ATLANTA--(BUSINESS WIRE)--The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) and CHEP today released a special report on a “transformative vision” to improve the environment by improving supply chains worldwide. “A Revolution in the Making: The Quest for Net Positive Supply Chains” explains what the net positive movement is, core strategies, progress made, and what that means for complex, global supply chains.
As the report illustrates, net positive supply chains do more than reduce a company’s carbon footprint: They restore and regenerate natural resources that the world and business need to thrive long-term. With that “net positive” result as a global goal, “A Revolution in the Making” begins with the concept that being less bad is no longer good enough.
“If you are an organization that depends upon natural resources or an organization where social cohesion is critical to the operation of your business, simply minimizing impacts isn’t going to sustain your operation long-term,” said Sally Uren, CEO of Forum for the Future. “Net positive is about rebuilding those assets you’re totally reliant on as a business.”
As a global non-profit organization, Forum for the Future created the Net Positive Group (NPG) in 2013 to address sustainability challenges and promote progress. Since then, it has come together with BSR and SHINE (Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise) to create the Net Positive Project, a global collaboration to create robust resources to define the net positive concept, and enable more companies to take up a net positive approach.
CHEP, part of Brambles Limited, promotes global collaboration as part of its contribution to a smarter, more sustainable future. The company is in a position to make an impact: Brambles helps move more goods to more people, in more places, than any other organization on earth.
“CHEP customers use our pallets over and over again, so our business model has always contributed to a more sustainable supply chain, increasing efficiencies while eliminating waste, CO2 and reducing the use of natural resources,” said Juan Jose Freijo, global head of sustainability for Brambles. “We are always looking for ways to do even more. The net positive concepts outlined in this report are both reaffirming and encouraging. We continue looking for new ways to apply these principles to global supply chains.”
Those “new ways” may be found in four key areas highlighted in the report: materiality, transparency, systems thinking, and regeneration. John Pflueger, principal environmental strategist at Dell Technologies, says regenerative thinking also relates to the importance of collaboration.
“Our biggest opportunity in the space is to look at how our customers use technology to solve environmental and social problems, and help them do that more efficiently,” said Pflueger. “That was part of our epiphany back in 2012. If we don’t look at and understand everything that is happening in our value chain, we’re just giving lip service to the issue.”
Dell is one of several global companies cited in the special report. Other industry leaders involved in the net positive movement, and this research study, include Nike, IKEA, Levi Strauss & Co., and the Crown Estate, which manages the monarchy’s property in Great Britain. Unilever, another global giant making net positive progress, is highlighted in the report, along with its collaboration with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. The foundation plays a key role in worldwide moves toward a circular economy, and net positive supply chains. The work, the foundation points out, must be done now.
“There’s a time pressure to all this,” said Joe Murphy, Circular Economy 100 Network (CE100) lead at the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. “We’re pushing the limits of planetary boundaries, so success is a necessity.”
“A Revolution in the Making: The Quest for Net Positive Supply Chains” includes four sections: Being Less Bad is No Longer Good Enough; Collaboration is Key to Net Positive Results; Four Principles for Creating Net Positive Supply Chains; and Net Positive Supply Chains: How far have we gone? How much further do we need to go? The special report is free to download here.
About Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL)
The Wharton-led, Penn-wide Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership (IGEL) promotes knowledge for business sustainability. IGEL works with a diverse and interdisciplinary network to develop and disseminate innovative research and business practices to solve the most pressing environmental issues facing our planet. IGEL also interfaces with top alumni and with academic, corporate, government, and non-government organizations to drive business policies and practices on a global scale. With our partners, IGEL facilitates knowledge for action, life-long learning and impact through world-class research, transformative teaching of future leaders, and public outreach regarding best business practices. For more information, please visit igel.wharton.upenn.edu
Knowledge@Wharton is the online business analysis journal of the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. The free site captures relevant knowledge generated at Wharton and beyond by offering articles, podcasts and videos based on research, conferences, speakers, books and interviews with faculty and other experts on global business topics. For more information, please visit knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu
CHEP helps move more goods to more people, in more places, than any other organization on earth. Its pallets, crates and containers form the invisible backbone of the global supply chain and the world’s biggest brands trust us to help them transport their goods more efficiently, sustainably and safely. As pioneers of the sharing economy, CHEP created one of the world's most sustainable logistics businesses through the share and reuse of its platforms under a model known as ‘pooling’. CHEP primarily serves the fast-moving consumer goods (e.g., dry food, grocery, and health and personal care), fresh produce, beverage, retail and general manufacturing industries. CHEP employs approximately 11,000 people and owns approximately 300 million pallets, crates and containers through a network of more than 750 service centers, supporting more than 500,000 customer touch-points for global brands such as Procter & Gamble, Kellogg’s and Nestlé. CHEP is part of the Brambles Group and operates in more than 55 countries with its largest operations in North America and Western Europe.