The poll covered more than 650 supply chain executives from a variety of industries, about 11 percent of whom represented the food and beverage industry, with another 14 percent from the retail and consumer packaged goods industry.
The survey found that the greatest ROI has come from improving energy efficiency and recycling materials, using low-carbon buildings, and requesting emissions data from suppliers. Improving customer relations was still the top reason that for companies’ sustainability initiatives, the survey found.
EFT, which conducts research and provides information for transport and logistics companies, said: “A significant change in the market was highlighted by Financial ROI jumping from ninth place in the 2009 survey to second place in 2010 as a key driver for shippers to invest in sustainable supply chain initiatives, whilst improving customer relations stayed consistent as the most important driver in both surveys.” Increasing supply chain efficiency and decreasing expenditure on fuel were identified as key drivers in both 2009 and 2010.
Even though more than 80 percent of respondents said they thought there was now increased scrutiny of sustainability efforts, fifty percent of shippers surveyed said that a lack of data and standardization were barriers to the adoption of more environmentally friendly supply chain initiatives.
“Overall, there has been a significant increase of activity within supply chain sustainability and whilst firmer legislation/regulation was the most anticipated driver for future efforts, consumer driver demand was a close second and suggests that, rather than subsiding, supply chain sustainability will only grow more important to a company's success in the coming year,” EFT said.
The report has been released ahead of the 4th Sustainable Supply Chain Summit due to take place on October 28-29 in San Francisco.
The eyefortransport 2010 North American Sustainable Supply Chain Report is available online here.