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Collaboration is key to a sustainable supply chain

Businesses need to collaborate more, share their learning and foster better sectorial working practices if they are to effectively engage their supply chains in sustainability; that was the conclusion made by some of UK's biggest businesses gathered together for a debate.
The latest in a series of 'Round Table Debates', organised by Sustainable Business, brought a select group of business leaders together for a 90 minute debating session to explain their successes to date in driving best practice along the supply chain. The debate was designed to question how companies can take things forward and communicate the importance of sustainability among the businesses they buy products and services from.

Chairing the debate, Mike Bernon, Cranfield School of Management's professor of supply chain management said: 'Managing carbon is easy. But the real challenge is driving sustainability through the supply chain.'

It was a sentiment echoed by the majority of participants, who having made good progress in reducing their own environmental impacts, recognise that the real challenge is in reducing the impact of the so-called scope 3 companies - their suppliers.

The debate included IKEA's sustainable development manager, Charlie Browne; the Metropolitan Police's environmental manager, Emma Devenish; SGS's sustainability consultant, trainer and auditor, Ana Inacio; Thomas Cook's group environment manager, Victoria Barlow; Commercial Group's environmental strategist, Simon Graham; LOCOG's corporate sustainability manager, Phil Cummings; and United Biscuits' European purchasing manager, Michael Palomino. The event was also attended by WRAP (Waste & Resources Action Programme). Defra's policy advisor, Maureen Novak, and sustainable public procurement advisor, Ian Barham, offered the Government's perspective on supply chain engagement.

• Full coverage of the Round Table Debate will feature in the May edition of Sustainable Business and a full transcript and podcast will be available online for all subscribers after 6 May 2011.
6 April 2011

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