24 June 2014 — BRIEF: A report on supply chain management has found that the property sector is one of the top performers, thanks to green building rating systems such as Green Star and LEED.

The Sustainability and Supply Chain Divide: Insights into the gaps, challenges and opportunities for Australian companies was released in June by Sustainability at Work, with support from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.

The report said that supply chain management was one of the biggest obstacles to more sustainable business practices, with lead author Tania Crosbie saying sustainability managers across the country faced huge challenges when looking to improve the sustainability of their supply chains, though there were similar opportunities.

“Our research has revealed that a number of overriding factors prevent sustainability managers and their supply chains from working more closely,” Ms Crosbie said.

“These factors include a lack of leadership, divergent language around sustainability, disconnected procurement policies and traditional contractual models.

“We also found many sustainability managers were hesitant to engage with their supply chain until their own shop was in order.”

Best practice

The study also unmasked best practice behaviours, including employing sustainable supply chain managers, auditing supply chains thoroughly, enforcing sustainable procurement guidelines at tender time and collaborating with the supply chain for global better outcomes.

Best practice organisations had two things in common: they were more likely to be service industries and known as a sustainable company, and, if they were in the property or building industry, they were more than likely driven by an accreditation system such as Green Star.

“For us to remain in the property sector, all of our jobs need to comply with Green Star and LEED accreditation – that affords us total control over our suppliers and their behaviour,” said one sustainability manager interviewed.

Ms Crosbie said that suppliers who didn’t work with their partners, customers and the community to achieve more sustainable outcomes ran the risk of operating in an ever-shrinking market.

Read the full report.