The US Open ended on Monday with plenty of excitement and an inspiring win by Rafael Nadal. Plenty of records were set and matched during the week in all sorts of categories…and the players weren’t the only ones setting them.
The US Open organizing committee together with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) has been working since 2008 on reducing the impact of the US Open on the environment and this year they went further than ever. For example, over the last two years, the US Open collected an average of 121 tons of compostable waste each year. This year they expect to collect over 155 tons. The US Open has expanded their composting program to include fan generated waste as well as kitchen waste; they offset not only the carbon emissions generated by the fuel consumed by the event, but also the emissions generated by player travel to the event; they participated in a meeting for representatives from all four Grand Slam tournaments to exchange ideas about sustainability; and, if that wasn’t enough, Tournament organizers also produced and aired a 30 second public service announcement encouraging sustainability.
These last two points are significant. Sustainability really is about cooperation. We must work together to create real change and to make real progress towards a sustainable future. In that regard, sporting events are in a unique position to model social responsibility and encourage sustainable behaviours. They have direct access to millions of fans worldwide and, more significantly, the influence necessary to promote change. In the US Open’s words, they have the advantage – and they have impact.
Reeve Consulting recently attended the annual meeting of the Green Sports Alliance in New York. There, hundreds of representatives of the sporting world and sustainable business met to discuss progress and opportunities for sport to be that model of social responsibility and, of course, to reap the financial and promotional benefits of sustainable and green practices. We like where this conversation is going, and see our role as helping to broaden the scope of discussion to include a complete triple match point on sustainability – a look at the environmental, social and economic impacts of major sporting events.
This week is World Water Week and the UN has declared 2013 the Year of Water Co-operation. I didn’t know that, and I’d be willing to bet a lot of Canadians don’t know it. After all, we are privileged to live in a part of the world with such an abundance of water that we rarely even consider it. Yet, if we are to run environmentally conscious, sustainable companies, then we must look beyond our piece of paradise and consider the wider repercussions of our impact on the water supply.
One of the newer developments in business sustainability is water footprinting. Like carbon footprinting, water footprinting is a measure of how much water is used and to what extent water is polluted by a business, family, or individual. In the recent Global Risks 2013 survey, international leaders and business executives identified water availability as one of the top 5 global business risks today. The survey urges businesses to consider the risks to production, the supply chain, their reputation and their relationships with the community, and ultimately their bottom line from water scarcity and pollution. The risks are present in most industries, but they are particularly pertinent to sectors such as fashion and manufacturing where the supply chain includes goods being produced in India, Mexico and other water-poor areas.
One method of identifying our impact on the water supply is to apply Water Footprint Network’s water footprint assessment methodology. The assessment involves a four-stage process:
At Reeve Consulting, we endeavour to consider all the risks in every aspect of your supply chain, and we’ll help you find the ones you haven’t thought of yet.
According to the annual CATO Report recently published by Greenpeace, Whole Foods supermarkets has moved to the top of seafood retailers by focusing on the sustainability of their supply chain. The report outlines the current state of retail seafood and discusses the practices, both positive and negative, that are part of the supply chain that puts fish on grocery store shelves. Additionally, Greenpeace ranks the retailers on four criterion: policy, initiatives, transparency, and red list inventory (a list of 22 priority species).
Whole Foods captured the crown by reining in its seafood supply chain; reducing the number of red list fish, offering a selection of sustainable canned tuna, and introducing quantitative policies and initiatives that govern its purchasing decisions. Other notable grocers from this years report include Safeway, who came in second place with their goal of selling no unsustainable seafood by 2015, and Trader Joe’s, who improved from 15th in last year’s report to 3rd this year by significantly stepping up efforts in all four areas.
While there is still work to be done to implement sustainable seafood practices globally, all three of the CATO Report’s top retailers are actively reducing their environmental impact by developing and implementing a thorough sustainable purchasing policy. This is true in many other purchasing areas as well as seafood and can be applied to any business. Reeve Consulting has had experience helping our partners to build out and implement sustainable purchasing policies in dozens of those areas.
Tuesday Night Mariano Rivera was named MVP of the 84th Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game. While Rivera’s performance pitching a perfect eighth inning and leading the American League All-Stars to a 3-0 victory over the National League was undoubtedly impressive, the real winner of the night was the environment. As part of an ongoing collaboration between the MLB and the National Resource Defense Council called the MLB Greening Program, the league went above and beyond the already impressive sustainability programs in place at Citi Field to ensure that the 2013 All-Star game featured progressive environmental features.
Since the 2008 All-Star Game, the MLB has been a shining example of the types of sustainability initiatives that can be accomplished by members of the Green Sports Alliance. This year, however, the MLB stepped up their sustainability efforts in a number of key areas. First, certified suppliers offset the 2013 All-Star games full water and energy use. In addition, the MLB incorporated a 1:1 recycling to trash bin ratio as well as a team of Green Team volunteers to ensure that waste was kept to a minimum. To create a lasting impact, the MLB made a point of connecting fans with environmental messages as well as demonstrating ways that they can reduce their own footprints.
Reeve Consulting is doing its part to help make the games that we all know and love more sustainable. This spring we were in contact with the Dallas Cowboys and in late August we will be taking part in the 2013 Green Sports Alliance Summit in New York. If you would like more information about the greening of sport, please feel free to contact us.
LOCO, in cooperation with Columbia Institute and ISIS Research Center at the Sauder School of Business recently released a report titled The Power of Purchasing that outlines the economic impacts of local procurement. This is a landmark study in the Canadian market conducted by Sauder MBA Alumni Anthony Pringle. While most would agree that purchasing locally has a positive economic effect, Pringle sought to quantify the effect by studying the economic effect that B.C. businesses could have by simply purchasing office supplies locally. Without getting into too much detail (read the report, it’s really well written), Pringle compared the economic effect of purchasing office supplies from a local supply company, Mills Basics, to that of purchasing from a national chain. He found that by employing the former, buyers were able to provide nearly double the economic benefit to the local B.C. community in the form of greater employment as well as higher tax revenue for the local government.
Although many companies still make purchasing decisions based on price alone, there are a growing number of values based organizations willing to look at the greater economic impact that buying can have. With reports like Pringle’s as ammunition for the fight, purchasing managers in Canada will undoubtedly have a greater opportunity to make the case for local buying.
Reeve Consulting has once again hit the road to attend the PMAC National Conference: Capitalizing on Supply Chain Solutions. It’s great to be back in Ottawa and to have the opportunity to lend our expertise to creating the sustainable supply chain solutions that will take us into a greener future.
Big things are in the works here as well. On Wednesday, June 12th, the Purchasing Management Association of Canada (PMAC) and Supply Chain and Logistics Association Canada (SCL) members voted to merge the two associations to form the Supply Chain Management Association (SCMA). The new association is set to launch September 3rd and will retain the high standards set by both associations. We at Reeve would like to congratulate the SCMA and look forward to their continued dedication to Canadian Supply Chain professionals.
As a strategic advisor in the field of ethical and sustainable business practices for over 20 years, I have been fortunate to have been a part of a legacy of “firsts” that have helped shape sustainability and supply chain management awareness in Canada. I find that the companies which achieve the greatest success in sustainability terms, such as Nature’s Path, Mountain Equipment Co-op or RBC are those that can integrate sustainability deep into their corporate culture and into their supply chains.
That’s what makes the recent release of OfficeMax Grand&Toy’s Insights Report on supply chain and procurement so timely. It presents a strong case that Canadian and global organizations are becoming more responsive to the fact that supply chain is one of the most significant organizational lever points for driving corporate sustainability. I couldn’t agree more, and I fully expect the report’s findings will continue to drive the conversation at the C-suite level regarding new opportunities and efficiencies to be gained via sustainable supply chains.
Overall, the findings are very positive about the depth of sustainability practices in Canadian business.
Canadian results are benchmarked with global findings and Canada compares quite favourably. For example, 46% of Canadian enterprise-level organizations have a chief sustainability officer, compared to 26% globally, and 47% of respondents reported having one person in each department responsible for sustainability, compared to 22% globally. It further reveals that the number one driver of sustainability in Canadian business is cost-reduction. Globally, the top three drivers of sustainability are fairly evenly distributed between cost, reputation, and alignment with values.
Are we over-emphasizing cost as the key driver of sustainability?
Operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness are generally an easy sell to business executives. In Canada, sustainability initiatives have leveraged this easy buy-in and continue to do so. But this singular focus on the bottom-line comes with risks. In our experience, high performing sustainable supply chain programs deliver more than just financial savings; they help reduce risk, build corporate brand, drive innovation and build stronger engagement with employees and suppliers.
However, as the report points out, this strategy leaves businesses at risk of stalling their sustainability programs as cost-reductions become “maxed” out. Our work has shown that the most successful sustainability programs integrate sustainability into the corporate culture. Growth must come from the bottom, but without C-Suite buy-in, the company culture will not change and current strategies will continue to rule. This explains the rapid adoption of sustainability initiatives by Canadian business – they fit into reigning corporate models – and it also explains why they run the risk of stalling when the cost savings run out – precisely because the models have not changed.
Collaboration within and between all stakeholders is the key to driving the next wave of innovation.
OfficeMax Grand&Toy’s Insight Report found that collaboration between sustainability departments and supply chain & procurement is still quite limited. We expect this to change and foresee an increasing role for collaboration in promoting sustainability, both within an organization as well as up and down the supply chain. As companies are forced to dig deeper for sustainability and supply chain cost-savings their internal and external communications and collaboration in their supply chain surrounding sustainability will increase. These types of collaboration will result in better programs and improved impacts and, in fact, I see this playing out right now within the Municipal sector, where 20 large municipalities across the country are participating in regular networking webinars and teleconferences to share sustainable procurement best practices and product specifications. When Finance and Sustainability are allies at the executive table they can be a powerful force for change and innovation within an organization.
With the release of this Insights Report, OfficeMax Grand&Toy is making a significant contribution to the sustainability and supply chain movement. Check out the full report at www.officemaxcanada.com/insights and stay tuned for future postings on more of the findings, as well as reaction from our contacts and stakeholders in the sustainable supply chain sector.
No, Boston hasn’t decided to dye the ice green in a late St. Patrick’s Day celebration. This year, the NHL has enlisted offset provider Sterling Planet to both purchase wind energy to power the games as well as purchase verified carbon offsets to balance the teams’ air travel.
Better still, this isn’t the first time the NHL has stepped up to reduce the league’s environmental impact. As the abbreviated 2013 regular season drew to a close, the NHL made good on their promise to plant 50 trees for every hat trick scored this year. In all, the league donated 1,600 trees to The Nature Conservancy’s Plant a Billion Trees campaign.
The NHL is far from alone in their fight to make the games that we all know and love greener. They are collaborating off the ice to work towards a more sustainable sports future as part of the Green Sports Alliance, along with six other professional sports leagues, nearly a hundred venues, and dozens of individual teams in nearly every sport. Reeve Consulting will be getting in the game too! We’ll be making the trip to attend the Green Sports Alliance Summit in New York City and sharing our success to help drive the change.
It took the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza and the deaths of over 1,100 garment workers, but consumers and industry experts alike have been spurred to action. More than one million consumers around the world voiced their concern for worker safety by signing petitions advocating that brands improve their accountability for supply chain practices; meanwhile, thanks to the good work of people like our friends Linda and Kevin at Maquila Solidarity Network and Bob Walker at Ethical Funds, labour rights groups and socially responsible investment groups are successfully pressuring retailers and manufacturing companies to ensure continuous improvement to working conditions by getting them to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.
Under the terms of the Accord, brands and retailers are required to guarantee independent safety inspections, safety training, mandatory repairs and renovations to the factories in their supply chain and to terminate business with non-compliant suppliers. Before the collapse at Rana Plaza, only PVH and Tchibo had signed the Accord; since the collapse, 38 companies, including Loblaws, have signed on.
If the deaths of the workers in the Rana Plaza collapse are not to be in vain, we must ensure that the Bangladesh Accord is strong and successful and we must build on that success until all workers can feel safe and secure on the job.