Sustainability 101

Conference: Driving Sustainability Across The Supply Chain

Great Forest Moderates Panel of Experts at Columbia University

Great Forest’s Director of Sustainability, Anna Dengler, moderated a panel on corporate sustainable supply chains held at Columbia University on November 16.

Speakers included Lee Ballin from Bloomberg LP’s Office of Sustainability; Karen Alonardo, founder and CEO of CSRware; Professor Steven Cohen, director of M.S. in Sustainability and Management at Columbia University; and Mary Ellen Mika, supply chain manager at  Steelcase.

The panel covered the complexities of setting up a sustainable supply chain within a corporate framework, something that innovative green-minded companies are beginning to do. The discussion ranged from initial evaluation and planning to negotiating supply chain partnerships, conducting life cycle analysis, and using tracking tools to measure success.

Panel speakers reminded the audience that everyone along the supply chain has to be thinking of the life cycle of the product in order to stay viable and green. One of the most interesting discussions centered around surveys that Bloomberg LP and Steelcase had sent out to their suppliers and vendors to find out how they can work with them to make greener decisions.

“The panel reflects the corporate world’s interest in building sustainability into all aspects of their businesses, not just internally but also in influencing those they work with,” says Anna. “Although this can be complicated, the takeaway is that we should just go ahead and do it. Only by going through the process of greening your business inside out will you learn what works and how to set goals for yourself and also your suppliers, vendors and partners.”

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