Global consumer packaged-goods giant Procter & Gamble introduced its new Supplier Environmental Sustainability Scorecard last Wednesday. Meant to measure and improve the eco performance of P&G’s key suppliers (such as you packaging converters out there), the new scorecard will assess your environmental footprint and “encourage continued improvement” by measuring your company’s energy and water use, waste disposal and greenhouse-gas emissions on a year-over-year basis. The annual scorecard deadline for current participating suppliers is July 1.
In presentation PowerPoints, P&G says it defines “sustainability” broadly to mean environmental AND social responsibility. “It’s not just about ‘green’ products tied to a current consumer movement, but a systemic approach covering our total supply chain, from raw materials to manufacturing processes to the consumer,” the company says. “And, importantly, sustainability efforts must be tied to the bottom line.”
P&G wants sustainability “integrated into the rhythm” of its business, providing benefits via “bottom-line cost reductions as a result of literally thousands of innovative efforts.” Saying its suppliers are key sources of materials, packaging, systems, services and ideas, P&G will, on the environmental front, collaborate closely with suppliers across the entire supply chain.
My Thoughts: Unlike Walmart’s much-ballyhooed (and maligned) Sustainability Scorecard, P&G seems to be taking a decidedly “positive reinforcement” approach: Let’s work together for the betterment of us all versus Be prepared to have your products dropped if you don’t meet standards.
The other important thing to note: Responsibility is moving up the supply chain—whether you like it or not. Okay, first it was a retailer (Walmart) demanding eco standards; now it’s perhaps the biggest CPG maker in the world (P&G) expecting its suppliers of every stripe to “put their sustainability talk in writing.”
Won’t it soon be time for you to do the same? As a package printer and converter, it now makes even more sense to require YOUR suppliers to put up or shut up sustainability-wise. And that means more than sending you Triple Chain-of-Custody certification for paperboard. What about plastic film and inks and adhesives? What about the energy ratings for the printing presses, laminators and slitters you run? What about the eco habits of the incoming truckers and the outgoing shippers?
One thing’s for sure: There’s a lot of work to do.