In the last decade, many companies have developed sustainability programs to address challenges of energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions, reducing waste and product sourcing. Many companies have also discovered significant benefits in integrating their environmental sustainability and Environmental Health and Safety (EHS) programs.
As one unified program, the EHS/Sustainability role has evolved from a pure risk management function to that of a strategic partner, helping to increase revenue, save money and manage risk more effectively. Today’s EHS/Sustainability professional drives operational efficiency and productivity throughout the entire value chain―from product ideation to delivery and end of life.
As customers seek an ever smaller environmental footprint for the products they procure, they demand less packaging, paperless literature, less toxicity, product end-of-life solutions, and look for suppliers that are good stewards of the environment. In addressing these customer demands, an effective EHS/Sustainability function helps increase revenue and a company’s competitive advantage.
In the coming decade, EHS/Sustainability professionals will actively develop solutions for reuse, recovery and recycling of products at end of life―the “removal chain” in a closed-loop system. While getting products to the customer is an important focus of any supply chain, manufacturers are under increasing pressure to take responsibility for the whole lifecycle of their products. Once considered waste destined to landfills, products that have reached their end of life are increasingly viewed as an asset to be upcycled and introduced back in the value chain. The future belongs to innovators who design solutions that “close the loop” in the supply chain.