determined stance over LAS that Procter & Gamble has decided to stop marketing detergents with the surfactant in that country. It is not good for the image of its brands for the company to be seen to be opposing local authorities, even though research indicates that LAS is more biodegradable than the alternatives ( Chemical Market Reporter , 2001). BP looks at the challenge of sustainable development as a business opportunity. ‘There are good commercial reasons for being ahead of the pack when it comes to environmental issues’, says John Browne, BP’s former Chief Executive. Business can play a leadership role in changes, with change driven through market innovation being easiest for our society to understand. The challenge is to develop sustainable business that is compatible with the current economic reality. Dell, Sun Microsystems and Cisco Systems have all identified supply chains as strategic differentiators, using them to forecast and plan future products and services by building trusting relationships through collaboration. As supply chains evolve from linear supplier–customer links to dynamic networking organizations,
258 Global logistics all members become involved in defining the processes and contributing to the value of the finished product or service. Innovative business models and products must work financially, or it will not matter how good they are ecologically or socially. CONCLUSION This chapter has shown that the pressures to be a more sustainable com- pany in terms of the environment, economics and social responsibility are increasing. It has also shown that many companies have already started on the long road to sustainable development, some with huge success. Sustainable development is here to stay as a customer requirement, and the processes of supply chain management are ideally placed to respond to that requirement. However, meeting customer and market expectations, improving market access and increasing cost savings represent baseline expectations and are important simply to environmentally responsible companies remaining competitive. Control of the social and environmental aspects of supply chains will lead to better understanding of the supply chain as a whole. This in turn can lead to cost savings and better relation- ships between partners. There are many challenges for the supply chain in the WEEE legislation in Europe. For some operators, little will change; for others, there will be a complete sea change. There are opportunities in data management, traceability and assurance, and in the potential development of interim sorting centres or platforms, for retailers and producers. The division of responsibility and accurate reporting is a challenge for members of specific product supply chains. Those parts of the supply chain that can respond to sustainability issues such as WEEE will generally be more proactive and able to meet changing customer requirements and market forces. By taking sustainability one step at a time – early in business
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