The whole enchilada

I’ve been wandering around the web updating myself with today’s headline news on the new green initiatives.

along the way, I came across a little piece on a site that was new to me..chloregy

the content was an interview with a fellow in china who had succeeded in putting together a sustainable fashion business consortium.

I’ve included a few of Pat’s quotable insights:

” A year or two ago, everyone presented new products as eco when it only related to the raw material , but why wasn’t anyone talking about process? You have to work on the whole supply chain”
“The system is the problem – the system is not allowing a sustainable business model – everyone has to play a part to play in changing the system.”
“At first we started out with great ideals, but if you don’t bring on the business case, the ideals get stuck!”

YUP, change doesn’t work if it’s isolated, disconnected or worse retrofitted into a system that is not open to possiblities.   This is of course not an easy path.  Walmart has made significant inroads by leveraging its market power to force its suppliers to step up.  But how successful have they been? I happened to work with a little company who is significant supplier and they had yet to comply with Walmart’s sustainable policy (see their website). They were not sure where to begin, and of course were very concerned about the bearing the burden of additional costs.  The economic prospects being what they are, this was clearly not a priority.

I’m not picking on Walmart as much as acknowledging how very hard it is to take a whole systems approach. When it comes down to it, the little company knows its competition well enough to recognize that Walmart doesn’t have another green option to source thier product.  Volume commitments are not enough to force change.  Perhaps if Walmart were to feature the product once it goes green and transform its stores to separate the green from the yet to go green products….in other words, not everyone is ready to make the transition.

if you have some good examples of well thought out incentives for supply chain transitions, I invite you to share them.  let’s see how we can make Pat’s comment a reality!

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