. 37-47).


Asseen from the above discussion, the pressure that the human race hasput into the environment through supply and procurement has led tonecessary steps that are meant to salvage the current situation. Overthe last few decades, numerous non-governmental organisations havebeen set up, and their main mission has been to fight for theenvironment. Any action that these manufacturing companies are takingis usually placed under a microscope by these NGOs. Any activity thatmay seem to affect adversely the environment creates a public outcry,which makes these companies re-think their strategies. There is aserious need to conserve the environment to sustain the benefits weobtain from it to further our future developments. The framework ofsustainable supply and procurement system should be fully implementedinto all the large firms and co-operations. Apple Inc. is an exampleof how a company of its stature could decide that economic gain isnot viable at the expense of the environment and its resources. Thegovernments of the world should pass legislations that insist on theapplication of the methods that Apple Inc. has incorporated intotheir processes. The green supply chain management is also anothervital avenue of this sustainable development. Since the currentgeneration is striving to meet its needs, it should not do so at thecost of the surrounding and the future generations’ abilities tomeet their needs as well. Sustainable supply and procurement aretherefore the right paths that ought to be followed by all.



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