Supply Chain Monthly

CSCMP and MIT Join Together for the First Annual State of Supply Chain Sustainability Report

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Written by Donna Palumbo-Miele, CSCMP Board of Director/Chair, Sustainable Supply Chain Committee & Alexis Bateman, Director, MIT Sustainable Supply Chains. 

What does supply chain sustainability mean to you or your organization? How has your supply chain evolved from 2019 to 2020 and what may that trajectory be in 2022?

CSCMP and MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics (CTL) teamed up to explore how sustainability practices are being implemented in global supply chains and what that means for companies and professionals. This first annual edition of the report addresses numerous dimensions of supply chain sustainability and provides a snapshot to inform both supply chain professionals and future business strategy.

As your professional association, CSCMP is committed to both developing and arming supply chain professionals to be successful in their pursuit of excellence throughout their careers, as well as advancing our discipline and accomplishing CSCMP’s mission of a truly integrated, end-to-end supply chain. To that end, the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) has partnered with MIT CTL to produce the first annual report. This year’s study tackles the pressure to act, how goals and investments are aligned (or not), corporate preferences for reporting mechanisms, as well as the role of the supply chain professional in sustainability. Insights were brought together from across industries, geographies, and roles to understand what supply chain sustainability looked like in 2019 at a high level to enable more informed decision making.  

The State of Supply Chain Sustainability 2020 Report research approach had three pillars: an anonymous survey of supply chain professionals, cross-industry executive interviews, and a systematic review of media coverage and corporate social responsibility reports. We believe that this approach will underpin a report that meets demands for information on supply chain sustainability that are not being met by current past research in this area.

With a sample of more than 1,100 Supply Chain professionals, key insights were gleaned that will enable informed decision-making for players across industries and supply chain roles. These insights included: the presence and makeup of publicly stated goals, the depth of investment across issues area, key practices in place to manage sustainability, and what sustainability means for the supply chain professional. This report concludes with how COVID-19 is influencing supply chain sustainability and what that might mean for the future. 

Insights include:

  1. The pressure to drive supply chain sustainability is diffuse across many sources, and contrary to accepted wisdom, it is being exerted by a diversity of stakeholders.
  2. There are clear differences across industries in commitment, investment, and approach, but common threads exist with the goals organizations are setting and how they are attempting to reach those goals.
  3. The role of the supply chain professional in sustainability is clear. For many, professionals and executives alike see sustainability more commonly as a part of supply chain duties.
  4. With frontline laborers taking a brunt of the pressure for supply chain management during COVID-19, a poll in April 2020 showed that managers and executives alike see social sustainability as top of mind as we head into 2021.
  5. COVID-19 is a litmus test for company adoption of supply chain sustainability.   

The State of Supply Chain Sustainability 2020 Report was released in July 14, 2020. The report is available to CSCMP members and MIT CTL partners. For membership access to this report: 

Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals - Learn more about membership.

MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics - Learn more about becoming a partner

The MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics (MIT CTL) is a leading research and educational center with almost 50 years of supply chain expertise. In 2007, supply chain sustainability emerged as a key research area at the center. In 2018, MIT CTL founded MIT Sustainable Supply Chains to respond to the continuing growth of supply chain sustainability as a business imperative fueled by the demands and requirements of consumers, governments, and investors. The initiative aims to better understand and support research and collaboration to improve the social and environmental sustainability of supply chain business processes.