A sustainable supply chain enables manufacturers to ship products as cheaply and quickly as possible to the upstream supply chain or end users, while reducing costs and eliminating negative environmental and social impacts.
Closed Loop Supply Chain
One ingredient to a sustainable supply chain is a closed loop supply chain.
A closed loop supply chain, the same as the circular supply chain, differs from the traditional linear supply chain in that it minimizes resource usage, reduces waste and maximizes manufacturing investment.
In a closed loop supply chain, raw materials products and waste are recycled and reused. The objective is to keep resources in use for as long as possible, reducing the need for new raw materials every time you go into production.
A good example of design to create better sustainability is Patagonia.
They have ingeniously designed their fabric, which is made from recycled bottles, to be produced requiring less water, energy, and materials at lower costs. This helps reduce the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere in their manufacturing process, which then improves Patagonia’s sustainability.
Linear Supply Chain
A linear supply chain uses mass production to make products cheaply. Yet it creates waste, while the circular supply chain enables manufacturers to reuse waste materials and convert product waste into new products.
This change from more typical linear supply chains also helps manufacturers lower shipping costs while decreasing the amount of discarded material.