There is a reason that this post is written from our work base in China. It is where we feel we have the best opportunity to influence and be involved in every aspect of the supply chain.
In a recent Forbes magazine article, A Responsible Supply Chain is a Delicate Balancing Act (article is here) four key questions are brought to the surface.
1. Design: How do we reduce the use of material (dematerialize) and impact to the environment (decarbonize)? Or have early considerations been given to make the product conducive to remanufacturing or recycling after its end of life?
2. Manufacturing: What portion of the product is made out of renewable, recycled, or remanufactured material? How efficient are the manufacturing processes from material use, energy consumption, emission and waste generation viewpoints?
3. Packaging: While ensuring that the functional requirements of packaging are not compromised, what proportion of the total material is reused, recycled and renewable? Are there any banned non-recyclable material used in the packaging? What metrics are multi-brand retail customers such as Wal-Mart and Tesco using to rank and manage the sustainability performance of their suppliers are you prepared to adhere to such customer scorecards.
4. Transportation: Are you considering the impact that shipping has on the environment? Have you considered optimal vehicle design to improve fuel efficiency? What clean fuel sourcing strategy do you have in place or are considering? Have you enforced truck idling reduction policies or made investments in optimizing route planning?
We spend a lot of time thinking about our business model and how we improve what we do. At bambu, we are looking for ways to improve our development, production and delivery. We look for ways to be more efficient. More efficient of our materials, our designs, and in how we transport our products. There is no one right way, and you never quite every get to perfect.
An unbloated supply chain = a sustainable supply chain. In our case, we work directly with our producers - or our own and operated workshop which we do. This means no trading agents, or no brokers to hinder what is really happening on site. We design and develop products using only renewable, recycled or reclaimed materials. We are finding ways to reduce our packaging without sacrificing the presentation of our products. And finally, creating wonderful products from waste. Our Bamboo Delights at the top of this post are one such example. Made from the excess material of our bamboo cutting boards. WASTE = BEAUTIFUL PRODUCTS. You never reach perfection, it is an on-going journey.