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Andrew ErnestOperations Associate, FourKites

McKinsey estimates that a staggering 90% of companies’ environmental impact comes from their supply chains. While many companies are eager to make meaningful progress toward sustainability, they struggle with implementing data-based changes to their supply chain. All too often, supply chain data is locked away in siloes, or not even captured in the first place. And as the research on supply chain sustainability grows daily, it can be difficult for companies to navigate this new landscape and translate it into corporate sustainability policy. This is why FourKites has launched the Sustainability Center of Excellence (SCoE), a new thought leadership council dedicated to promoting sustainability throughout the end-to-end supply chain.

With over 20 members to date, SCoE participants include Alexis Bateman, Director at the MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics; Michael Torrance, Chief Sustainability Officer at BMO Financial Group; Dustin Braun, Senior Director, Logistics at Land O’Lakes; Philipp Kolb, International Supply Chain Sustainability, at Henkel; Meghan Stasz, Vice President, Packaging & Sustainability at Consumer Brands Association; and Rob Haddock, Group Director Planning & Logistics at The Coca-Cola Company

We’ve established three strategic areas of focus for the SCoE in order to provide the tools and information companies need to make actionable changes toward lasting sustainability in their supply chains:

  1. Co-innovation with Customers: We’re committed to empowering our customers with the products and solutions they need to reduce the negative environmental impacts of their freight. 
  2. Learning from Industry Leaders: We’re bringing together the best minds in supply chain to offer diverse perspectives on how companies can build more sustainable supply chains.
  3. Sharing Data-Driven Strategy: We’re combining the largest data network of shippers, carriers and 3PLs with insights from industry experts to help identify evidence-based supply chain sustainability strategies.

Read on to learn more about each of these initiatives.

Co-innovation with Customers

For years, FourKites customers have been leveraging our products in creative ways to support their sustainability goals. Real-time visibility is foundational in achieving supply chain sustainability. Here are some of the ways our customers have been lowering their carbon footprint with FourKites visibility solutions:

  • Implementing temperature tracking to eliminate food waste in transit
  • Reducing detention – particularly for reefers, which must remain on (releasing harmful emissions) while waiting to unload
  • Eliminating empty miles in their supply chain with Lane Connect

Recently, members of the SCoE helped us refine and validate our new Sustainability Dashboard. Our members from the academic community helped to ensure that our calculations were up to industry standards, and our beta testers provided valuable feedback on how to ensure our dashboard was as actionable as possible for their teams.

FourKites Sustainability Dashboard

Moving forward, we’re excited to continue our passion for co-innovating with our customers through the SCoE. Whether it’s an innovative sustainability-oriented use case of an existing product or a new feature idea, we’re looking forward to working with members of the SCoE to ensure our products provide the visibility needed to lower their carbon footprint.

Learning from Industry Leaders

A crucial aspect of assembling the SCoE has been bringing together sustainability leaders from a variety of industries and backgrounds, including European CPG multi-nationals, industry associations, leading academic institutions, financial companies and more. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to supply chain sustainability, and it’s imperative to ensure different perspectives (logistics management, financial, research and academic, etc.) are well-represented in the thought leadership we produce.

As Gartner’s Bart De Muynck explained in our recent Virtual Sustainability Summit, positive actions from one company may in fact result in harmful consequences for downstream partners in the supply chain. By bringing together different perspectives, we’re excited to better optimize sustainability for the entire supply chain ecosystem.

Sharing Data-Driven Strategy

As the largest global data network of shippers, carriers and 3PLs, FourKites is in the unique position to help our customers identify and implement data-driven sustainability strategies. Combining our vast data resources with the insights of leading academics and industry professionals, we’re eager to help companies create and implement evidence-based sustainability policies in their supply chain operations. Our members have seen what works and what doesn’t when it comes to sustainability policy, and they fantastic resources for actionable, data-driven strategies that companies can implement to drive tangible improvements in their sustainability metrics.

We’ll be sharing our best practices through blog posts, webinars and other forums over the coming months. Check out the recordings of our Virtual Sustainability Summit from earlier this month if you’re interested in hearing from some of today’s supply chain sustainability experts on how they leverage technology to build sustainable supply chains.

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COVID-19 has highlighted the need to have systems and technology in place to mitigate the impacts of future crises and market fluctuations. The same is true for sustainability. As the need to reduce emissions grows every day, companies that invest in sustainability initiatives now will be better equipped to succeed in the long run. The FourKites SCoE is excited to promote sustainability in supply chains regardless of digital maturity, size or region. If you’re interested in getting involved with the SCoE, or want to learn more about how visibility technology can supercharge your sustainability initiatives, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected].

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