British mobile telecoms provider O2 has created a three year sustainability plan, intending to reduce carbon emissions by 4 million tonnes and train one million young people through various community projects. Known as the ‘Think Big Blueprint’, O2’s plans touch on every aspect of their business including the management of their supply chain.
Number one on the list of priorities is a change in the way major purchases are viewed shifting the focus from pure financial value, to the wider impact such a decision has. If the purchase is unsustainable or causes irreparable environmental damage, then the deal does not proceed. However O2 also plan to extend this policy beyond the confines of their own company, auditing their larger suppliers to ensure compliance with the O2 Responsible Supply Chain Policy which covers environmental concerns, business ethics and corporate responsibility; failure to meet these agreements could result in termination of a supply contract.
O2 are also keen to involve many more SMEs and social enterprises in their supply chain and are creating processes to make this a reality. A new supplier forum has been set up to allow companies up and downstream to promote innovative practices for greater efficiency and to share best practices.
Key to all of O2’s sustainability efforts is greater collaboration in the B2B and B2C markets, to create a coherent strategy that affects not only every aspect of their supply chain, but also the rest of the business. Facilitating better information sharing should not be a problem for a communications giant, but the channels used to underpin it will need to be innovative and efficient in their own right.
O2 has recognised that sustainable business practices can provide definite returns on investment through creation of efficiencies, as well as a great deal of goodwill from the general public by involving them in the supply chain. Taking O2’s lead, how could you transform your company’s fortunes through supply chain collaboration and sustainable business practices?