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Reports 1 Aug 2008

Unchaining Value

Innovative approaches to sustainable supply

By Mark Lee

Unchaining Value: Innovative approaches to sustainable supply, a report by SustainAbility, the UN Environment Programme, and the UN Global Compact, argues that companies should redefine the goals of supply chain management from creating more value at less cost for the company, to creating more value for all supply chain participants at a lower cost to constrained global resources.

We explore approaches to building capacity at the local supplier level and identify initiatives that encourage consumer demand for more sustainable solutions. We also consider the challenges facing supply chains in the face of competition for limited natural resources.

Finally, we propose a ladder of Incremental, Strategic and Transformational business approaches to the integration of sustainability value within supply chain thinking. The report addresses the ambition of UNEP and UNGC to find ways to increase practical know-how, develop skills and capacity in developing countries, and raise levels of innovation and collaboration across and between supply chains.

The report is illustrated with examples of companies who have moved beyond traditional risk management strategies to innovate and create incentives for continuous improvement.

Case studies include: Coca-Cola, Hewlett-Packard, IKEA, McDonald’s, Nokia, and Unilever.

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