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What Are the Three Elements of Supply Chain Sustainability?

April 27, 2022 Kevin Baxter

People Planet Profit

Supply chain sustainability can mean different things to different people, but managing a sustainable supply chain involves accounting for three core elements, also known as the three Ps:

  • People - employee, customer and partner treatment, plus human rights considerations
  • Planet - impact on the environment
  • Profit - long-term financial viability

In other words, supply chain sustainability considers social, economic and environmental factors. These elements make up the so-called triple bottom line (TBL) of supply chain sustainability. When discussing a sustainable supply chain, the most typically thought of priority is the third P - Planet, meaning managers make supply chain decisions and implement processes with the strongest consideration for their environmental impact. But ignoring the other elements can make those environmental priorities - you guessed it - unsustainable. 

What is the concept of green logistics?

Within the idea of a sustainable supply chain, prioritizing green logistics is key. The concept of green logistics involves focusing on minimizing the ecological or environmental impact of logistics activities - as in the activities that get goods from point A to point B at the lowest cost with the best service. Logistics fall under broader supply chain management practices, which encompass everything involved in the process of converting raw goods to the end salable product. Some practices to make the concept of green logistics a reality include

  • Using the most environmentally friendly freight mode
  • Optimizing routes for the shortest travel distance and idle time
  • Ensuring containers/trailers are full to avoid transporting partial or empty containers
  • Enrolling in the EPA SmartWay program for emissions and fuel efficiency tracking
  • Exploring green technology usage where possible 

If you're ready to take the next step, at InTek Freight & Logistics, we can help. Just tell us what you need and we'll discuss how our expertise can help with the unique shipping challenges your business faces. Rather do a bit more research first? View our Freight Guides for comprehensive articles and eBooks on all things freight and logistics.

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