Alexis H. Bateman a Research Scientist, MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics and Sheri Hinish, also known as the "Supply Chain Queen" joined us in an episode, focusing on the topic of Supply Chain Sustainability.
Discover more details here.
Some of the highlights of the episode:
Radu Palamariu: 0:00
Hello and welcome to the leaders in supply chain podcast. I am your host. Rod A column. Are you managing director of Elka Global Executive Search? Our mission is to connect the spice and ecosystem globally by bringing forward some of the most interesting leaders and topics in the industry and very happy to have with us today. Alexis Bateman, who is a research scientist at the M. I. T. Center for Transportation and Logistics and also the director of the M I T Sustainable Supply Chains organization. She has over 15 years of experiences in sustainability in the public sector, in the industry as well as in the academic settings, and her work has focused a lot on supply chain sustainability through research, education and outreach. She has engaged closely with industrial partners, public agencies, local governments, organizations, is whether it's known element organizations. And also today we're having Sherry Finish, who is known as the supply chain queen recognized as an IBM futurist 2019 supply chain and demand chain executive pro to know and who is among one of the most active and interesting people to follow on linking. So definitely do that in the topic of sister sustainability and supply chain. Sherry is also a strong advocate for sustainable supply chain for circular economy, and she's through her share ings and knowledge and case that is pushing a lot that agenda. So it's my pleasure to have and welcome both Alexis and Sherry to the podcast and thank you for taking the time.
Alexis Bateman : 1:29
Thanks for having us.
Sheri Hinish: 1:30
Yes, thank you,
Radu Palamariu: 1:32
Super. So let's start. Let's start maybe ah, by quoting a little bit the work of Professor Yosi Shefi, who I'm sure a little listeners know, is the dean of the transportation and logistics side of M. I. T. And and he had had come out with a book recently on the sustainability topic, and he was arguing that sustainability is not necessarily a simple case of profits versus planet, but it's It's a little bit of a more subtle issue off some people versus other people, and what he was mentioning in the book was that those looking for jobs and inexpensive goods are parts of our society. And of course, that part of our society obviously are less interested, maybe in sustainability, more interested in the price, whereas the other part of our society maybe is looking more the environment future and making it sustainable. So I guess the first question to kick start the discussion is, how far should we go with sustainability? And also, how would you integrate that in the corporate framework? Right. But you have cutting costs, you have reducing risk, and you have obviously achieving growth as criteria for measuring a company.
Alexis Bateman : 2:48
Great. Yes, I'll kick off that one and having worked with Professor Shefi for many years now, and I worked together with him on that book on the balancing green book. So it was a great journey to talk to many companies over the years that we researched that book, come literally hundreds of different coming companies and so many different professionals that work across the supply chain in different areas. And I think it became clear along the way exactly as he phrases in that book, that it was never really you know, people versus the environment. At the end of the day, everyone is ah, you know, they have certain needs that they need to meet. They have things that they need in their lives to, you know, feed their kids and you know run their daily lives, and it became clear that it wasn't really so. Much like these evil corporation is that a lot of people want to set out and, you know, attack. But it was It was never like that. It's people versus people. I think learning that perspective really changed. How examine it because it was, you know, cos inherently are producing a good that someone wants. And that is something that they're going to use, you know, a whether being a business to business area or a business to consumer scenario. Um, and there's a demand for that. And so it's not them setting out to impact the environment or impact, you know, social environment negatively. It's really them providing a service or a good to the consumers. And so once we really tried to change the perspective and Professor Shefi bringing that perspective, those easier to look at how things could be changed when you're trying to change the conversation this today. Okay, this is you know, we're working within this context of providing these services and goods for people who are demanding them. How can we shift the perspectives that you know? It's really, you know, corporations or the others, setting out to impact the environment negatively when that's never really how it's Ah, you know, that's never the intention. It's really that we're trying to provide a good and maybe things something. Things get impacted along the way. So I think one starting off and putting out, you know, conversations and talking between players. And we're seeing that, you know, with so many different companies. And you know, of course, all the all the big, very public cases of the Unilever's in the Starbucks and the Proctor and Gamble's that are now instead of, you know, being very controversial with e. You know, NGOs and other groups that are criticizing there their actions, their instead kind of partnering with some of these groups and partnering with the people that are, you know, looking at them and kind of criticizing how they're operating. And so I think there's a shifting dialogue where it's not this, you know, adversarial Senate scenario anywhere. It's about hearing all the stakeholder voices and hearing you know why they you know, maybe some NGOs, you know, have a certain perspective of how our company's impacting the environment. They now have brought that informed perspective to the company and they can wait it out and in their decision making in their future strategy. And so I think, um, taking that different perspective has allowed more constructive conversations to say, you know, what are the voices? Were the stake holders that are being impacted? Ah, you know, how can we take into all these different account, you know, And, you know, while it's still far from perfect And there's a long journey to go that, um, I think that ah, when a When a company can start to think about those stakeholder voices and then also look into ah, you know how this might impact their bottom line, you know, make it strategic not just about taking into stakeholder account, but that, um, you know, and if you can do it in the right way and it becomes an economies of scale issue where many different companies were joining in to this issue of sustainability, whether this But we're talking about circular economy or, you know, end of life products or getting transparency, traceability of stream that, um, the Maur companies do it, and the more they adopt those practices more, they adopted you know, enabling technologies that it's going to bring down the costs. And, ah, it's going to, you know, allow companies to reduce their risk and really, you know, achieve the goals of growth If they if the more companies kind of come on to this mission. You know, that's really my perspective and hoping to, you know, continue that as a as a perspective that, you know, it's really strategic in the long run.
Radu Palamariu: 6:56
Super and Sherry, What would be your fee on this?
Sheri Hinish: 6:59
Yeah. I mean, you know, when you think about cutting costs, reducing risk achieving growth, many of the companies that I speak with, they focus on lean improvements, waste management and some of the business continuity activities that are tied with erratic weather and climate change. You know, retrofitting older buildings and plants, checking the boxes. But you asked us how far should one go with sustainability? And this is a really provocative question. So let's stir the pot of it. I don't disagree that sustainability, maybe a people versus people issue when you think about human behavior as both the root cause and the solution of many of the crisis, is that we face right now. And the critical question for me is, if stewardship is a duty in corporate sustainability, how far should we go? Or if we take the business as usual approach without regulation or compliance from industry across trading partners and consumers? How does this impact our planet in 30 years? And I'm probably less pragmatic than other supply chain folks. I'm a mother to three small Children. I'm a dreamer, and I believe that we unequivocally have a responsibility to do the right thing in the world that we share. And the right things, for example, include de carbon ization and social justice. So when you ask, how far should we go? Radio as far as we need to, that's my answer. What's the price of doing nothing? And you don't have to look very far to see why change is needed. Look at Venice. The massive forest fires in the Amazon, Indonesia, Australia, recent blackouts and Callie. All of these pose a risk to both humanity and in the reliability and viability of supply chains.
Radu Palamariu: 9:05
I know for sure, and I mean, even even I think where Alexis is in California, they've been some massive a massive fires and I think this kind of natural disasters are prevalent all over and and much more frequent. So we have. Ah, there's a need to act as quickly as possible and kind of correct. Corroborate all this different perspectives, whether it's corporate, government, social society and come together. And I wanted to move it and store it in a very specific element or industry, which is fast fashion and, uh, consumer. Let's say we each other consumer goods, right, because they're usually some of the most one. They do produce with waste, too. I know that both of you are very passionate about the subject. So maybe let's start with Sherry and and specifically in this in this segment fast, fast fashion in the city. What would be some of your thoughts in terms of what can be done but to achieve sustainable supply chain and more sustainable mindset in general?
Sheri Hinish: 10:09
Sure, so this is a timely question because the holiday season is upon us. And one of the first things I ask, large fashion brands who say that they embraced sustainability is what are your exact plans to sell less clothing? Black Friday is right around the corner in the states, and I love Patagonia's ad. Don't buy this jacket. When I think about sustainable fashion radio, a few words come to mind. Ethical, responsible, radical transparency, circular and sharing the into in story behind each garment. How are you empowering local communities where you operate? And some of the key challenges when it comes to sustainability are the rising costs of raw materials, ensuring ethical labor that's fair and child free, and the changing regulatory environments in this transition away from fossil fuels, both in transportation and production. I think some of the most positive changes are the shifts in consumer trends like the growing segments of low haas and natural lights who are supporting slow fashion and brands like Patagonia. For example. Scale is still a huge challenge in sustainable fashion, and we need to figure out how to help. Technology can Maur efficiently downcycle use garments and how we can collect enough material because current consumption rates are just not sustainable from a supply chain perspective, I think we really need to rethink the over reliance on fresh water into end in fashion, and also this includes the use of cotton and how can we extend the life and wear of garments, so transitioning to business models that include repair, re use and creating a conduit for recycling if a garment has reached into life. I mean, the hard truth is it's really all about personal consumption habits, and we need to change. And that starts with buying less. Folks really underestimate the power of their pocket. In my point of view,
Alexis Bateman : 12:24
Yeah, I think, uh, you know, relation touched on most of the hot button issues there. And how kind of, you know, the industry, um, needs to start to act on their environmental and social impacts. I think it was really good kind of coverage. I think some of the issues that come about and some of these consumer focused issues is that, you know, there may be already early movers that are putting out, you know, are doing very kind of innovative things, kind of changing the norm. You know, we're gonna, you know, referred to Patagonia's Don't buy this jacket right, you know, kind of shifting what we perceive as the Norman in the time of Black Friday, where really, there's a the increase in advocating for buying more for the holidays. and kind of disrupting that. But I think you know the evolution over time is going to be slow in terms of consumers being willing to change practices. So I think there needs to be a readiness by the fashion industry to change different models toe offer different solutions, you know, whether that be responsibly. Source for Sasa Lee produced garments those that are able to be disassembled and take it back so that they can be recycled and create closed loop systems and then also trying to shift the mindset for the consumers that you know. The newest trend is and you know, buying Maur continuously. It's not really, you know, on par with keeping, you know, environmental social impact slow. So I think there's going to be sort of this, um, no change that needs to happen with the consumer mindset, that that's not really the best way to go about it and also looking at different alternatives, whether that being, you know, the desirability of use products, right? So it's another way that Patagonia and other brands and Ari I and others have kind of offered, you know, these air really good products. There's a lot of life in them. You know, if you want to use it in a second hand market, you know, this is still appealing. And recently Patagonia opened up the threat up. Ah, not throw it up to me. Ah, they re threaded, um, so that you could buy Ah ah, clothes that were made from old close. And so, um, I think there's a lot of really interesting things that are going on there, so I think it's promising, but, you know as sure he said that the scale and really making this enormous is right far from it. So I think that, you know, with these kind of early movers with these innovators and different options beginning to be out there and having that be a desirable um you know thing for consumers will make it easier for the industry as a whole to shift. But, you know, as faras, you know the way that businesses and supply chains or eggs I in this too, you know, push more to produce more. So I think that it's going to have to be a fundamental shift in mind, said in a consumer perspective in the industry to really shift to those to those practices. But, um, there are some some promising, ah innovations out there and different practices that I think are leading the way. And if we can make that more than Norm, then it's gonna be, uh, you know, there's gonna be a lot of promising change
Sheri Hinish: 15:28
Radu Palamariu: 15:29
I I can share that in this. In this part of the world, for example, Ali Baba on is not so well known, and I don't think they've made a lot of noise about it, and they should. But they have a massive program of collection on then the redistribution of second hand blowers. So they, uh, I haven't looked into the whole detail, so I don't know if they actually recycled that make. I mean, I think partly they use the clothes and make new ones from the old clothes and part of part, please is sanitizing them and then reselling it a secondhand clothes. But there's a massive. That's a message. The growing business for the provide this part of the world and obviously also in Asia. Depending on the country, there's emerging economies that's different, um, buying power in terms of different countries so that they can work better. Maybe here, but it's still something that is highly successful for them. And I want to jump a little bit because the root cause, um of this discussion is maybe I mean, the system in itself, friends that we are. Most countries operate on the Yeah, most of the world, actually, on a very capitalistic model where you know yourself more, you make more money than your appear or you're contented or your earlier of the company growth, right? So that's that's the model. So basically, companies in general, and in order for them to change given that the overarching model is, you know, seven more make more money is is hard and it almost starts. The question that pops into my head is also what are some of the mines says that and how to operate on the mindset of the consumer. And because if a consumer keeps having and we are all concerned trite, you, me, everybody keeps thinking that we need to change our clothes and faster and faster and have diversity and and all of that, then we're kind of fueling this industry and industries is just gonna continued to give us the same thing. So I guess, um yeah, the flip flip, a coin or flip side. Is there one more can we don't the mindset of the consumer science So that consumers for their behavior stark also pushing the industry or fastening the change in the industry.
Sheri Hinish: 17:33
Yeah, I mean, I can I can share a point of view. I think. I think that it's complicated. Um, and the reality is that many consumers lack insights and awareness of, you know, the shared benefits of purchasing sustainable products, and it's really hard to visualize accountability for everyday purchases. So education and awareness are a key pathway, I think, in transitioning consumer behavior and transitioning toward a sustainable world. And when people, family members, friends, they say, You know what advice can you give me? The number one piece of advice is consumed less waste less and don't make excuses. You know, sustainability. It can no longer be the conspiracy of silence, meaning we have in arrogance and ignorance around climate related issues. It needs to be a part of dinner table conversation, and we also need to embrace the opportunity to share this information just like this podcast share across social media learn across digital platforms and the key is really act and just start. Don't wait because we don't have time. Climate change is a critical issue. Life expectancy is declining. We're seeing the greatest income in equities since the 19 twenties, and we have an opportunity to act right now. So talk to your Children, your family, your friends and and really focus on, you know, one day, one step at a time. How can I consume less in waste less?
Alexis Bateman : 19:22
I like every part of that answer. Definitely. Think all of that is Ah, very relevant. I think the other part of it is, um, making the ah did kind of definitions and ah, accessibility to what is sustainable, you know, more common common language to those that are how How is this gonna impact the environment, how it's gonna impact my life in my Children's futures? And you know what? When I even a CZ, you've kind of brought up like the dinner table, right? Thinking about what is sustainability on what Our supply chains. I couldn't even tell you that even sometimes my own family could could define those two pieces right, because they are complex and they're in there deep. And so the easy, you know, engagement practices in terms of, you know, last very said, you know, consuming less, wasting less those air, you know, the easy kind of practical lessons. But, you know, trying to think of the ways that you can do that in your immediate life with which, you know, we have these this environment that consumption is advocated for, You know, that it's gonna be a transition over time. So how can we provide consumers tools, you know, to buy the right products that are gonna last for a long time? They're gonna enable them to do those different things and to what end? And you know why they're doing it right? Because I think there is really a pretty deep seated, you know, mindset that you know, buying more and buying these products is, um you know, it makes me feel good and it makes me, you know, it serves the need, you know. So I think that the way that we can kind of offer opportunities to transition, inform transition so that this is something that is, you know, that they know, and it's clear that this will be for the for the betterment of the world and betterment of their families. So I think there's gonna have to be a transitionary period where that information becomes kind of digestible to the lake consumers so that they can make those informed choices. You know, we do it at C t. O. We do different kinds of research in terms of toward extent that consumers really kind of understand, Um, some of the choices they're making, you know, when they're at point of sale and whether you know labels that, you know, tell them this is a more sustainable products, whether that will change their buying habit at point of sale. And, you know, unfortunate. We're not saying a lot of, you know, promising moves there. But, you know, I think that the more that they have the opportunities to make those choices and the more that they are, um, choices that are held equal in terms of, you know, price and quality, then they will make those choices. It's just that you know, they're still kind of ah limited opportunity for them to make those traces where they don't necessarily have to pay more, or it's not perceived as poor qualities. I think we're getting there, Um, so I think that the consumer component needs to be top of mind, but I think the other part of it is the company's can't just act for the consumer. There's so many different reasons to act for the, you know, they're kind of, um, you know, their future as a company for the communities they're impacting for the various stakeholders that are looking to it. So it has to be kind of, ah, a comprehensive response of why they're not doing it, not necessarily just for the consumers. So just, ah, kind of thinking about, you know, both from the consumer and for the company action perspective.
Radu Palamariu: 22:37
And I wouldn't know Go Go's
Sheri Hinish: 22:39
Alexis, you You bring up a great point that it's easier to have blinders on, and it's easier to just be lazy and do nothing and throw it over the wall. But the insights that you mentioned so people can understand the impacts of consumption and decision making, and you know, when you mentioned the company's responsibility and understanding total cost of ownership. So that also means considering a wider range of environmental, social and economic issues and I don't know that people are really at least for a my experience. When you think about CSR, I don't think that it's it's as mature as it as it needs to be at this stage,
Alexis Bateman : 23:20
right? Absolutely not.
Radu Palamariu: 23:21
And on the topic of maybe sharing some other case that it's because you mentioned both of you have mentioned. But I go in there and it's a great example on, and I think they almost I mean the whole brand of but they're going instance, was for sustainable clothing and fashion and all. But maybe we can also look at other industries of the companies that you've seen doing some some good things. You know, I would even challenge you, Uh, if you can think of And maybe Alexis, you're you look a lot of your of your clients that the mighty and the corpus that you work with, maybe even taking decisions that on the short run may impact the borderline and may not be perfectible, but on the long term would either get value from direct from financials, but also maybe from from prestige from obviously from brand for from doing the right thing for the right for the right cause for the right environment. Maybe you Can share some of the case studies.c
Alexis Bateman : 24:11
Yeah, absolutely. I have a couple to come into mind and you know, there's there's too many to list Ray. We could go on forever on the companies that are doing really innovative things. But, you know, one company they I I like to order that I've worked with over the years and is doing really some interesting things. Are is Dr Bronner's magic soap. So they're based in Vista, California and, ah, they have home goods and and you nobody soaps and cleaning products. And so they have been around their family company, and they really as we were doing the research across many companies and Yosi and I came upon them years ago Ah, with our colleague Edgar Bronco, and, um, they just did things that kind of book traditional supply chain trends, right? So when they were going to put together their formula soaps, they determined that palm oil was necessary. They couldn't really replace that ingredient. And as we know palm oil is, an ingredient that has environmental impacts in terms of deforestation around the world in Malaysia, Indonesia impacting the smallholder farmers that grow it. And so they wanted to understand where their palm oil was coming from. So instead of trying to go into the nebulous commodity market, to source that material, they vertically integrated, a mill so that they could ensure that they were sourcing from different smallholder farmers that were being paid fairly, that were not growing on deforested land that had full visibility. Something like a vertical integration. You know, granted, they're a small company and they can operate a little bit differently. They were looking for growth, they want to grow their product and they can show other companies that they can operate this way and still make a profit. And so they pay that up for an investment so that they could ensure that they had a, you know, as sustainably grown as possible. You know, of course, defining sustainability for something like Palm Oil's kind of ah circular thing. But it's very hard, and it's still agreed upon definition, but you know, the best that they could do, right? Really, Truly the best there know that they can look into their supply chain, have that full visibility to farm level, know what's happening, You know, they dio preceding of, um, funds so that, you know, the farmers aren't impacted whether it depends on if they have a very productive year or not productive years so that they can have that money in advance. Um, you know, they just do things that are against the norm, but they still continue to grow. Um, you know, they have been doing post consumer cycled plastic for years when, you know, I think that some companies were just starting to learn how to do that and really kind of starting from scratch. And how are they going to scale that? So there, one that I've looked to that you know, they just really they just do the opposite of what everyone else does, and it works for them. And I admire their their boldness and really kind of disrupting that, um, you know, in terms of just making sure that they have as sustainable this product and, you know, the years ago. Um, now they even have said which you know is always kind of the crazy examples. They've even turned down buyers to, you know, to retailers that they didn't necessarily agree with because they felt at the time. And this was this story's little bit dated that they, um, didn't want to sell their product to a retailer that they didn't want to work with. And, you know, if if you could think of another case where someone turns down a buyer, you know, I'd be I'd be hard pressed to find that So there one that I'm finding is you know, they just continue to kind of disrupt the way that, and they offer a high quality product that continues to grow. And another company that I'm thinking that I'm, you know, kind of very interested in how they're growing and how they're offering is ever Lane. So they're small apparel company out here in the Bay area and there putting the full cost breakdown of their product, which again, Very abnormal. Um, not, you know, not that it shouldn't be the norm, but showing toward extent each note in the chain, each partner each tier, Whatever language we want to use is getting value from the end price that you're paying right so that you can see that there's, you know, fair wages being paid to those working at the manufacturing plant, how that values distributed across the supply chain. And I think that that's quite, um, innovative and quite new. And, you know, it seems, you know, I think, for how supply chains have operated for many years, that's it's very disruptive. And I think, um, seeing that they as well, you know, similarly to Dr Brides are continuing to grow despite, you know what many companies would say, you know, giving away their secret sauce, right, that they're showing you kind of their whole, um, you know, the whole cost breakdown of value that they're getting from that, that piece of apparel you that you're buying. So, um, you know, I could go on, but I think those there, too, that I really kind of find doing some very interesting things and, you know, bucking the norms and continuing to grow,
Sheri Hinish: 29:10
it was ever laying. You don't typically see radical transparency into end of a supply chain environment. So right, I definitely am a fan of Never lain also
Radu Palamariu: 29:24
and also what what I've observed. And then we had on the we had on the podcast. Ah, Derek. It was the explosion officer of Hankel, just a large company, And and I saw recently that Colgate managed to create a recyclable tube, and they meant they made that that technology freely available. They didn't paint until they actually made it really available to the industry. And Derek, from ankle to come back to the point, also said that some of the work that they're doing in the space of recyclable, recyclable packaging they basically also make it freely available to anybody else. So there is also an increased, singly cooperative mindset in terms of companies coming together, sharing the I P, sharing the knowledge, sharing the way of designing or sustainable products and giving it out for free just for, you know, just it's not just this is for the sake of all of us benefiting, which I think is which is a great thing, that is, that it's happening. And it's also another shift in the right direction from a change of culture, ultimately right, and the change of corporate culture and corporate mindset. Um, and I just
Alexis Bateman : 30:39
decided to just happen on there. I think that, um you know, Colgate making that move is really, you know, a good first move, right? Because this is how we can bring the economies of scale to these innovations. Right? Because maybe they are expect more expensive to start rate. That's always the kind of detractor to implementing right away, because it's expensive, right? But then, if we have that opportunity, share the i p and bringing down the cost for everyone, then these innovations can become more diffuse across entire industries. And Colgate's great for doing that. I also know seven generation in Vermont there actually were purchased by Unilever a few years back, but they've been doing that for years. So they really you know, it's, um, you know, similarly, have been awhile into doing post consumer recycled having you know, ah, ingredients in there. Ah, you know, they did disclosure of ingredients in there cleaning goods again against the norm. But, um, in addition to any kind of innovations, you know, they would have sort of, ah, period where they would they would keep it after release, but then they would open its hoping to scale. So, um, it's it's it's say, I'm glad that bigger companies are beginning digit X. That's how we can really begin to kind of get those that times to scale to bring the cost down.
Radu Palamariu: 31:53
And she chief the needle for sure, and and I wanted to is specifically, you know, talking in supply chain were all supplies and professionals. And they're passionate about this. How would you say this stuff? Because sustainability of the very macro level is infecting supply chains in general, more specific lighting. All the chief supply engine officers that we've had in the podcast has have spoken and have sustainability as the top three of not top five focus area for their organizations. So maybe Alexis, you can share more in terms of how you're seeing things from marine directions with splashing needed.
Alexis Bateman : 32:28
Sure. Well, it's a small question, so I could do that in the few words. Now I'm thinking, Ah, many ways. I mean, I think that you know, the probably most immediate way that, um, it's in, you know, in practicality is that it's a risk for them, right, because they're perceiving whether that be, you know, for weather impacts or whether that be for, you know, ah, pressure from external stakeholders whether it be internal from their internal stakeholders, right, that there is pressure to act. Ah, whether that be a hard ah impact on the way their supply chains are operating whether that be, you know, you know, whether it be a compliance, a regulatory requirement that they need to change their practices. So I think that there's, um, pretty significant risk for them to change now. I think, Ah, that that's kind of the No, uh, you know, there needs to be an act. I think there's also a strategic opportunity that there is a way to shift ways. Supply chains are operating now for the, you know, for the betterment of environmental social. Ah, you know, action and also have it being a better operating supply trains. I think there's a significant amount of opportunities, and if we can match that risk with opportunity and see them as one in the same ah, then you know it could be more of a strategic as a opposed to, like we're a reactionary where we're doing more of Ah, we're doing more of a precautionary to do this for the value of our companies, for the legacy of our companies and for them to be, you know, companies that are operating in the next 100 years. And I think that, you know, the company is well, you know, they're not perfect. And, you know, you delivers probably the clearest one that comes to mind that has been so public about their journey in the space again, not perfect, but that they've said, you know, we're shifting the way that we're operating. We're bringing our brands on this. Ah, you know, we're going to do this as our parent brandy. No lever that all our different bands are gonna do different components of sustainability within our supply chain and make it sort of, ah, corporate strategic action so that, you know, our consumers trust us, that we know that we're doing reducing our environmental social impact. So, um, I think that there's just really it's being impacted in so many different ways, and along with the fact that, um, you know, it's an employee attraction and read tension component, you know, not just, you know, it's definitely about the external factors, but I think that, you know, companies that want employees to come and join their company and stay with them. It's really becoming, ah, you know, Ah, a significant factor. You know, we have our in our students that come through and I've been hearing them from years, and I've been working with them for years. And the voice of those that are interested in sustainability gets brought, you know, gets whiter and louder every year that they want to work for a company that's responsible. They don't wanna go home at night and having worked with the company that they feel is not committing in a significant way. So I think that, you know, it's come. It's very much outside in re redesigning and revisiting your supply chain practices. It's also within, you know that they I want people that are going to stay with them. They're going to be committed. And if they can't really commit significantly and operate in a certain way that they're not gonna have the right people, they're not gonna have the best people. So I think you know they're getting hit inside it out, you know, and of course, you know it's slow, right? The e think that it's a transition, so but I I've seen that more in recent years than I've seen in the in the entirety of looking at this topic. So, you know, I I I would probably say the last three or four years it's gotten much louder than I've heard in an entire time. I've been looking at this topic.
Sheri Hinish: 36:03
I totally agree with you, the whole conversation around value and, you know, creating purpose envisioned beyond oneself. It makes sustainability a human issue, and it's not a supply chain issue anymore. It's this global issue in a world we share, and it's much, much deeper than supply chains, and I know that I've gone on the record, and I've said that supply chains own the responsibility of product stewardship. But I've changed my mind. And when you think about corporate sustainability, it's not a department. And if a company really has a commitment to sustainability, it's intrinsically a part of every person's purpose. And sustainability should be as much often individual commitment as the top leaders commitment, in my point of view,
Alexis Bateman : 36:54
absolutely, totally agreed. Well
Radu Palamariu: 36:56
said Yes, I wanted to wanted to also bring into the into the discussion that piece of technologies that can help in supply chain and can bring a huge impact in terms of sustainability. For example, you know, transparency is is a big topic. The more transparent your supply chain is, the better it It is also to trace a lot of things that maybe it's linked trance, traitorous transparency and traceability. Right. So they're there, too. Challenges that technologies is tackling. And then if you have this, then also sustainability can be achieved easier. So I wanted to ask you both. Maybe what are some of the game changing technologies and the most impactful ones that you think could bring in lead to more sustainability? Inspiration.
Alexis Bateman : 37:44
Right. Um, so I don't think I can list a few e. I think that, um, what makes sense on these is realizing that, um, you know, any of the solutions are a system of things, right? So it's getting the right information. The right technology, you know, all together and have the right process is in place to make that information actionable. So I think the more that you know, we're moving from traceability and transparency is sort of a static definition to realizing that needs to be you know, the right mix of technologies, the right mix of people you know, the right wrist of mix of platforms and solutions that we can integrate and operate in a certain way and enable, you know, the users and users of that information to get it in the, you know, quickest and, you know, most digestible format. I think that those are the technologies that are really having an impact because, you know, of course, you know we want to trace our product. We want to know what's happening upstream, whether we can, you know, slapping r f I. D. On it. Or however we want to track that and then have that information transmitted and uploaded into shared information platforms and being able to access that you know, anywhere in the world at any time. I think that those solutions and those that are being integrated in a in a practical way so that the decision makers have information to that access to the information. Um, I think those were the ones that are really disrupting it so that, you know, again making information available to those that you know it's It's actionable information, right? We're in. We're you know, I'm for at a university rate that loves to work with data, right? And we got as much data as we could ever want in the world on dhe. We have so much, you know, as we're all talking about big data, right? And we want more information. But at the end of the day, what information do we need to make the decisions that air strategic that are going to enable, you know, sustainable choices and and be more informed about those practices, though, that we can do better every day. Those of the technologies that I'm seeing the most promising so that we can make informed, Ah, and and, you know, decisions that are strategic. So I think, um, couldn't, you know, put my finger on, you know, a handful. But, you know, I think that we know that there are some that air disrupting, but really, I think it's the system, the systems of solutions that are making it easier for people to act.
Sheri Hinish: 40:08
So, Alexis ever question around the shift, Annette Carbon energy. So when solar hard row borrow fuel and carbon capture and storage are you are you hearing that di carbon ization is front of mine for CS CEOs. CEO Seo's
Alexis Bateman : 40:27
in my hearing that it's friend of mine. I think it's on everyone's radar, right. If we're gonna look at everyone's, you know, materiality assessment in whatever they feel that that's, um you know Ah, however we feel they're committed to that mapping of priorities straight, Um, you know, in the depth to wish for their commitment. It's on everyone's radar. I as faras sort of wth e you know, transition to adopting those energy sources and transitioning, too, you know, carbon neutrality. I think that you know that zits pretty far, right. And I think that the, um, timelines that are out there are much longer. Ah, then we want them to be right. They said, we're gonna be this and, you know, 25 years and it's just not soon enough. So I think that there are promising shifts in the way that companies are operating and you know how they're kind of making different solutions. And of course, you know their own operations is or where they start first rate, because that's how they have much as the most control. Right? So they say we're gonna we're gonna you know, source our energy differently. Ah, in terms of how we're operating ourselves. But, you know, getting up into the supply chain, those that are not as visible or operate in different parts of the world that really have those opportunities. I think that that's pretty far off. So, um, you know, it's on. It's on the radar. But the adoption, I think it's slow.
Sheri Hinish: 41:48
Yeah, in like you mentioned, I think Thio the the investment for renewable infrastructure is lagging and it's it's hard for people to imagine the transition right now. Currency.
Alexis Bateman : 41:58
Radu Palamariu: 41:59
This'll definitely take take time, but I would want to challenge both of you from a question. Let's say that you are the CEO off. I don't know 50,000 people, company manufacturing something I don't know. Let's just put it into manufacturing. But what would be some of the first things that you would do in terms of behaviors and actions that you would try to enforce, too, on maybe low hanging for its rights, that's the first and and easiest in terms of for the in terms of the company becoming more sustainable? What would be some of the thoughts that would come to your mind is this year.
Sheri Hinish: 42:36
Yes, I think I think a lot of companies have some of these operational efficiencies in place, and these air around lower energy, reducing water use for cycling. Everybody bring a coffee mug type of activity. But I think there are things that you can do that really further the cause. So when it's done right, and I think we've mentioned this ah, few moments ago, sustainability become everyone's mission, and employees can be a great resource for critical improvements. So an example that I can share from my own work encouraging rethinking day in the life processes in behavior. So how might we do this differently? Considering total cost of ownership and environmental impacts, this could be a life cycle analysis mindset. It could be a mindset of minimizing consumption or thinking about waste as a resource, more like collaborative consumption in network based stewardship. And I remember Dr Kevin Lyons at Rutgers, one of the first sustainability classes I took three years ago, saying that he was a supply chain archaeologist and, you know, when I asked him in my early journey, what can I do? What you know what are the where the low hanging fruit, he said, always start with waist literally observing trash and service is and waste that is all around you. So one of the activities that's worked in the past is holding green hackathons. You're incentivizing and game if I ng engagement in a way that's really cool. And it gets folks excited about sustainability, and you can rally around purpose and create camaraderie amongst employees and even bridge workforce generations. Another thing is reducing travel and using digital workplace a remote work. You can lower your carbon footprint and also decrease operational overhead. It gives folks more time back, and we've seen recent success stories from Microsoft recently in others reducing the workweek and increasing productivity. And I've actually worked in a three to schedule and had shared workspaces. I've recently worked remote. It's great. And I think, um, you know, just lastly, the reality is that you depend on your supply chain for integrity across partners in trading relationships that really extend beyond your immediate purview. So ah, great way to embrace sustainability is support other businesses with a commitment to sustainable ways of working. These are all great steps.
Alexis Bateman : 45:34
Yeah, I agree with every single one of those. I think that, um, definitely starting within your own organisation to get the adoption. You know, I've I've looked at organizational change for sustainability, how different companies have done in. It's always a mix of different solutions, and many of those that that Sherry mentioned in terms of how we get employees to adopt it in their own daily practices, right? So if they embedded with how they live at home with how they're working in their office with how they operate in their daily life, Um, you know that reusable mugs and plates and using public transit and you know the opportunities afforded that can really, you know, do that on their own personal footprint. And then once that sort of embedded in their own persona and their own daily life, and that can transition into their daily jobs. And then how you know there are responsibilities allotted to everyone to be making sustainability. Ah, part of their you know, their yearly report in their annual review and making you know the ownership diffuse across different employees as opposed to a singular sustainability department and making it everyone's roles. And in one way or another and, you know, making it a challenge and an opportunity and having those, you know, communications that are praising those and praising the small winds. And, um, you know, a lot of there's a lot of critics about small winds and you know, we're not making moving enough needle on while I while I know that to be true as well, I think that the small winds or where we get started, right that they're saying, even if it's you know what, we turned off the lives. We saved a short amount of energy. We've reduced water this month, you know, and every step counts. And they build in, You know, of course, sharing that broadly so that others can adopt those small winds so that that small win across many, many different companies, many different organization on the units. That becomes a big win. And I think that's the only way we can get started. So I think that kind of really those low hanging fruit within your own company and um, you know, there's there's also knowing that no transition is easy, so if you can get those small ones speaking with and when you want to tackle the big wins and knowing that it's not going to be a linear journey from, you know, getting your your supply chain, too. Come along with you on this journey. You know, whether that be your direct suppliers or trying to get engagement deeper in the supply chain. Or you've been looking at your end of life product and looking at, you know, circular pining, closed loop objectives. It's not going. It's literally not gonna be a little in here, but also, you know, it's gonna be a very challenging journey. Um, so I think, you know, you have to get those small wins first so that you can have the long term adopted. It's a long term adoption and make sure that, you know, when we are trying to tackle the the longer term the higher up fruits, right, that, um, that commitments already there. So when the going gets tough, we don't we don't give up.
Radu Palamariu: 48:25
Thanks for sharing. And also the big part is what we're doing today and what what we shared before in terms of storytelling in terms of sharing that this case that is in terms of bringing this conversation of the forefront cause more people talk about it, more people will do it. It becomes embedded in our culture and more and more and eventually just a fabric. And and I mean, I'm I'm very hopeful that this will become a fabric of our daily behavior at some point. Um, overall, all over the world, it is already happening. There's already signs and I was very optimistic when I saw that, for example, in Italy, they they put sustainability in the curriculum for all schools. It's must have subject to study in all the schools in Italy. My daughter at her school has projects around. How the recycle, How do you and I save energy? How do you heat healthy and healthy? No, not necessary from a health perspective, but also from a car between footprint perspective. So I think education. We're seeing a lot of things being done in a good way there and hopefully more and more as time goes by and as quickly as possible, hopefully. So I want to end on this positive, know that things are moving in the right direction, but also by encouraging, like you're both also said people toe. I mean, we need to start with ourselves, right? We need to be the change that we want to see in the world and to share it without this and to to continue to have these conversations. And I'm pretty sure that companies will be more and more and And of course, it's also the good part with all this discussion that it becomes a very important and must have ah, brand activity like like we rightfully shared that in order to drinking. Please, you need to have this element which is just crucial for people nowadays that the company does things in the right way, which is which is another big, big class. So on that note, I wanted to thank you all for the for the time. Thank you for the sharing. Thank you for the case that is. And hopefully in the in the next months and years to come with you. Even more noise, more improvement, more big data for M i t to analyze Alexis and toe to share with us on. Our sustainability is growing and blooming.
Alexis Bateman : 50:38
Wonderful. Thank you. Thank you for having me.
Sheri Hinish: 50:40
Thank you for having me. Also, the key is to act act now and spread awareness guys.
Radu Palamariu: 50:46
Exactly. Thank you. Thank you for listening. If you like what you heard, we should to go to www dot l called global dot com and click the podcast patent for all the show. Notes of the interview also subscribe to our mailing list to get our latest updates First, if you're listening through a streaming platform like iTunes Spotify arts teacher, we would appreciate a kind of you five star works best to keep us going and our production team happy and, of course, share it with your friends. I most active Arlington. So do feel free to follow me. And if you have any suggestions on what to do and hooting by next, don't hesitate to drop me an out. And if you're looking to hire top executives in supply chain or transform your business, of course, contact us as well to find out how we can help