Amid rising awareness of the impact businesses can have on the environment, companies of every size and type have begun implementing environmental sustainability initiatives. Many organizations have introduced recycling programs and made efforts to reduce their carbon emissions as a way to mitigate the adverse effects of their business processes.
However, these aren’t the only ways corporations can make a difference. Some companies are taking a big-picture approach by examining every step of their product lifecycle and applying green supply chain management practices across the board. In fact, there are many creative – and surprisingly easy – ways organizations can embrace environmental sustainability and use it to their advantage.
Sustainable business initiatives can relate to social, corporate and/or environmental sustainability. Collectively, they involve examining business processes and practices in terms of people, planet and profit, and seeking out ways to create a positive impact in each of these areas. While improving working conditions and protecting the environment are certainly admirable goals, they haven also proven to be good business strategies.
For example, implementing environmentally sustainable practices and green supply chain management has the potential to eliminate waste and generate cost savings, leading to a stronger bottom line. In addition, with many consumers committed to “going green,” eco-friendly businesses often benefit from favorable public opinion and greater customer loyalty.
Several well-known and highly successful companies are proving to be leaders in the fields of environmental sustainability and green supply chain management. Following are just a few of the ways these organizations are supporting the environment – and reaping the rewards.
One example of a company with an environmental sustainability focus built right into its business plan is eBay. The online retail and auction site makes it easy for people all over the world to exchange and reuse goods rather than throwing them away, thereby lengthening the lifespan of these products so they don’t wind up as trash. The company also introduced an eBay Classifieds section, where individuals can buy and sell used household appliances, furniture and other hard-to-ship items within their local community, eliminating the need for shipping and packaging, and keeping functional items out of landfills.
Additionally, because most of the environmental impact of eBay business occurs when one user ships something to another, the company targeted the logistics and delivery aspects of green supply chain management by partnering with the United States Postal Service (USPS). Together, eBay and the USPS created a co-branded line of environmentally friendly Priority Mail packaging that has earned Cradle-to-Cradle™ certification.
Another company that has introduced principles of environmental sustainability and green supply chain management across the board is Starbucks. In addition to purchasing Fair Trade Certified™ and certified organic coffee, the company is setting out to achieve LEED® certification for all new company-owned outlets. By focusing on creating “green” stores, Starbucks has been able to reduce both operating costs and the environmental impact of its business practices. The company’s green building strategy includes adjusting the temperature in air-conditioned stores from the standard 72°F to 75°F, purchasing cabinetry made with 90% post-industrial material and incorporating low-flow water valves.
Widely recognized as a business innovator, Google is also leading the way to a greener future with its environmental sustainability and green supply chain management practices. The company has demonstrated a commitment to existing in concert with the environment rather than at odds with it. Through initiatives such as powering its facilities with renewable energy sources, bringing in goats to trim the grass, and hosting farmer’s markets and sustainable-cooking seminars, Google has established an environmentally aware corporate culture and solidified its reputation as one of the world’s most forward-thinking companies.
As more companies come to realize the importance – and financial benefits – of environmental sustainability and green supply chain practices, demand for professionals with expertise in these areas will continue to grow. Whether you are charged with leading green initiatives within your current company or are looking to break into this promising field, you can gain valuable skills and credentials through the Corporate and Environmental Sustainability and Green Supply Chain Management courses offered by the University of San Francisco (USF).
Developed and led by noted sustainability and supply chain experts, these advanced specialized certificate courses are available 100% online. Each eight-week course is delivered through the university’s proven, video-based e-learning platform, which provides 24/7 access to course materials and communication tools. You can view lectures via streaming video, MP4 downloads or CD-ROM, and interact with instructors and classmates through online discussion boards, live chat, email and two-way voice over IP (VOIP).
Upon completion of each course, you’ll receive a framed certificate of achievement from the University of San Francisco, which is accredited by the Western Association of Colleges and Schools and consistently ranked a best national university by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to its eco-focused Corporate and Environmental Sustainability and Green Supply Chain Management courses, the university also offers an advanced specialized certificate course in Lean Supply Chain Management and a comprehensive, three-course Certificate in Supply Chain Management.