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Oleksii KosenkoDirector, Network Enablement EMEA, FourKites

FourKites’ research with Reuters shows supply chain sustainability is a top priority in Europe

As those who witnessed the latest United Nations Climate Change Summit clearly saw, sustainability is no longer the sole purview of governments, state actors and NGO’s — if indeed it ever was. More than ever before, green business is good business, and the companies that invest in sustainable business practices now will be the companies that are still doing business twenty years from now.

Nowhere is this clearer than in Europe, and I’m proud to say that the vast majority of businesses, leaders and individuals we work with here are treating sustainability and the environment with the serious respect and consideration it deserves. To that effect, we partnered with Reuters to conduct a survey of business leaders throughout Europe, to find out more about where, exactly, their top supply chain priorities lie.

In this post, I’ll be walking through some of our key findings as they pertain to the state of supply chain sustainability in Europe.

Behind the Research

Both COVID-19 and a rising global sense of international urgency centered around the climate crisis have placed increasing pressure on businesses to strengthen their sustainability initiatives, practices and commitments. To illustrate, over 80% of the corporations included in this survey responded that they were either maintaining (44%) or increasing (40%) their commitment to sustainability.

Of the companies that we evaluated, just 5% had decreased or paused their commitments to sustainability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 9%, meanwhile, currently lacked any form of sustainability commitment. Clearly, sustainability is a top priority for businesses throughout Europe.

Here are some other key findings from our Reuters research:

  • 39% of respondents said they plan to reduce carbon emissions in their transport processes.
  • 31% said the same for manufacturing and the phasing-out of non-renewable packaging materials.
  • 84% said they were either increasing their sustainability commitments or holding steady.

What Needs To Be Done

So sustainability is a priority, but what are businesses actually doing about it? As I’ve written in the past, the first step in approaching any large, systemic challenge like sustainability is to gather information and understand in greater detail the exact ways that the business contributes to the problem. Only then can business leaders make informed decisions and take impactful actions in such things as reducing carbon footprint, eliminating waste, and decreasing reliance on extractive and unsustainable processes.

  • Nearly 50% of respondents shared that real-time supply chain visibility data plays a role in identifying and achieving sustainability goals.
  • 41% of respondents struggle to measure the impact of their sustainability initiatives.
  • 85% of German respondents say real-time visibility is important or critical to achieving their sustainability goals.

Our survey with Reuters shows that end-to-end traceability was the biggest pain point for 67% of respondents, an issue considered much more pronounced in Germany. There, all those surveyed claimed it had been a problem, compared with 71% in the UK. And roughly 63% of those surveyed also said carriers providing inaccurate ETAs was ‘a persistent problem.’

Customer Story: Henkel

Henkel is a FourKites customer, and a leader in the global consumer goods industry. Founded over 140 years ago, the Düsseldorf-based company has a massive portfolio spanning laundry and home care, beauty and more. Henkel has been at the forefront of sustainability research and implementation for the past three decades, pioneering initiatives like its Sustainability Ambassador program, and pushing the boundaries of sustainable product design, development and production.

In a recent article in the Loadstar, Paul Avampato, head of international logistics at Henkel, was quoted saying that having greater supply chain visibility through FourKites increased the likelihood of supply chain players’ decision-making being improved.

We use supply chain visibility data to understand better where there’s waste within the supply chain,” he said. “We believe by reducing dwell time, we can keep the network moving smoother. The more we reduce dwell time, the fewer trucks you have to put on the road.

– Paul Avampato, Head of International Logistics, Henkel

This is the narrative that we are beginning to see more and more often here at FourKites, and it’s stories like these that give me hope. All the research in the world won’t make the world a greener or more sustainable place on its own, but it can shed a light on the leaders, organisations and individuals that are taking it upon themselves to do so.

As I continue to see companies like Henkel taking the lead on sustainability throughout the FourKites network, it gives me hope that we truly will leave the world a better place than we found it — and that we’re well on our way to making that world a reality today.

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