Reports explore impact on environment

For the London Free Press - February 22, 2010 Read this on Canoe

Industry Canada recently released four reports which explore the environmental impact of product design and supply chains. They enable businesses to understand current trends and recognize the benefits of adopting new and more environmentally friendly practices.

The reports are relevant to any business that designs or manufactures products, or is involved in shipping them to retailers or consumers. They are available on the Industry Canada website at www.ic.gc.ca

The first report - Design for the Environment: Innovating to Complete – was prepared by Industry Canada in partnership with Design Exchange and Manufacturers and Exporters to review the concept of Design for Environment. According to this report, the analysis “is intended to help Canadian product design makers understand current trends and recognize the advantages of adopting Design for Environment practices to improve business competitiveness”.

A key finding is that "firms are using several Design for Environment strategies including: design for resource and emission efficiency; design for recyclability, disassembly, and environmentally friendly disposal; and design for reduced packaging". At the same time, however, small and medium scale businesses may lack the knowledge and resources to implement the Design for Environment strategies and are less aware of the business benefits. This report may help those businesses.

The second report -- Green Supply Chain Management: Retail Chains & Consumer Product Goods -- was prepared by Industry Canada in partnership with Supply Chain and Logistics Association Canada and Retail Council of Canada. It explores the concept of Green Supply Chain Management (GSCM), which "is becoming increasingly important for Canadian retail chains and consumer product goods (CPG) business partners".

One of the key findings is that "many retail chains and CPG manufacturers are seeing improvements in energy usage, waste reduction, packaging reduction, and greenhouse gas emissions in distribution activities". This report is beneficial to those in the Canadian retail and consumer products supply chain.

The third report - Green Supply Chain Management: Manufacturing - was prepared by Industry Canada in partnership with Supply Chain and Logistics Association Canada and Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters. It explores the trends and the benefits associated with adopting GSCM practices in distribution activities and is geared towards Canadian manufacturing supply chain executives.

One of the key findings is that "the reduction of energy consumption and lowered greenhouse gas emissions in distribution activities are the two main environmental improvements arising from the adoption of GSCM practices". It is noted that "since many GSCM practices require limited investment, are low-risk, and offer short-term return-on-investment periods, businesses of all sizes are able to engage in these activities".

The fourth report - Green Supply Chain Management: Logistics & Transportation Services - was prepared by Industry Canada and Supply Chain & Logistics Association Canada. This report "provides unique insights to help Canadian logistics and transportation services executives understand the current trends and to recognize the benefits of adopting GSCM practices".

One of the key findings is "most logistics and transportation service providers implementing GSCM practices see improvements in energy reduction, waste reduction, and reduced packaging in distribution activities".