Shaping sustainable supply chains: practical help for small and medium-sized enterprises

Cargo ships entering one of the busiest ports in the world, Singapore

Sustainability management has become important for more and more companies as a result of implementing the EU directive on non-financial reporting in national law. A large part of a company’s sustainability impact occurs along its supply chain. As a result, companies are required to identify risks and opportunities in connection with sustainability topics at an early stage in order to fulfil social responsibility obligations along the supply chain. An overview of the entire value chain, from raw materials production to the final product creation, presents a great challenge, especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with limited human and financial resources. This brings up the question of how companies can push suppliers to be more sustainable in their production processes.

The pilot project "Sustainable Supply Chain" is part of the Bavarian Environmental Pact. The aim is to offer Bavarian SMEs practical support tailored to their respective businesses in order to familiarise them with the topic of sustainable supply chain management and to help shape and optimise their own sustainable supply chains. It is intended to enable SMEs to answer the following questions: How can my company approach this topic? How can we find out which aspects are important for our company and which ones can actually be implemented? How do we go about implementation? By focusing more closely on environmental and social standards along the supply chain, the SMEs’ environmental management will ultimately be strengthened.

The adelphi  and sustainable project teams will develop practical assistance in sustainable supply chain implementation in close cooperation with selected Bavarian SMEs. The focus will be on tools that make the supply chain structure transparent and on identifying key sustainability issues within the supply chain. This includes a process phase model with application examples and tools as well as a list of measures for designing a sustainable supply chain. The instruments are intended to help companies to take initial internal steps in the field of sustainable supply chain management. Sustainability issues at the supplier level will thus be addressed and made binding through the development of a code of conduct and supplier assessment.

Publications of this project