Daily Archives: July 25, 2023

Sustainability Begins in SRM

We recently broke records in global temperature. RECORDS IN GLOBAL TEMPERATURE! If sustainability isn’t on your mind now, then obviously you don’t have a mind that is working because not only does it mean the planet is in very dire straits*, but

  • the acceleration of natural disasters is going to intensify beyond anything that was predicted (and a five-fold increase was recently predicted)
  • natural resources (and food) are going to get scarcer faster as fires destroy our usable lumber and crops
  • hurricanes are going to drench and destroy coastal cropland, possibly long-term
  • rapidly melting polar ice caps are going to raise sea level, drown our richest coastal farmlands, and damage our coastal (shipping) infrastructure
  • rapidly heating equatorial zones are going to dry out our freshwater lakes and canals (like the Panama canal we rely on for shipping)

… and that’s just the tip of the rapidly melting iceberg. (There’ll soon be no more dildo icebergs for Dildo, and that won’t be a good thing. Canadians rarely get angry, and when they do, that’s bad. the doctor, who is about as Canadian as it gets, has never seen a Newfoundlander angry, and when that day comes, he’d rather not be one province away … so please make sure that day never comes!)

Unless we lower

  • fossil fuel energy production and utilization
  • clean water utilization
  • waste byproducts
  • dependence on non-renewable resources that are getting more expensive, and environmentally damaging, to mine

environmental and societal damage is going to only intensify. We need to be sustainable. But sustainability has to start at the source — and the consumer is NOT the source (it’s the sink, and anyone who’s studied networks will tell you that by the time you reach the consumer, the product has been produced, the service has been rendered, and there’s nothing consumers can do to undo the damage that has been done … sure we can do our best to consume less and waste less, but the damage starts at the mine or the farm and propagates through the supply chain).

As a result, sustainability starts with the source supplier, and must be maintained throughout the entire supply chain.

And at the end of the day, for a Fortune 500 / Global 3000, it doesn’t matter if a CEO gives up the corporate jet — it matters only if they instruct their company to be sustainable in all aspects of operations and force their supply base to do the same.

Why? The aviation industry as a whole contributes 2.5% of worldwide CO2 pollution. 2.5% overall! So how much do you think one private jet contributes? Not enough to really matter. (On average, it’s like removing the emissions of 400 cars, and while that sounds significant, once you realize there’s over 300 million registered vehicles in North America that contribute to about 30% of GHG produced, it’s barely a drop in the CO2 bucket [giving it up for show while your factories pollute unhindered is not the solution]; and FYI, most of that vehicular CO2 production is NOT our private automobiles, its commercial transportation [as we have catalytic converters, there’s no laws that can be enforced mandating equivalent technology on ships in international waters].)

In comparison, a coal burning energy plant will generate about 2.26 pounds of CO2 per kWH, or about 7 Billion pounds of CO2 annually (which is over 3 Million Metric Tonnes) in an average 500 megawatt coal power plant. (In comparison, a private jet burning an average of 5,000 pounds of jet fuel per year at 7 pounds of carbon dioxide will produce only 35,000 pounds of CO2 a year. This is still a lot, but a supply chain that consumes the equivalent output in electricity in its manufacturing and shipping operations as that produced by a coal burning 500 megawatt power plant will produce 200,000 times the CO2. TWO HUNDRED THOUSAND TIMES. So don’t get distracted by the little things in your quest for improving your carbon footprint, which will soon be mandated in more and more countries globally. Your CEO should give up the jet, especially when he can still fly in those first class cabins no one else can afford, but that’s just the start of what your organization needs to do.)

And the only way to monitor and manage your supply base, require and track reporting from, and ensure improvements are made, is with SRM. It’s not just supplier development anymore, it’s supplier sustainability.

* and not the good kind of Dire Straits, the bad, bad, kind