Guest Post: The Importance of Sustainable Supply Chain Maintenance

USF is one of many schools providing green business education (Photo: Marcin Wichary on Flickr)


Today’s guest post is provided by Kaity Nakagoshi, who is writing for The University of San Francisco, in partnership with University Alliance. The University of San Francisco offers higher education opportunities through online masters certificates, including supply chain management and sustainable supply chain management. To see additional information please visit


Survival of the Fittest: Be Green and Lean


With awareness about environmental issues on the rise, many consumers are asking more questions about the products they purchase and the manner in which they are produced. The building industry is not exempt from this trend and green building practices are becoming increasingly important to the public. Environmental legislation also plays a role in developing green construction processes in order to comply with regulations. Implementing green building practices can help a construction company differentiate itself from the competition and be seen as a responsible and dependable member of their community.


Implementing Green Building Practices


Once a company decides to incorporate green building practices into its operations, it must gather the knowledge and skills needed to follow through with the initiative. They may also need to source new vendors to supply environmentally friendly materials. The next critical component is employee training and shifting the company culture towards support of the new processes. Employees must be properly trained to understand new construction techniques and materials so that they can communicate the benefits of their use to the customer.


Job Growth for a Green Workforce 


Green jobs are becoming much more prominent and are now firmly established in the construction workforce. According to a recent study by McGraw-Hill Construction, 35% of architects, engineers and contractors have green jobs, representing about a third of the industry workforce. This is expected to increase over the next three years. By 2014, the study projects 45% of all design and construction jobs will be green. Trade occupations, such as carpenters, electricians, masons, and plumbers are expected to see the greatest growth in green jobs. According to the study, green jobs provide more opportunity and better career advancement, giving a competitive advantage to employees and contractors with green training and certifications.


Green Supply Chains


Several companies have found that there is a relationship between green building practices and profits, and many are looking at their supply chain as the next logical step in implementing green policies. By evaluating supply chain processes, such as materials purchasing and distribution, companies are identifying additional financial benefits from incorporating sustainable supply chains.


Some of the benefits that are derived from green supply chains include:


  • Operational savings from reduced waste, and revenues from recovered materials that are not lost to scrap
  • Operational savings from reduced water, energy, fuel and transportation costs
  • Reduced health and safety costs
  • Increased regulatory compliance resulting in reduced costs associated with penalties
  • Decreased environmental insurance premiums by decreasing the quantity and hazard of disposed materials


Green Construction Is Not a Fad


The rise of environmental concerns has led to a rise in customer demand for green buildings and this trend is expected to continue upward. With increasing energy prices and environmental regulations, construction companies will need to make the shift towards environmentally friendly building practices to remain competitive. By developing green construction processes, using environmentally sound materials, and implementing sustainable supply chain processes, companies can take advantage of the green movement to create cost savings and long-term competitive advantages.




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