#65: Sustainability in Supply Chains

#65: Sustainability in Supply Chains

We had the pleasure to talk with two guests this time:

Alexis H. Bateman is a Research Scientist, MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics and the Director of MIT Sustainable Supply Chains. She has over fifteen years of experience in sustainability in the public sector, industry, and academic settings. Her work focuses on supply chain sustainability through research, education, and outreach. She has engaged closely with industrial partners, public agencies, global governance organizations, and non-governmental organizations.

Sheri Hinish is known as the “Supply Chain Queen.” Recognized as an IBM Futurist, a 2019 Supply & Demand Chain Executive “Pro to Know,” and among LinkedIn’s Top 1% SSI in Supply Chain, she has a strong presence across social and professional networks. And is a strong advocate for sustainability and pushing forward sustainable supply chains

Listen to the full discussion here:

  • Stream by clicking here.
  • Download as an MP3 here.



Connect with the Guests:

Some of the highlights from the podcast:

  • Sustainability –  People vs Environment or People vs People
  • Examples of companies in fashion and FMCG leading the way
  • How does sustainability impact supply chains?
  • Technologies that can be used
  • How companies can become more sustainable

Show notes:

  • [02:33] How far should we go with sustainability? How would you integrate that in the corporate framework?
  • [03:09] Sustainability was never about people vs environment, it is more on people vs people.
  • [08:35] We should go as far as we need to, because what’s the price of doing nothing? And you don’t have to look very far to see why change is needed. Look at the massive forest fires in the Amazon, this poses a risk to both humanity and in the reliability and viability of supply chains.
  • [09:57] In the segment fast fashion FMCG, what would be some of your thoughts in terms of what can be done better to achieve a sustainable supply chain and a more sustainable mindset in general?
  • [11:32] We need to figure out how technology can efficiently downcycle the use of garments and how we can collect enough material because the current consumption rates are just not sustainable.
  • [13:52] The shift in the consumer’s mindset needs to happen – buying less and the desirability for used products.
  • [17:41] The reality is that many consumers lack insights and awareness of, you know, the shared benefits of purchasing sustainable products.
  • [18:12] Consume less, waste less and don’t make excuses. Sustainability can no longer be a conspiracy of silence, it needs to be a part of the dinner table conversation and we need to embrace the opportunity to share this information.
  • [21:14] When people have the choice to use sustainable products that are held equal in terms of price and quality, then they will make that choice.
  • [24:09] Alexis, can you share some other case studies of corporations you work within doing the right thing, for the right cause and for the right environment?
  • [24:27] We worked with a company called Dr. Bronner’s, they are a small company and they operate differently from the norm but they are still able to grow and make a profit.
  • [29:35] Colgate managed to create a recyclable tube- a good first move in terms of sustainability.
  • [32:03] How would you say this topic about sustainability, the very macro level, is infecting supply chains in general?
  • [35:06] The voice of those that are interested in sustainability gets brought. Every year, students want to work for a company that’s responsible. They don’t want to go home at night and work with the company that they feel is not committing in a significant way.
  • [36:46] Sustainability should be as much of an individual commitment as the top leaders’ commitment.
  • [37:36] What are some of the game-changing technologies and the most impactful ones that you think could bring in lead to more in sustainability?
  • [40:01] I think it’s the system of solutions that are making it easier for people to act.
  • [40:19] Are you hearing that decarbonization is front of mind for CEOs or COOs?
  • [42:06] If you are a CEO of a 50,000 people company,  what would be some of the first things that you would do in terms of the company becoming more sustainable?
  • [45:24] A great way to embrace sustainability is to support other businesses with a commitment to sustainable ways of working.
  • [48:05] You have to get those small wins first so that you can have the long term adopted, so when it gets tough, don’t give up.

Quotes from the Episode:


Soundbites from the Episode:



About the Host:

The host, Radu Palamariu is the co-author of “From Source to Sold – Stories of Leadership in Supply Chain”. He has been named one of the top 3 Global Supply Chain Influencers on LinkedIn and was featured in ForbesBloombergWEFBangkok Post, and MIT Supply Chain Talent magazine. Radu invites executives to share stories and perspectives around technology, logistics, e-commerce, supply chain, and manufacturing, and their views on how the future will look.

Alcott Global connects and upgrades the supply chain ecosystem by finding the right talent through executive search, developing talent through learning solutions, and meeting supply chain technology needs through a comprehensive crunch base marketplace.

The supply chain executive search has been our focus since the very beginning, offering recruitment services for top-tier supply chain roles at every level of the end-to-end supply chain: plan, source / procure, make, and deliver. Our consultants have years of experience in placing top talent, in North America, LATAM, Europe, the Middle East & Africa, and APAC, and besides speed, one of our biggest strengths is our network within the supply chain industry, and we capitalize on it to find the best solutions.

Through the years, we have grown as an organization and our offerings with it. One of our initiatives, the learning solutions- training and supply chain academy, is focused on transforming leadership- self-leadership, executive presence, influence capital, and business acumen. Through Supplify, we aim to match corporations with the top technology companies to solve their supply chain and logistics challenges with a focus on innovation and digital transformation.

We are in constant touch with the leaders in supply chain, inviting them to inspire the supply chain professionals in thought-provoking podcast episodes and events, and showcasing what is possible at the yearly Leaders in Supply Chain Awards.

Related Episodes:

Episode #17: Dr. Yossi Sheffi Director of the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics

Episode #56: Dr. Dirk Holbach Chief Supply Chain Officer, Laundry & Home Care of Henkel

Episode #64: Mike Zayonc Founder of Plug and Play Supply Chain





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