The threat of climate change and global warming is increasingly dire. Recently, United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres called on the world's most powerful countries to accelerate the elimination of fossil fuel use and reduce carbon emissions. Otherwise, the future of the planet could be at serious risk.

Faced with this grim prospect, governments must take urgent action. However, they are not alone in this responsibility; businesses must also play their part in the crucial challenge of building a greener planet, free from pollution and contamination.

Fortunately, there is a growing awareness within organisations of the importance of incorporating sustainable practices into their business strategies.

Central to this change are supply chains, which are the core of companies' business operations, from the extraction of raw materials to the delivery of the final product to the consumer.

According to a report from the United Nations in collaboration with Accenture, 47% of executives of large global companies consider that the creation of responsible supply chains is part of their sustainability strategies.

The mindset shift is underway, and many organisations are already driving a transformation towards more ecological and resilient supply chains alongside new technologies.

Innovating for Sustainability

A sustainable supply chain increases operational efficiency, improves productivity, reduces costs and, of course, contributes to protecting our beleaguered planet.

Technology plays a crucial role in this challenge. Through systems based on artificial intelligence, data analysis, blockchain, the Internet of Things and machine learning, organisations can identify inefficiencies in their supply chains, critical points of carbon emissions and areas for improvement with greater precision.

These innovative tools also facilitate the use of renewable energies at different stages of the supply chain, while helping organisations anticipate demand more accurately and minimise excess inventory and waste.

Another key strategy that companies are adopting is the incorporation of circular economy practices, which involve designing products so that they can be reused, repaired or recycled at the end of their useful life. This reduces the need to extract new resources; furthermore, it decreases the amount of waste.

Creating Value

The trend towards incorporating sustainable practices in supply chains is driven by several factors.

Firstly, the increase in public awareness of environmental and social issues has led consumers to demand greater transparency and accountability from the brands they consume.

Furthermore, the increase in regulations around the world is forcing companies to implement sustainable practices to adapt to existing regulations on the environment and human rights.

The path towards sustainability seems irreversible. According to the consulting firm KPMG, the reduction of carbon emissions is one of the major trends in supply chains for 2024.

"The implementation of technological tools will be vital to accompany the process, which must include support from partners and suppliers, employee education, the definition and compliance with metrics, the identification of areas for improvement and the preparation of reports to measure the progress of the sustainable strategy," KPMG notes in its report on Supply Chain Trends for 2024.

Towards Sustainable Logistics

To successfully carry out a transformation in their supply chains, it is essential that organisations work with the most robust solutions available, such as SAP Cloud for Sustainable Enterprises or SAP Integrated Business Planning for Supply Chain, which guarantee a safe path towards sustainability.

Both solutions integrate with SAP S/4HANA Cloud, public edition. This is a cloud-based ERP ready to operate that offers continuous innovation and best market practices.

The role of the technology partner is also fundamental, as they accompany organisations with their knowledge and experience, from the beginning of their transformation process to the implementation and subsequent launch of the project.

In this regard, United VARs, the leading alliance of SAP partners and technology providers, has numerous expert members in helping companies adopt these sustainable solutions tailored to the specific needs of their supply chains.

For organisations, it is time to act. A planet increasingly affected by pollution demands it. And consumers, who demand a firm commitment from companies to care for the environment, also demand it.

Today, it is possible to balance business success with social and environmental responsibility. Therefore, the transition towards sustainable and environmentally friendly supply chains is no longer just an option, it is an urgent imperative for companies that want to grow and remain competitive.

About United VARs

United VARs is a global alliance of SAP implementation partners and solution providers for the mid-market. With over 70 members in 100 countries, the alliance serves all types of SAP rollouts and integrations across the world. The organization provides businesses with local expertise ‘on the ground’ charged at local rates. All United VARs members work together as one team to provide a more personalized service than other global systems integrators can, and one that is better suited to mid-market budgets.


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