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March 24, 2024

What It Takes To Create a Sustainability-Driven Supply Chain Strategy – Project Insights

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When it comes to supply chain strategy, our CEO and Co-Founder Ana Selina Haberbosch usually says: “Navigating the future without supply chain transparency is like sailing without a compass”. You know where you want to end up but have no idea how exactly to get there. So in case you, too, are asking yourself how to start, which hurdles to expect and how to overcome them, then this project report is for you.

Together with federal enterprises and four SMEs from the food sector, we engaged in a collaborative initiative to work on sustainability-driven supply chain strategies. Learn more about the key challenges our project partners identified when we thoroughly examined their supply chains.

About the project

In 2023, we participated in a joint project with the Business Scouts for Development, the GIZ (Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit) and sequa which investigated the supply chains of multiple SMEs – originally driven by the legal requirements of the Supply Chain Act in Germany (LkSG). 

Among the participating companies were Just Spices, SimplyV, Midsona, and Ecoterra. Together, we created roadmaps on how to gradually establish a primary data-driven and scalable solution for the group to provide supply chain transparency and traceability as well as information on the social and environmental impact of their value chains.

Shared goals around sustainability and supply chain strategy

Despite diverse sustainability objectives and varying levels of supply chain visibility among the participants, shared goals included:

  • Transitioning to a sustainability management approach that centres around primary data
  • Achieving full traceability and transparency for all products through a digital platform with the potential realization of real-time data processing in the future
  • Establishing a comprehensive CSR strategy by 2025

Challenges towards a sustainability-driven supply chain strategy 

One of the milestones towards the creation of a long-term supply chain strategy is to identify the major challenges. Through detailed conversations with Just Spices, SimplyV, Midsona, and Ecoterra we were able to spot recurring hurdles. They were grouped into five categories of which we would like to share the most pressing ones:

Create transparency on supply chain data 

Companies lack a detailed overview of their supply chains. This includes an evaluation of the available data and unveiling additional sources of information. A special challenge is accessing primary data, analysing it, and automating respective data collection processes. Another obstacle is making supply chain data accessible to multiple stakeholders.

Ensure compliance and navigate the regulatory landscape

Companies need more certainty on how to define their sustainability-driven supply chain strategy in line with legal requirements. Because new regulations come into play very frequently with ever-new boxes that need to be checked, the participants need to apply lots of resources for building compliance knowledge and flexibility within their product development and procurement divisions.

Communicate to end-consumers and build trust

Many companies fear to fuel the “all-or-nothing” bias in their target audience who could expect immediate perfection upon disclosing information on supply chain transparency and sustainability. Furthermore, they lack the database beyond certifications for such communications.

Curious to learn more?

This is only a fragment of our findings for the project. If you would like to gain a complete overview of the identified challenges and would like to understand how to overcome major hurdles toward a sustainability-driven supply chain strategy, please make sure to check out the full report.

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