Distributors are about to feel a sustainable squeeze.

Brands have long been on the front lines of sustainability expectations due to concern for the environment from consumers, shareholders, and the media. However, independent operators such as distributors will soon feel the pressure from both their suppliers and publicly traded retailers to track, reduce and communicate their GHG emissions.


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Well over a decade ago, most global brands set their sustainability goals. Today, those brands are having trouble meeting their targets as the low-hanging sustainability opportunities with the acceptable return-on-investment have already been tackled.


It would not be acceptable to change their goals now, especially with the increasing customer, investor, employee, local community, and regulatory bodies rewarding green businesses and penalizing businesses they perceive as bad for the planet.


The brands cannot change their goals as the street doesn't like that, and changing their business to focus only on saving the planet is not a viable option either. But they can push the responsibility onto their supply chain partners. Over the last few years, public companies' sustainability goals have changed from operational goals to supply chain goals in their annual and sustainability reports. So, the pressure is now on the supply chain partners. And, this is fair as suppliers don't own the whole carbon footprint, and one partner in a supply chain can't be tasked to deliver all the reductions.


A product's environmental impact is spread across different businesses from farms to manufacturing, packaging, warehousing, distribution, and sales. Each phase contributes to the brand's total lifecycle.


It's not just suppliers. The leading retailers are looking to their vendors to reduce GHG emissions in their supply chain and offering to feature products from those that demonstrate reduced emissions.


Has your supplier or retailer asked you to track your GHG impact or Sustainability efforts? Have they offered you any assistance or incentives?


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