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How to contribute to sustainability objectives

By Supply Chain Control Towers / 4PLs

Companies today have overall sustainability goals and supply chain managers are asked to develop strategies and plans to contribute to related objectives. If a business runs a Supply Chain Control Tower and/or has outsourced this function to a 4PL, this entity will play a critical role in achieving these often-ambitious sustainability objectives.

To support this contribution, the service offering, processes, and systems of a Supply Chain Control Tower need to be optimised in 4 different areas.

KPI overview

Definition and monitoring of environmental impact KPI's

  • Materials Used (Weight or Volume)

  • Energy Consumed (Joules, Watt-hours or Multiples) 

  • Water Volume Withdrawn (Gallons, Liters or Multiples) 

  • Air Emissions (Metric Tons or Equivalents)

  • Liquid and Solid Wastes (Gallons, Liters or Multiples, Weight or Volume)

Supply chain design also based on sustainability considerations

Design of the supply chain, transport and packaging materials and procurement of suppliers based on contribution to cost reduction, service improvement and sustainability objectives

Sustainability elements of Supply Chain Control Towers
Processes overview

Optimisation of operational processes

  • Include the environmental impact in network design

  • Select and manage providers also based on the environmental KPI's

  • More focus on dynamic transport planning 

  • Include environmental KPIs in performance reporting

Modification of systems to collect, use and analyse sustainability data

Data collection and storage

  • Collect data for each shipment regarding the energy consumption and GHG emission

  • Collect periodical data from each vendor/provider regarding the environmental impact KPI’s

SC/network design 

  • Include the impact on environmental impact KPIs in the definition and analysis of scenarios

Transport planning

  • Include impact on GHG emissions in transport mode and carrier selection functionality

  • Optimize use of dynamic transport planning functionality for shipment consolidation, load design and trip planning

Execution management 

  • Include the environmental impact in decisions about corrective actions


  • Analyse the actuals regarding environmental impact KPIs and initiate where needed continuous improvement actions based on these insights


  • Reporting of the environmental impact KPI’s on the different levels: supply chain overall, sub-contractors, vendors and 4PL

  • Break down of these KPIs by flow, contractor and/or vendor

Systems overview
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