In many industries, it exposes issues with unsustainable practices at various stages of the supply chain, from extraction and initial manufacturing, to the transportation, distribution and storage of components. Common problems include labor force abuses, unsustainable mining, over-extraction of organic resources and processing methods that are polluting.
A number of industries face significant ESG problems at the beginning of the supply chain. These include:
Even industries that are thought of as very sustainable face supply chain problems. Manufacturers of electric cars, for example, must source lithium and cadmium as raw materials for car batteries. These minerals are fairly rare and run the risk of being sourced from suppliers using child labor and environmentally destructive practices in Africa and South America.
Companies stand to face significant reputational damage if their supply chains are not carefully monitored and they become embroiled in a scandal. Corporations therefore increasingly see sustainability in the entire supply chain as being essential to long-term profitability. A sustainable supply chain can also offer value creation opportunities and competitive advantages.