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Sustainability still top priority for supply chains

Logistics and Supply Chain News

The 2022 State of Supply Chain Sustainability report, published today, explores how supply chain sustainability (SCS) practices are being implemented globally and what that means for professionals, enterprises, industries, and the planet. This year’s report indicates that pressure to support SCS has increased steadily since last year, though that pressure has focused on different areas than it did last year. In particular, environmental dimensions of SCS received much more attention than in 2020: Climate change mitigation and natural resource/biodiversity conservation saw the biggest increases in interest from last year. Notably, no one issue area saw a decrease in interest from 2020 to 2021. 

The report is founded on a large-scale international survey of supply chain professionals with over 3,300 respondents conducted in late 2021. Survey results are combined with 15 executive interviews and supported by news and social media content analysis from the same year. To attain the broadest audience of practitioners and input from various sectors, the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics (MIT CTL) and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP), a leading, global, professional association, collaborated on data collection. For the first time this year, the survey component of data collection was offered in three languages: English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese. This year’s report is sponsored by Avetta, Blue Yonder, C.H. Robinson, KPMG LLP, and project44. 

“With now three years of data and observations, our research is uniquely positioned to observe supply chain sustainability efforts over time—in terms of both priorities and practices,” said David Correll, MIT CTL research scientist and lead investigator on the study. “And this year, we’re extremely pleased to have offered our survey in multiple languages, which allowed us to collect and analyze more responses from more parts of the world to gain an even richer understanding of the state of supply chain sustainability.” 

“This is an essential read for anyone in supply chain today,” said Mark Baxa, President, and CEO of CSCMP. “Supply chains worldwide are uniquely positioned to be an engine to impact our society positively. The choice of who we choose to do business with, where we do business, and what and how we deliver is essentially in the supply chain’s control. Consumers and businesses alike need—and, in fact, demand—that products we source and deliver meet their environmental and social expectations. You will find in the State of Supply Chain Sustainability 2022 a most important, comprehensive global study that supports your ability to benchmark your company and SCS actions.” 

While SCS may enjoy more support as a corporate goal, its growing popularity does not necessarily translate into investment dollars. As in previous years, in every dimension, SCS goals ranked more highly than investment in 2021. Still, the investment picture is not unremittingly gloomy. There are tentative signs that the gap is closing in some areas, particularly human rights protection. 

Geographically, the report found notable differences between firms headquartered in the Global North and those in the Global South in terms of which dimensions of SCS they prioritize, which has critical implications for supply chain managers doing business internationally. Read the full report online or in PDF format. 

The MIT CTL/CSCMP research team is laying the groundwork for the 2023 State of Supply Chain Sustainability report. Over time, this annual status report aims to help practitioners and the industry to make more effective and informed sustainability decisions. The questionnaire for next year’s report will open in the fall. 

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