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I interviewed John Wilkerson, a 25 year supply chain, procurement sustainability veteran. He has had the opportunity to work across a number of different businesses and industries, including industrials, aerospace, food & beverage, healthcare, as well as doing work in the home building and the supply chain space focusing on suppliers.


John also had the opportunity and honor to be a contributor on a number of thought leadership publications such as Kyoto Publishing, The Environmental Leader, Grocers Headquarters Magazine, Institute for Supply Management and more.



Why is sustainable supply chain an important topic?


Primarily for public companies. There are several issues out there. One is that public companies,  manufacturing, distributors, retailers and service companies have a number of supply chain challenges. They are managing sustainability and out of stocks, excess inventory, cost management and related topics of the day. When it gets to specifics in the sustainable supply chain or CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) supply chain partners are looking at carbon foot printing as the next evolution of emerging topics out there.


Industry leaders such as Procter & Gamble, Intel and AT&T have realized they have to go beyond the traditional organization and reach out to the suppliers to 1. Reduce carbon footprint and 2. Look for other longer term cost savings opportunities. If these companies say it is important, obviously we should listen.


What are the industry leaders doing?


Other companies such as Unilever, McDonalds, TESCO, along with Walmart and Target are actually leading the way. One of the things John recommends is taking a look at the Environmental Leaders 2012 lessons learned guide which is a large white paper around 70 pages. There you can take a look an see what the industry leaders are doing. Some of the companies included in that white paper, besides John's company Bellwether are companies such as Yahoo, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Nike, General Mills, Staples, etc.


Green supply chain transformations and lessons learned


Some of the work John has done with clients over the last several years include 3 things:


  1. Aligning supply chain goals with corporate goals

  2. Making sure you have a realistic time line

  3. Getting the CFO to be a part of your team and an advocate


Aligning supply chain goals with corporate goals


John worked with roughly 2,000 suppliers with about 4,500 peers in the workforce. It also had about 30 buildings. One of the things they did was to operate in a silo, which they knew was a mistake but they did it just to get started. As they went along they found the Chief Sustainability Officer and Facility Manager because they couldn't proceed very far without their support. John's team eventually got them engaged. From a distance they had the executive management team on board.


The end result is that they went out and developed the goals. One of the issues they didn't do very well was matching the goals and aligning the goals to where the corporation was going. As a result they didn't get the entire management team on their side.


A lesson learned is that to get the management team on your side and get true executive support, and bring in facility managers along with the Chief Sustainability Officer should be done early rather than late.


Looking at the time line


One of the things they did well was developing a plan. With the plan they included all of the traditional aspects of project planning such as dividing things into phases, defining costs and assigning resources. However, there are several things they didn't do very well.


The project plan was basically 6 months. The project was extended to 18 months. There are four things which extended that plan:


  1. Stakeholder acceptance

  2. Cost management

  3. Data integrity (which is always a big deal when doing any type of analytical project)

  4. Education and re-education


At the end of the day what John would recommend is to compare the early days of green supply chain maturity to the early days of word processors.


It took a number of years before we shook out what the right standards were going to be for word processors. It took a long time to do that. The green supply chain industry is in the same boat. John recommends finding a way to do as much research as possible before you start and learn from John's lessons, and to do things such as develop a realistic time line.


Getting the CFO to be a part of your team and be your advocate


Over the years, John has learned while working with a number of CFOs is that they want to be on your side but they need something to hang their hat on. We all know that CFOs are data driven.


One example of how John and his team got the CFO on their side and to be a part of their business case involves the same example of the 4,500 person workforce. To that workforce the trash bill or the waste that was emitted was roughly $500,000 per year. John and his team stopped focusing on strictly recycling. They focused on container management and found a way to reduce the amount of containers they had, for example moving from a 5 yard to a 2.5 or 3 yard.


They then went back in to look at a recycling program. This forced them to look at their business case. With that business case they were able to save 20% of that $500,000 just by reducing the size of the containers. This example can be generally applicable to any company that generates waste as a part of their business.


About John Wilkerson


Supply Chain, Procurement, Sustainability Executive

LinkedIn Profile


What is supply chain compliance?


For different disciplines it might mean different things. From an EH&S perspective it is a relatively new concept where a particular company has responsibility up and down their supply chain for the compliance of their raw materials, finished goods, as well was what has been done for their end users and of course end of life, disposal or take back, depending on what processes they have in place.


When we talk about supply chain compliance in this arena, we are talking about insuring that as you are procuring materials from your suppliers that those materials conform to specific criteria, whether it be regulations at the government level, internal company self imposed regulations, industry standards or a lot of cases we are seeing quite a bit of development in the area customers are making demands in terms of the certain criteria of the products provided to them.


Certainly, this would be regulatory based, but beyond that to meet the customer's sustainability goals. We have seen for several years now places like Walmart, HP, and IBM. These companies were real pioneers in the area of sustainability questionnaires where they were pushing on vendors who wanted to do business with them to meet certain criteria related to sustainability and push that through their supply chain in order to allow companies to do business with them.


It is a complex process where you are gathering and pushing information up and down the supply chain

related to sustainability and environmental criteria.



Why do companies collect MSDSs and other product data from their suppliers? What is this information used for?


Operational risk and compliance management is increasingly focused on environmental issues across the supply chain. As companies strive to deliver sustainable on-going improvements in compliance and risk management, they are closely scrutinizing the management of products in the enterprise, especially chemicals and hazardous chemicals, but certainly articles as well, with a special emphasis on fulfilling requirements in regulatory compliance.


It is important to understand and to have transparency into a comprehensive view of compliance performance and risk management throughout the supply chain and the product life cycle. For example, if I need to know that this particular raw material that I may be procuring from three different sources meets all of the requirements that would make me able to push my finished good all of the addressable markets that I am interested in operating.


lifecycle.high res.jpg


Beyond that, I am also able to do business with certain target customers. If you take it one step further you look at end user once it is in the actual consumer's hands if that is appropriate. Of course, sometimes your end user is another business.


It is ensuring that the product meets all of the requirements that would allow for safe use and disposal at whatever the end point may be. Companies are collecting this data to make sure they can know that those raw materials and ultimately their finished goods meet all of those various criteria. It is basically data sheet which is a very time proven means of communicating hazards about particular mixtures or substances. Is it a carcinogen and if so at what levels and how do the end-users protect themselves appropriately to ensure that they are not going to be at risk by using that particular product. That kind of basic information can be found on an MSDS, as well as other things not just related to personal safety but facility safety.


What is the flashpoint of the material? Is it caustic? Is it highly flammable? When you are looking at storage and transport you need to understand the proper handling.


Beyond safety data sheets there is a lot of other information people may need, such as compliance certificates or performance certificates. In a lot of businesses such as aerospace, defense etc., there are engineering specifications that you have to declare conformance with that relate to safety and health.


It may be that you are saying, “yes, this product is in compliance with the REACH regulations in the EU and therefore can be imported into the EU and either used as a raw material or pushed to an end user.


There is quite a lot of data and it goes a little broader when you look at things like the Dodd Frank Act and how that will actually bear out in the marketplace. It remains to be seen, but right now what folks are doing to prepare for it is ensuring at the smelter level that they have certification that the raw materials they are using, the target metals specified by the Dodd Frank Act, have not been sourced from the Democratic Republic of Congo. While that is not specifically health or safety, it certainly is a sustainability related issue that requires a lot of data to support and a paper chain or chain of custody.


While it is not a data point like a flashpoint or a hazardous classification, it is certain pieces of information that would support an overall dossier on the suitability of a raw material for use within a company. There is a lot of data.


If you look into food companies they need things like Kosher certification in order to have traceability (certificate of origin certification) in the case of a recall. It can be a broad spectrum of information that they are gathering and what they are using it for is to ensure ultimately that the compliance of their finished goods is based on compliance assurance from the raw material manufacturers.



A company’s efforts are only as strong as the quality of its data. How can companies ensure/promote greater data quality, especially when they are dealing with a multitude of suppliers?


This is tough because there is so much to it. First you look at one direction of the matrix and that is the vast amount of data which needs to be collected. Then you align that against all of the various sources which that data has to come from. It is a very complex issue. At the very basic level you may be dealing with suppliers that who don't know the answers to my questions and can't provide the data because they are not capable of generating it.


In order to still do business with that supplier for the fact that in that particular region they are the only supplier available or you want to keep a certain depth in your sourcing so that you don't have interruption in your supply chain. There can be a lot of reasons why you would want to continue to do business with them, even if they can't provide the compliance assurance you are looking for, but the reality is that they don't have the information.

The next layer that makes it difficult is that even within a company this will cover a lot of different disciplines. It may be procurement, legal or EH&S. There are a lot of different people who have potential ownership or access to data. It becomes very difficult to share that data internally and ensure that you are not bombarding your suppliers with hundreds of different surveys from a single company, but also that the data is utilized by everybody in the company who needs it so that you can assure that it is a single source of the truth and that everyone is basing their information and actions off the same source of information.


Add the fact to this that every day this pile grows deeper, someone is adding a new regulation, a customer is adding a new requirement, you may be adding new products to your offering,  or you may be changing formulations so that you have different raw materials. There are so many moving parts in this equation that it makes it very difficult to provide compliance assurance, particularly when everyone is doing more with less from a resource standpoint and suffering under the burden of too much work for too few people. This certainly adds to the complexity of making sure you can say with confidence at the finished goods level that yes, through the supply chain and raw materials (all of the raw materials used in these finished goods) meet all of the criteria that I am concerned about and that my customers are concerned about.



What are the key qualities/considerations when a company is selecting a data service provider for obtaining and managing product data from suppliers?


One of the things which is nice is that there is an option to get a lot of outsourced help with this particular issue so that you are not necessarily required to do it all internally, especially when that can be a failing proposition. Look to people who are already providing you data in a manner that is reliable and robust. See how they can expand the services they are providing to you to be able to accomplish all of the various goals that you have from a supply chain compliance perspective.


In the case of 3e Company, they have historically been a compliance data provider. For example, they will say at a basic level that a particular chemical is on the California Prop 65 list, it is registered for a specific use  and under REACH it has this GHS classification in Japan. The company can then roll this up the product level and compliance information about a product. In order to broaden their scope of documentation that they are procuring from suppliers, or to be able to generate that information themselves, was an easy move because you have the infrastructure in place and have the expertise to be able to add a different line of documentation or different line of questioning to what they are already interacting and maintaining relationships with suppliers.


In 3e Company's case it made it a natural extension. In other cases you may have a trusted data provider that is giving you information in other areas and it is a good idea to try to work within those existing relationships to try and broaden the scope of data you are obtaining.


In a lot of cases the problem may be that the data supplier or the vendor you are procuring your materials from doesn't have the answers to the questions that you need. You would potentially work with your data provider to develop that information, whether it is a classification or some sort of compliance assurance.


Another issue to consider is confidential business information. In the current supply chain landscape suppliers can be customers, customers can be competitors, competitors can be suppliers. It becomes really sensitive where you want to provide transparency and you want transparency from your suppliers, but there is certainly the question of competitive information and being able to hold back confidential business information.


By working with a trusted provider such as 3e Company you can set up arrangements whereby they would receive confidential business information from your suppliers and they can push out more from you or push out compliance assurance without revealing the trade secrets you may have. You are providing transparency from a compliance standpoint without “giving away the farm”.



About Connie Prostko-Bell


connie prostko bell.jpgConnie is a Senior Solutions Manager with 3e Company. In this capacity she supports of variety of their products related to compliance at the product level, the company level, as well as the component level through use of their integrated content, tools and processes for generating compliance classifications and gathering compliance related data from suppliers and manufacturers. She has been in the environmental management and information systems space for most of her career of nearly 20 years. Her background is primarily from an environmental perspective but looking to IT as a means of achieving environmental objectives.


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I interviewed Cary Krosinsky who represents the company Trucost, a UK based environmental services provider in the US. Cary also teaches and writes about sustainability and investing, as sustainability has become a positive driver of value for all stakeholders.



Dustin: Why is sustainability now a global imperative for investors as well as in the corporate environments?


Cary: Our recent book 'Evolutions in Sustainable Investing' is a contemporary look at the space of sustainability and investing. Chapter one is the HBR (Harvard Business Review) piece on the sustainability imperative by David A. Lubin and Daniel C. Esty which makes a clear case for how sustainability has become the current mega trend, as IT was a generation ago.


Basically, we are in a world of diminishing resources, increasing population, dying seas, changing climate and rising sea levels. The inevitable outcome is either we find a way to innovate and be efficient to get out of this problem, or we are going into a crisis.


Either way business as usual is not possible. The only possible positive solution is a form which can come from the sustainability focus. Opportunities are already emerging and performance is already being seen by investors.


Dustin: How does this play out regionally?


Cary: Sustainability means something very different, depending on where you are, even by state. For example, 97% of the state of Indiana's energy needs are met by coal. To basically dictate to folks on a sub-regional basis that they need to make certain changes is actually much more complex than meets the eye.


In Asia, if you visit as I did last fall, you arrive and quickly see that the most important thing is trust, can you build trust with a company you want to do business with or invest in? How do you trust them? That is an essential component of sustainability – governance, trust and quality. Of course, the other two things that are also immediately apparent are the pollution issues.


Those three things: trust, risk and the opportunities that are emerging on the environmental space will differentiate winners and losers.


In Africa, for example, any investment could be considered a sustainable investment simply because you are helping an impoverished region provide to its people. We have certainly seen how cell phones have changed lifestyles. We are now at a record low global level of poverty, largely through technology.


In Canada and Australia things are different again from the United States and Europe. There are very different perspectives, even and France and Germany. Some of the more successful economies in the region such as France gets most of its power from nuclear while Germany has moved in the opposite direction. There are very different perspectives, depending on where you are.


Dustin: What are some examples of investors applying this successfully and unsuccessfully?


Cary: What we talk about as sustainable investing, actually in both of our books, the first book 'Sustainable Investing, The Art of Long Term Performance', is that it is important for investors to look at the positive opportunities that have emerged from environmental, social and governance issues. If you focus only on a negative approach those techniques have actually failed from a performance standpoint over time to differentiate from the mainstream benchmarks that they use.


As a result and as the negative approaches have dominated the assets under management of socially responsible investing, most people who are interested in the space – even experts like Jeremy Grantham don't understand the distinction because all they see is the negativity. Negativity fails because it is not only not outperforming benchmarks, it is also discouraging the mainstream from seeing the practical opportunities that are now emerging.


An example of a successful firm in this space would be Generation Investment Management. There is an excellent Harvard Business School case study on their approach. There is a chapter on them in our current book as well. They take a very systematic forward looking approach to companies they consider investing in we have seen which have met with success.


Generation Investment Management was an example of an investor taking this positive approach. Negative approaches are ones for example which take the mainstream index such as the S&P 500, subtract out alcohol, tobacco and firearms. It is an approach where it is a values based investment strategy. It represents roughly 90% of the socially responsible investing assets under management in the US. Those sorts of approaches don't out perform almost by design so most people don't understand there is actually a positive way forward looking at the companies that will innovate and through eco-efficiency find solutions and gain market share.


Dustin: What is ESG versus SRI? Can you define what those are and compare that to responsible investing?


Cary: ESG is an acronym which stands for Environment, Social and Corporate Governance typically, but also things like the quality of management. I also consider mainstream financial criteria as a sustainability factor. Basically, you need to have a valid business plan in order to be a sustainable company.


There are risks and opportunities emerging from environment, social and governance issues. These are large sets of criteria, hundreds of factors across ESG that need to be parsed through to decide which are important and which are not for investors. It is still something being debated and considered by anyone looking at these things.


SRI is Socially Responsible Investing. The other thing that is important and still hasn't taken full hold is that a parsed understanding of the various approaches to socially responsible investing. In fact, we reject the phrase “socially responsible investing” as too broad because it includes things like clean tech funds, negative screening, best in class, and the more positive sustainable investing practitioners like Generation. These are all folks doing very different things. If you look at it with a big umbrella you actually mashing a lot of different things together.


Basically, when you hear the phrase “responsible investing” that really means nothing to your values first and foremost. It may come with advocacy so that asset owners who try to get together to engage specifically with companies to try to change their behavior, which is fine. That is again another strategy. You can be a hands off investor investing in different companies with different weights for different reasons and you can choose to engage with the companies or not.


There are different categories and different approaches that funds fall into. There are different phrases which have emerged. The socially responsible investing is too broad a phrase for the field. Responsible investing tends to focus on those who look at values first, with value often being an afterthought or hoping to get value through better practice. Ethical investing is a phrase for the same thing.


Sustainable investing is a phrase which we use for the positive future oriented opportunities directed approach which the Generations and others of the world such as Sustainable Asset Management. There are also phrases such as Impact Investing which sometimes get used to paint a broad brush. Impact Investing really refers to projects so if you were looking to finance a wind project at a first nation community in Canada you will provide a community benefit, financial benefit and an environmental benefit. There is still great confusion in the terminology. It is one of the things we are trying to help resolve and clarify.


About Cary Krosinsky


Senior Vice President, North America


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Bryan Sheehan who discussed the importance of sustainable supply chains for small and mid-sized businesses. Bryan's background is in sustainability where he developed an expertise in this field over the last 10 or 12 years. His business is fairly emergent and growing where he focuses on the small to mid-sized businesses that are sometimes looking to do more with sustainability but may not feel they have the internal resources and as such are looking for external resources to help them accomplish their sustainability.



Supply chain sustainability trends for mid-sized and smaller businesses


For small and mid-sized businesses, sustainability in the supply chain is starting to become both a risk and business opportunity. The risk comes from the fact there is increasing pressure from a lot of their large supply chain partners, in other words their downstream customers. Examples such as Walmart and Procter & Gamble, IBM, Intel, the automotive industry and even the US government through its General Services Administration. They are starting to look at potential vendors for their sustainability practices. This is increasing scrutiny on the small and mid-sized players.


There are a number of upside opportunities as well. Firstly, it allows the competitive differentiation in terms of being prepared for sustainability related questions they get from their customers. It is being able to set yourself apart as being potentially chosen as a preferred vendor by your customers.


Finally, there is an opportunity to increase resource efficiency and save dollars and reduce waste by working collaboratively with supply chain partners on the upstream part.


Examples of situations mid-sized companies are facing


One example is a client of Symbiosis' which was given a 2 week notice to respond to a supplier sustainability survey from one or their mid-sized customers. It was very clear this customer had received pressure from one of its customers. It was “backing up the chain” and they were requested to put together a very short notice response about question such as 1. Do you have an environmental policy?, 2. Do you have an environmental management system in place?, 3. Is it ISO14001 certified?, 4. What are your situations with waste, energy, water and your impacts on those areas?, 5. What commitments have you made to reducing those and what actions have you taken to reduce them? 6. What have your results been?, 7. What are you doing about employee safety?, and 8. Are you reporting all of these different things publicly?


This client was very much ahead of the competition on a lot of these things. However, because they were a smaller player they hadn't really formalized a lot of them into a documented process so they still felt a little under the gun, even though they were ahead of the game.


Since then they have made the determination to formalize some of those things into an environmental management system. This is happening more widely. Increasingly, small to mid-sized businesses are starting to feel the pressure from their larger customers.


There are also other events happening such as Apple and the Foxconn controversy about workplace conditions and similar issues other companies have faced such as Nike and Gap. This is making the larger companies look back to their supply chain so that they don't get surprised by something that is being done by a vendor of theirs.


Finally, these days we are seeing things such as increased issues around “conflict minerals” such as gold etc that are being mined in areas of human rights abuses. It involves rare earth metals coming out of countries that are difficult to deal with and being willing to deal with the environmental impact of those products. However, companies don't want to be surprised by what is happening in their supply chain with how and where these materials are coming from. There is increased pressure on the small and midsized partners in the supply chain.


What should small and mid-sized companies do to best prepare based on these trends and developments?


On the downside risk portion you really want to be aware of the potential for lost revenues it may cost you either from lost business with existing customers or lost revenue opportunities for new customers. It also involves to cost to comply with any compliance needs these customers might put on you, possible on short notice.


The reason for this is that there may be a little bit of investment and time and maybe even external assistance to help you put these things into place. Often that investment will pale in comparison to the benefit you get and the cost you avoid. You will really want to know your downside risk. Also, you will want to know which of your customers will be more sensitive to this than others.


For example, 1. If you have customers that have an environmental management system in place or 2. If they currently report to the carbon disclosure project, 3. If they already publish a sustainability report, 4. If they are publicly traded or if they do or want to do business with someone who is publicly traded, 5. If they do businesses with, want to do business with or are even a part of federal, state or local government, 6. If they have had negative PR for sustainability issues, or 7. If they are highly visible or customer interactive such as a hospitality business which people know have a big footprint.


All of these kinds of things can indicate that you might have customers that are more sensitive to these kinds of issues. The more sensitive your customers are to these issues, the more prepared you want to be.


On the upside, to be prepared you can look for those upstream and downstream opportunities, both with your customers and supply chain partners. Find the mutual strategic benefit. For example, a company like Patagonia which is a mid-sized clothing manufacturer has found ways to involve all of its industry in sourcing organic cotton at a higher level.


This not only increases the environmental sustainability of that industry, but it is also helping to reduce the cost of organic cotton because it is making more economies of scale for the growers, a greater supply and therefore costs are coming down which is an advantage to Patagonia itself. There are other examples like this where there is mutual benefit by being a little more proactive and finding that mutual benefit.

If you are going to requesting your supply chain partners to be more sustainable, you also want to make sure you are doing the right things as well so that you have the credibility. You also want to collaborate and communicate openly with your supply chain partners so that it is a mutual back and forth opportunity to help each other succeed by sharing best practices, etc.


You will find that both companies will benefit in terms of both the sustainability and efficiency aspects and also the collaboration and increasing the strength of that partnership.


About Bryan Sheehan



Bryan Sheehan is the founder and President of a company called Symbiosis Sustainability Consulting. The company focuses on helping small and mid-sized businesses to increase their competitive advantage and profitability by reducing their environmental impacts and increasing their organizational sustainability. They help companies to address their impacts through assessing what their impacts are today, understanding where they would like to go with their sustainability, putting plans in place and implementing those plans, measuring results and if needed reporting internally or communicating the results externally. Symbiosis tries to work with companies of various sizes and industries.


LinkedIn Profile

I interviewed Jack De Bokx, Senior Director Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability at Janssen Pharmaceutica who discussed his views on a holistic approach to business.




SustainNext EU Summit


Johnson & Johnson is part of the Sustainability Collaborative, which is organizing the SustainNext Conference. They see sustainability as currently focusing too heavily on just environment or some of the social responsibility aspects. Within the Sustainability Collaborative they feel that they should look much more into sustainability in a holistic approach. They call this Universal Sustainability.


It is basically looking at sustainability across the whole life cycle of activities. This includes a lot of elements such as everything around agriculture and food, education, and basically the whole approach towards sustainability. As a society it is not just about taking care of the environment because this doesn't provide us with enough resources lead a life and we need to question that approach.


Within Universal Sustainability they believe this holistic approach can provide for a future where we find the right balance between all of these elements which actually play a part in our future.


Expected Achievements


The main achievement will be to ensure that people start to understand what Universal Sustainability is about so that in any of the future activities take this into account. It is expected there will be people who are actually engaged with any of the future strategies of the organizations that they work in, whether government, education, or industry.


If they can take the idea around universal sustainability within developing those strategies it may indeed lead to a more sustainable future for all of us.


Notable Speakers


Jack is coordinating the healthcare section. When he started talking about this, keeping in mind the concept of Universal Sustainability, he asked what is really important. He asked whether they should just focus on industry or governmental organizations. Jack came to the conclusion that it is important to ask what is really important in terms of Universal Sustainability.


Obviously, education is important because this is where we ensure our children are the people who are educated. People learn about what is important in life through education. Through education they learn about what sustainability is.


Obviously, people also need to eat. Therefore, agriculture and food is also important. We all know that the world population is growing quite massively and if we continue to have agriculture as we do today we probably won't be able to feed the world.


There is a massive increase in organic food, but will this help us realize a more sustainable future? We are not sure. This is something we need to talk about as well.


The use of energy, mobility and transportation is important; specifically in the current society we live in.


Healthcare – we all know we have a massive issue around healthcare currently. There may be an underinvestment in healthcare. There are problems which exist in developing countries. There may be an over investment in illnesses which arise in our developed countries. The costs are also going up massively.  From a healthcare perspective this is quite an interesting area from a Universal Sustainability point of view.


Specific pathways will be looked into. How can we provide a healthcare environment where we can provide healthcare for all – both developed and undeveloped countries, in a way that makes sense and which is cost effective?


Diabetes is an example. A massive percentage of our population is actually obese, at least in the developed countries. Quite often if overweight people become obese they will also develop Type B Diabetes. This is become a real problem.


There are a number of ways to tackle this problem. One is to provide these people with medicine or insulin. This would basically be managing the disease, which is quite costly. It does not change the lifestyle of these people.


If we talk about a pathway then we talk about healthcare where we look into opportunities to avoid a certain illness. There can be various ways of doing that. It could be collaborating with the food organizations. This is really where Universal Sustainability comes into play.


Should we provide information and opportunities for people to nurture themselves so that they don't become overweight or obese and develop that specific illness? What can the healthcare industry itself do to avoid a certain pathway of an illness which develops into a disease which is only curable by highly costly medicines?


Confirmed Speakers


Jane Griffiths, Ph.D., is the first female Company Group Chairman of Janssen in EMEA, the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson. She is an example of how as a company group chairman you can bring sustainability within the strategy of your organization, looking at prevention rather than cure.  This is quite a dramatic step for a pharmaceutical organization. Looking into opportunities such as home care is more beneficial for a customer than hospital care, regardless of what the impact will be to the organization providing these medicines.


The conference organizers all also looking into getting some speakers from governmental organizations who are managing procurement for their organizations because they have a huge issue as well. On one hand they get a push to reduce carbon footprints, environmental impact, and they also have to keep their budgets into account. They also need to work with industry to make sure to continue to provide healthcare in a more sustainable way.


Jack De Bokx is originally from the Netherlands and currently lives in the UK. He started his career with various big industries and took a position with Johnson & Johnson 12 years ago in the area of Environmental Health & Safety. Currently, Jack is responsible for the environmental health and safety activities over enterprises within Europe, Middle East and Africa. He is also actively engaged with all of the sustainability activities and strategies of all of Johnson & Johnson's franchises. He is basically focusing on what is happening in Europe and is engaged with a lot of the initiatives out of Brussels.


Jack De Bokx

Senior Director Environmental, Health, Safety and Sustainability

Regional Lead EMEA

Janssen Pharmaceutica

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I interviewed Robert Lattimer who discussed the upcoming summit on Universal Sustainability: Engaging Business Education Towards a Sustainable Future.The upcoming summit will focus on Universal Sustainability and will be conducted October 11 & 12 in Dublin, Ireland. It will be housed at Dublin City University at the Helix. Thought leaders will be convened from major centers of the world to focus on issues pertaining to best practices to the green economy, the 21st century global society, education and sustainability, and other related issues.



Drivers for the event


The drivers center around how to develop new best practices around sustainability, universal sustainability, development of new thought leadership and next generation leadership around sustainability.


Universal Sustainability and its role at the event


Universal Sustainability is the next generation of thought regarding sustainability. It is a more comprehensive and integrative approach to the issue of sustainability, whereas sustainability has a primary focus around the economy, conservation and preservation. Universal Sustainability on the other hand, has more of a focus on the economy, science and technology, the environment, education, as well as the 21st century global society.


What will be achieved at the event?


As a result of the thought leaders that will be presenting key note addresses and other presentations they will be presenting the next generation of thought around sustainability. The current best practices around sustainability and the current and future state regarding universal sustainability will be discussed.

This will be a summit that is leading edge, intellectually stimulating, as well as providing an operational framework and best practices around sustainability and universal sustainability.

Who will be speaking and why should I attend?


The speakers will be key thought leaders from organizations such as Johnson & Johnson. One of the group presidents from Johnson & Johnson, Dr. Jane Griffiths will be a key note speaker. Jane Griffiths, Ph.D., is the first female Company Group Chairman of  Janssen in EMEA, the pharmaceutical companies of Johnson & Johnson. Bob Lattimer will also be fortunate enough to providing a key note address as well.


Key note speakers will be coming from the United Kingdom, United States, Dublin, Ireland and more. Ann-Lee Jeffs and Jack De Bokx from Johnson & Johnson and Pier McDonagh from Dublin City University will be among those attending.


Event Details



A SUMMIT AT DCU, Dublin, Ireland HELIX October 11 & 12, 2012

Showcasing best practices for the green economy

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I interviewed Lawrence Heim who discused conflict minerals and their relevance to supply chains.Lawrence has almost 30 years of experience doing environmental management and sustainability management, including auditing. He is also a certified professional environmental auditor through a third party organization in the US.



What are conflict minerals?


confict_minerals.pngConflict minerals, as they are defined by US law, section 1502 of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act currently includes 4 metals: tin, tantalum, tungsten, and gold. There is a provision to expand that, but currently the focus is these 4 materials and the ores from which they are derived. Tin is certainly ubiquitous in products of electronics. It is a main component of solder for example. It is certainly an element in packaging materials, whether it be tin cans, or even certain foils.


It is also perhaps a little less obvious as a chemical formulant in a number of products. For example, there are certain plastics in PVC insulation of wires. Even the fluoride in toothpaste contains a tin based material.


Tantalum is more of a specialty material, perhaps most commonly known in capacitors. Tungsten is a metal know for its hardness used in many types of metal working tools as a carbide form, tungsten carbide.


And we all know about gold.


Current developments in conflict minerals and their relevance to supply chains


The law itself in the US impacts the entire supply chain in terms of requiring a traceability process. For publicly traded companies that traceability process must be audited and included in SEC filings. As the law states the traceability of these materials must go all the way back to the mine of origin. That is a pretty tall order to go all the way through your supply chain to identify what products and materials you have which contain these conflict minerals. They are otherwise known as 3TG.


Once you have identified what materials or products contain 3TG, you then need to trace it back to the mine of origin. That is quite a difficult traceability effort. Under the law it is not just those companies who directly manufacture the products. The law itself also specifies contract manufacturers as well.


If you have materials or products made for you and if you are substantially involved in specifying design or content of those products, you are treated exactly the same under US law as the manufacturers themselves.


Who should be concerned and who is impacted?


correlationchart_green_supply_chain.pngThe entire global supply chain of all of these minerals, the ores as well as the final products. The traceability and due diligence process does require participation from all actors across the entire supply chain. While the law itself is only directly applicable to publicly traded companies in the US, as well as certain foreign companies doing business in the US, the reality is that it flows all the way through the entire supply base for those companies.


Even small, privately held companies will be put in the situation through their customer relationships and contractual requirements to support these efforts their customers are undertaking.


Why should supply chain executives care?


For the most part it is the supply chain function in the organizations which will be either directly tasked with implementing these procedures, or at the very least overseeing the implementation and monitoring continuous compliance – the traceability and due diligence processes. Just because the nature of this law being a supply chain process, supply chain professionals and the functions and departments within companies are simply going to be the face of the issue.


About Lawrence Heim



Senior Leadership in EHS/Environmental Auditing, Conflict Minerals and Sustainability


LinkedIn Profile


The Elm Consulting Group International was founded in 2001. They focus  on environmental health, safety and sustainability program development,  implementation and audit programs. They focus on independence relative  to all of their work, including and especially audit programs. The  company works very carefully to maintain that independence.

I interviewed Andrew Deitz who discussed the challenges supply chain executives face in reporting their supply chain environmental footprint. Andrew's company Climate Earth holds a core value of building a business-friendly system for assessing  environmental impacts of an entire company and it's supply chain, all in  a financial context. This approach takes an executive view and establishes what matters most by looking at the whole picture so you can set priorities accordingly. It also conforms to the new GHG Protocol Scope 3 Standard, which they helped to create.


Climate Earth was founded to have a focus on big data and the science and environment of measuring that with LCA. Climate Earth also ensures the system is transparent and traceable.



GHG Protocol Scope 3 Standards, what are they?


Graphic_Green_Supply_Chain2.pngAndrew was very excited to have the honor to work with WRI (World Resource Institute) in their development of Scope 3 Standards. His company was one of twenty which helped test the standard. They are seeing a lot of market activity. The standard was released in January of 2011. Companies are now really beginning to focus on how they will talk about and report their supply chain footprint, according to various global reporting indexes and reporting bodies.


Andrew thinks the standard is great because now everyone can apply by the same rules. It does a good job making sure everything is accounted for. Now once you have data you can start to make it more intelligent and inform your business.


From the supply chain perspective Andrew has seen that for most companies 70-95% of their Carbon footprint resides in the corporate value chain. In order to have the ability to make decisions, whether managing risk or improving the bottom or top line, the supply chain executive requires the ability to understand what is going on in the supply chain.


It is very challenging for executives. The market is still a little cloudy. There are a lot of words and various terminology and a lot of people fighting for visibility. The other challenge is that it is still not necessarily a purely linear equation. When you deal with energy such as changing a light bulb there is an ROI on how you change that light bulb. We are not at a point where it is that linear.

You need executives that are willing to embrace a more complex problem and have a more complex conversation regarding how you will use the information about your supply chain to inform your business decisions. You also need to know what tools, strategy and support you need behind all of this.



Fortune 500 executives are beginning to grab that challenge and we are beginning to see companies that will clearly differentiate themselves certainly over the next 3 years and even this calendar year.


Andrew thinks this could be a very interesting year. He is seeing the prices of resources beginning to move up, at least with gas prices. There has been a pretty dry winter in the West. Texas has had a drought. Resources such as oil and water are certainly becoming more expensive.


How will this ripple through your supply chain from a cost perspective? If you have visibility on how much oil or water is actually consumed when you move across the supply chain, as well as how scarce that resource is, you have a much better w ay to deal with how you think about your products, what you sell and who you sell to.




We are at a pivotal point where we are seeing market drivers such as the cost of resources continue to go up. This is about resource utilization and carbon is one indicator for that. There are also other indicators. Andrew hopes to see companies buying based on more than just cost, quality and consistency of supply, but rather they are adding environment to that buying decision. As they do that they will begin to see a more linear return on investment for their top and bottom line.


About Andrew Deitz




Andrew Deitz is the founder of Climate Earth. He started his career at  Oak Ridge National Laboratories in Silicon Valley and was helping high growth companies in the tech space through the 1990s. Most of his  philanthropic work was with the environment. As he saw companies were having trouble making decisions using the environment as a factor he began to look for what solutions might be out there. Andrew really  thought about what technologies could be applied to it. It is about big data, LCA (Life Cycle Analysis), measuring the environment and integrating it into a language which would be the financials for their company.



Board Member at Climate Earth

LinkedIn Profile




Climate Earth provides environmental business intelligence systems--complete  assessment bundles of footprint calculations, interactive web analytics  and support services. Our systems calculate environmental impacts for  the full life cycle of a building, including materials, construction and  the use-phase. We also offer systems for corporate and supply chain  footprints, procurement and product assessments, supplier rankings, and  LCA data to support prioritization and strategic decisions. Clients can  view impact totals (carbon, water, toxics, waste and energy),  intensities (impact per dollar) and see how they are allocated to  suppliers, cost centers, materials, managers, products--virtually any  roll-up of organizational and financial structures. Results are  delivered via a secure web analytics portal.

About Dustin Mattison

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