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FEATURESTORY
Ma Jun is one of China’s most prominent environmentalists. His book, China’s Water Crisis, has been compared to Rachel
Carson’s classic work, Silent Spring, which was instrumental in driving environmental change in the United States.
Mart’s Packaging Scorecard has had an impact on more likely you are to have a more expensive op-
suppliers. One sourcing manager from a large US tion of change.”
food company that sources to Wal-Mart says the
scorecard has provided some clear guidance and Lesson 7: But in the end it has to pay to
also some pressure to improve. go green.
Beyond the risks of scandal, Way of the CD Proj-
ect highlights an even greater risk to the sustain- But from a longer term perspective, those who
ability of a company- the risk of being unprepared embrace sustainability are positioning themselves
in a changing global climate. for a market that increasingly favors green. “I think
“The worst thing that can happen to a procure- that in the end customers that are prioritizing are
ment department is disruption to supply,” she very savvy, because it does eliminate costs but it
points out. also helps them with their brand,” says Smurfit-
She warns companies that there are aspects Stone’s McCann. “As you talk about positioning a
of climate change that will affect their ability to brand to a next generation of consumers, it’s very
source raw materials. Flooding, storms, and ex- smart.”
treme weather all will influence a company’s long Until the cheapest price is no longer the goal,
term sustainability. She suggests companies that greening efforts may not go much further than
research their options earlier rather than later. those that double as cost-cutters. For a company
So far that message has not reached many of to go green, Ma Jun believes that environmen-
the suppliers her client companies work with. 58% tal groups need to work to ensure that there is
of the suppliers her client companies work with enough financial incentive for supply chains to be
did not perceive a risk from changes related to better managed. “If we keep allowing those who
climate change. cut corners to gain the competitive edge in China
She maintains, “The longer you wait, the harder than we will not be successful in our efforts to pro-
it will be to change the raw materials, and the tect the environment.”
32 JULY/AUGUST 2009 www.chainaonline.com
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