Episode 3 – The Supply Chain Ripple Effect

February 24, 2011

In Episode 3 of The Wendel Forum on Green 960 AM, which originally aired on Saturday, February 19, Dick Lyons contemplates how green initiatives at Walmart can serve as a model for businesses large and small. What lessons can smaller businesses learn by looking at the initiatives of the first major U.S. retailer to actively and purposefully address environmental impacts in its supply chain?  Can Walmart’s initiatives with its massive supply chain be scaled down to “green” your own more limited supply chain?

At Wendel Rosen, a part of our journey to become a green law firm meant that we pushed on our own suppliers to carry more environmentally-friendly products and at more favorable prices (something that became easier over the years as more customers desired these types of products and more suppliers entered the marketplace — supply and demand). We also spent a lot of time educating partners, including our office building landlord, to help them understand our goals and to encourage them to implement changes in energy use, facilities maintenance, and waste stream management that would benefit the landlord, as well as the firm. By taking the time to form these partnerships, the impact of our decision to run a more environmentally friendly practice has had a ripple effect beyond our business. Now many of our suppliers, service providers, clients and even competitors have taken steps toward sustainability that might not have happened without the firm’s leadership. We have been one of many businesses moving in this direction, but we’ve seen with our own eyes how  the efforts of a single firm can create a ripple effect in a local economy.  The take away is that you may not be Walmart, but don’t underestimate what you can do with your own network of business relationships.

What advice or best practices would you share with a business looking to make its supply chain more environmentally sustainable?


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