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UK supply chain gears up for climate chain

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Posted on 23/01/2013 by Wayne Brophy FCILT

With customers becoming increasingly concerned about their suppliers' carbon footprints, as well as the forthcoming introduction of new regulations relating to energy usage in industry, logistical managers now appear to be placing climate change at the top of their list of priorities for driving business forward.

According to a new report called 'Making Space to Grow', conducted by storage solutions manufacturer and supplier Link 51, sustainable development and energy conservation are now much higher on the corporate agenda than ever before, having previously been viewed as mere "nice to haves".

The report suggests that the reason for this shift in strategy is driven largely by customer attitudes, with consumers now demanding that suppliers display a level of social and environmental awareness by meeting – and in many cases surpassing – minimum levels of carbon dioxide emission reductions.

As suppliers step up their efforts to combat the issue, the need for more environmentally aware managers is becoming paramount, all of which is likely to have a profound effect on supply chain recruitment policies.

Meanwhile, a separate report by the Carbon Disclosure Project and Accenture has revealed that physical climate change is already having an affect on supply chain strategy.

The 'Reducing Risk and Driving Business Value' study, involving 2,415 companies including the likes of Dell and Walmart, has indicated that over half of the risks associated with climate change, such as drought or extreme rain, are already having an impact on business operations.

Around three quarters of respondents in the survey said they feel climate change poses a physical threat to their organisation and is therefore a major driver of company policy, while only 13 per cent said their efforts to combat climate change were based purely on compliance with laws and regulations.

The need to meet consumer demand for more sustainability within the supply chain is likely to produce further development on this front, after the report revealed that 92 per cent of purchasing companies are currently setting carbon emission reductions targets, compared to just 38 per cent of suppliers.

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