Hitting Supply Chain ESG & Sustainability Goals in 2024: The Critical Role of Trackers & Visibility

December 19, 2023

July 2, 2024


x min read

If you still need to be convinced about the impact of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards in business, consider the case of Boohoo. The UK fashion retailer's market value plunged by $1.5 billion in just two days in July 2020 following revelations of poor working conditions.

That's just one example. While not every incident is as dramatic as this fall from grace, it reveals something crucial: people care about ESG standards, and transparency and accountability are undeniably important in supply chain management. In this context, the role of real-time visibility and tracking solutions becomes critical. Yet a striking disconnect exists: despite 77% of supply chain decision makers acknowledging the necessity of such technologies, only 25% have actually implemented them. So, how can your organization bridge this gap and effectively hit supply chain ESG and sustainability goals in 2024?

The Global Drivers of Supply Chain Sustainability

As we unpack the dynamics transforming the world of supply chain management, it's vital to understand the drivers propelling the shift towards sustainability.  

Three Forces Shaping Supply Chain Sustainability

Three pivotal forces are driving the intensifying push for supply chain sustainability:

  1. Consumer demand: A significant shift is occurring in consumer behavior, with Nielsen reporting that nearly half of U.S. consumers are prepared to change their shopping habits to support environmental benefits. Further highlighted in a McKinsey podcast, this trend positions consumer preference for sustainable products as a primary catalyst for change.
  2. Investor pressure: Investors are increasingly prioritizing companies that tackle climate change and sustainability. According to a PwC survey, 86% of executives link their supply chain strategies directly to their ESG goals—and 79% have seen benefits in their supply chains from ESG-related digital investments.
  3. Global policies: Emphasizing the urgency, the United Nations warns of a closing window to prevent climate disaster. Remarkably, eight key industry supply chains contribute over 50% of global greenhouse emissions. Governments are also stepping up, targeting issues such as single-use plastics and unfair labor practices in supply chains.

Emerging Trends in ESG & Sustainability for 2024

Adding further context to these three forces, several key trends and strategies in supply chain technology and ESG are shaping the future of business operations as we approach 2024. Here's an overview:

  • Automation and data-driven insights: Expect a surge in automated supply chain operations, with 27% of decision-makers in sectors like manufacturing and logistics planning full automation by 2024. This shift promises enhanced efficiency and reduced errors.
  • Predictive analytics: The use of predictive analytics in supply chain management is growing, enabling organizations to address future challenges and opportunities proactively.
  • Carbon footprint reduction: More companies are adopting eco-friendly practices and fair supplier relationships, with a strong focus on reducing carbon emissions in their supply chains.
  • Resource optimization: Recent industry trends indicate an increased emphasis on maximizing resources and streamlining processes. For example, one AI platform reduced infrastructure management effort by 65% to 85%.
  • Waste reduction: Strategies to cut down waste are gaining momentum, with daily per capita waste generation in high-income countries projected to increase by 19% by 2050. Currently, the world produces 2.01 billion tons of municipal solid waste annually, with 33% not managed in an environmentally safe manner. Efforts include composting and using recycled materials.
  • Ethical sourcing: Ethical sourcing—involving responsible and sustainable procurement practices—is now a priority. Post-pandemic, 88% of global consumers preferred companies with ethical sourcing strategies compared to 78% pre-pandemic. 83% of global consumers are also willing to pay more for ethically sourced products.
  • Compliance: Compliance is emerging as a key trend due to stricter regulations and a focus on sustainability. Compliance can help mitigate risks and provide a competitive edge with advanced technology—for better monitoring and reporting.

The Growing Importance of Real-Time Tracking & Monitoring

Thanks to real-time tracking and monitoring, we're witnessing a revolutionary transformation in how businesses handle logistics and supply chain management. This evolution isn't just about keeping up with the times; it's about ensuring quality, slashing waste, and fine-tuning operations to a T.

How Real-Time Tracking Makes a Difference

Real-time tracking is like a guardian angel for your supply chain, providing continuous updates on your products' whereabouts. This solution transcends mere monitoring; real-time visibility is a strategic tool for enhancing operations, minimizing waste, and cutting costs. As highlighted in Tive's insights on logistics sustainability in 2023, real-time tracking is vital for sustaining an efficient and eco-friendly supply chain.

Data Analytics & Blockchain: Beyond Simply Tracking

For industries dealing with high-value goods and pharmaceuticals—where precision is key—data analytics and blockchain are not just tools… they are revolutionary. Data analytics empowers companies with deep operational insights, facilitating smarter, real-time decisions and forward-thinking strategies. Blockchain brings a layer of security and transparency, acting as a digital seal of trust—which is especially vital in pharmaceuticals for ensuring safety and authenticity. Together, they redefine standards, assuring quality and integrity at every step.

Supply Chain KPIs & Their Impact on Sustainability

Sustainability is now a key focus in supply chain management, underscored by vital Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). These KPIs go beyond tracking delivery times, inventory management, and supplier performance; they also shed light on the environmental impact of these operations—paving the way for substantial sustainability enhancements:

  • Delivery times: This KPI, indicating the percentage of on-time deliveries, highlights logistic and transportation efficiency. Improving delivery times can lead to greener transport methods, optimized routes, and reduced emissions.
  • Inventory management: This involves keeping the inventory-to-sales ratio lean—to minimize excess stock. Effective management means less waste and resource use, aligning production and ordering with actual demand.
  • Supplier performance: Evaluating suppliers on timeliness, quality, and cost, this KPI helps choose those companies committed to sustainable practices, fostering a more eco-friendly supply chain.

Additionally, using data analytics to predict and set realistic emission reduction goals—and integrating these KPIs into a comprehensive dashboard with SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound) goals—can significantly boost the effectiveness of sustainability efforts in supply chains.

Practical Implementation of Sustainable Supply Chain Initiatives

Implementing sustainable supply chain initiatives is all about blending business with environmental mindfulness. It's a fresh, proactive approach—turning today's challenges into long-term wins for our planet and our society.

Adopting Circular Supply Chain Practices & Minimizing Fuel Consumption

Circular supply chain practices focus on recycling and reusing products in manufacturing to balance inputs and outputs, significantly reducing waste. At the same time, a sharp focus on reducing fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is vital. For instance, heavy-duty trucks—which account for 57% of the industry's emissions—often travel 40% of the time without cargo. Armed with shipment tracking technologies, companies are smartly reducing these 'empty miles,' leading to lower costs and fewer emissions.  

Engaging Suppliers & Leveraging Real-Time Shipment Visibility

Engaging suppliers effectively involves using conduct codes and sustainability toolkits for better accountability and lasting impact. Real-time shipment visibility is key—offering insights into upstream and downstream supply chain activities. It’s also game-changing technology that aids informed decision-making while reducing carbon emissions. For instance, identifying warehouse bottlenecks can address issues such as detention and dwell times—impacting profitability and emissions.  

Tive's Vision for the Future of Sustainable Supply Chains

Tive is at the forefront of revolutionizing sustainable supply chains through technological innovation and commitment to ESG initiatives. Tive’s vision intertwines the power of real-time visibility, digital technologies, and collaborative platforms—to drive efficiency, reduce waste, and promote a sustainable logistics ecosystem.

Leveraging Technology for Sustainable Logistics

Tive's approach to sustainable logistics is deeply rooted in advanced technologies. By deploying real-time tracking solutions, Tive enables companies to monitor the location, temperature, humidity, shock, and light of goods in transit—using global cellular, WiFi, and GPS technology. This capability is crucial in making data-driven decisions that optimize supply chain operations, enhancing efficiency and reducing waste. Tive’s technology portfolio includes single-use trackers as well as multi-use trackers that can be refurbished and repurposed to align with environmental sustainability goals.

The Green Program: A Step Towards Circular Economy

Tive's Green Program seamlessly blends environmental responsibility with convenience, offering a simple yet impactful way to recycle and refurbish trackers. This initiative removes the hassle for customers by providing pre-paid postage for returning any number of Tive trackers—encouraging widespread participation in sustainable practices. It's not just about preventing the risks associated with improper battery disposal; it's also about incentivizing eco-friendly actions. Tive's approach rewards participants with potential cash incentives, striking a balance between doing good for the planet and receiving tangible benefits.

Case Study: Super Starr International's Sustainable Success with Tive

Super Starr International, a leader in sustainability and fair trade practices for their high-quality papayas and melons grown in Mexico's Colima region, experienced a significant transformation by using Tive Solo 5G trackers. Facing the critical need for strict temperature control to preserve fruit quality and shelf life, they turned to Tive technology, moving beyond traditional methods to meet the growing demand for fresh fruit and comply with stringent regulations. The adoption of these trackers enhances traceability and transparency, expands their commitment to fair trade-certified produce, and leads to tangible improvements:

  • Improved product quality: By ensuring temperature control throughout transit, Solo 5G trackers help maintain the high quality of Super Starr’s fruits, directly impacting sales and profits.
  • Increased load efficiency: Super Starr ships 25-30 loads of papayas weekly—and up to 40 loads during peak melon season in January and February. Tive trackers helped reduce “hot loads,” which translates to fewer load rejections.
  • Enhanced communication and accountability: Tive facilitates better management and communication, ensuring that Super Starr customers receive products in peak condition.

Achieving ESG Excellence: The Tive Way

Trackers and visibility technology are pivotal to accomplishing ESG and sustainability goals in supply chain management. These tools offer more than just data; they provide actionable insights that drive substantial improvements in operational efficiency and environmental stewardship.

As the supply chain landscape continues to evolve, innovative solutions from Tive position companies to not only keep pace—but to lead the way toward sustainable practices. By integrating Tive technology and trackers, businesses can expect a significant leap towards meeting sustainability targets, ensuring compliance, and enhancing customer satisfaction.

Ready to transform your supply chain for a sustainable future? Get started with Tive, and make sustainability a cornerstone of your supply chain strategy.

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