Greening the supply chain from the bottom up

By Patrick Burnson · October 17, 2011

The annual GreenBiz Innovation Forum in San Francisco last week yielded some remarkable information and insight on how major U.S. corporations are entering a new phase of sustainable supply chain creation.

Hannah Jones, the Vice President of Sustainable Business & Innovation for Nike, noted that her company – along with mega multinationals like Procter & Gamble and Eli Lilly –  are reconfiguring their distribution models by constantly monitoring “grass roots communities” and their complex networks. At the same time, she said, companies like hers are actively educating consumers on the value of purchasing “greener” products.

Nike uses 75,000 materials that go into its various products in the course of just one year, said Jones, and a good deal of those are recyclable and part of an elaborate reverse logistics process. To their credit, Nike is not keeping this strategy under wraps, but rather, sharing it with other apparel manufacturers in then industry collective known as the Green Xchange.

By openly sharing this information, said Jones, Nike avoids the “ghettoization” of sustainability, and will help change the way goods are shipped and sourced in a more responsible and efficient manner. The bottom line: More margin without compromise.


About the Author

Patrick Burnson
Patrick Burnson is executive editor for Logistics Management and Supply Chain Management Review magazines and web sites. Patrick is a widely-published writer and editor who has spent most of his career covering international trade, global logistics, and supply chain management. He lives and works in San Francisco, providing readers with a Pacific Rim perspective on industry trends and forecasts. You can reach him directly at [email protected]

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