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Corporate Responsibility and the move towards a Circular Economy

The health of our planet is in the news daily these days. We continue to learn more and more about how organizations can transition their business practices to ones that are more sustainable. And supply chains are a great place to start. According to a recent article in CSCMP’s Supply Chain Quarterly on Three Best Practices for Transitioning to a Circular Economy, “To successfully transition to a more circular economy, companies must change how they design and create products, how they relate to their customers, and how they interact with other companies.”

Business meeting

Collaboration is Key

One of the best practices outlined in the article, and supported by real-world examples, focuses on collaboration with others. Per the article, “Collaboration is vital in achieving circularity on a large, systemwide scale.” Essentially, the more it is adopted, the greater the benefit for all stakeholders. But to get there, it does require infrastructure and/or process changes. “These changes will require collaboration within and across industries. There are several ways companies can foster this type of collaboration. They can work together with their direct customers, suppliers, and other supply chain partners; participate in industry coalitions; and attend cross-industry events.”

Demanding Social Responsibility

If moving toward a circular economy is a key focus for organizations, then corporate responsibility is likely driving it. Employees are getting more vocal about how company operations impact the environment, and consumers are doing the same with how they use their purchasing power. According to an article by Timothy J. McClimon in Forbes on 5 Corporate Social Responsibility Trends To Follow In 2020, “The movement toward creating corporate purpose as a way of inspiring employees and engaging customers is a recognition that purpose can be a long-lasting, and geographically agnostic, guiding force behind a company’s operations and its social responsibility.”


2 employees working with Alpega's SaaS supply chain management tool

Challenges...and Concerns

With these trends and big challenges, come fears as well. In GreenBiz and their article on Corporate sustainability leaders share excitements, fears for 2020, Mike Hower, a sustainability and social impact leader, says “With such high stakes, there’s also plenty keeping corporate sustainability leaders up at night. There are fears that a looming economic downturn or political fortunes in the United States will stymie corporate sustainability progress.” Let’s hope all these leaders remain focused and excited about the possibilities of more sustainable operating practices – through innovation, collaboration, technology and problem solving. With big challenges come opportunities waiting to be discovered.

Creating a more sustainable future is imperative. Corporate responsibility and a circular economy are a part of that future. The more we learn about how to get there, the better.

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