30 January 2008 | Paul Snell
Firms are not dealing with the compromises inherent in running a "green" supply chain, according to Adrian Gonzalez, director at supply chain consultancy ARC Advisory Group. In his view, many firms are not addressing the fact that "green" supply chain ideas often have negative, as well as positive, results.
He cited the example of energy saving lightbulbs, which while saving energy and money, also contain mercury. This presents an environmental problem when they need to be disposed of.
"The benefits [of low energy bulbs] far outweigh the negatives," said Gonzalez. "But if these negatives are not recognised and dealt with, are we really making progress?"
He added firms should provide more information about the full impact of their green initiatives.
"Trade-offs exist because most products, manufacturing processes, and supply chains were not designed with sustainability in mind," he said. "Although sustainability is weaving its way into the industrial world, change will occur slowly, so companies and consumers will have to manage those trade-offs for many years to come."