American Companies’ Sustainable Supply Chains


Companies must consider their activities impact on the environment and society at large. A corporation achieves a sustainable supply chain by continuously accounting for the negative impact associated with its activities along the supply chain. Sustainability gives organizations a chance to form new commercial relationships and strengthen core competencies (Villena and Gioia). Multinational organizations are increasingly adopting sustainable supply chain practices by obtaining raw materials from businesses upholding fair labor practices and eco-friendly measures. This paper explores how leading American companies should develop sustainability practices along supply chains by focusing on renowned companies such as Apple, Tesla, Trade Joe’s, Levi Strauss, and Boeing.

Designing a Sustainable Supply Chain

Implementing sustainability in a supply chain requires an organization to establish a supplier program. This initiative should promote peer learning about sustainable practices that improve supply chain management. In particular, a company can allow its most socially and environmentally conscious suppliers to participate in various gatherings bolstering relationships with the company itself (Koberg and Longoni 1084). In effect, these suppliers will be able to learn exceptional sustainability practices. Another approach to designing a sustainable supply chain involves a firm transitioning its energy sources to sustainable and renewable energy solutions. For example, Apple ensures its suppliers are dependent on renewable energy, particularly to improve Apple’s manufacturing processes. This strategy has enabled the American giant to cut its carbon emissions. Similarly, Boeing has adopted a comparable approach, except that the American company designs its commercial airplanes so that they are more efficient than the latter generations (Morais and Silvestre 222). Additionally, the company implants sustainability into its design procedure and performs life-cycle evaluations to ensure green and safe product design and new technologies. Conclusively, Boeing’s airplanes are well-recognized for their high fuel efficiency.

Industry collaboration is another approach to developing a green supply chain model. Most organizations are aware of supply chain challenges, and as such, they resort to industrywide collaborative efforts to ensure success. For example, America’s Tesla has collaborated with Australia’s BHP Billiton to supply nickel used in the manufacturing process of its electric vehicles (Castillo et al. 36). Moreover, the American giant has also secured other contractual agreements guaranteeing that its battery metals are delivered by organizations with a sustainable approach to supply chain management.

Sustainability can also be embedded into supply chain processes by implementing sustainable packaging. For example, Trader Joe’s operates in the grocery segment and manages several grocery outlets. The company has implemented sustainability in its supply chain process by minimizing and reducing packaging size. Moreover, the firm procures sustainable and recycled packaging materials while also refraining from using toxic substances in its packaging (Morais and Silvestre 222). Over time, Trader Joe’s has made significant improvements in its repertoire of products by removing surplus components, raising the quantity of recycled and sustainably obtained materials, and discarding non-green constituents.

A company designs a sustainable supply chain by focusing on several stakeholder issues. For example, Levi Strauss has implemented several guidelines in its supply chain process. In particular, the company ensures gender equity and implements various policies for foreign migrant employee protection (Morais and Silvestre 222). Importantly, the company has stipulated a zero-tolerance violation that prevents forced labor, forgery of records, sexual harassment, and corporal punishment.


This paper has explored how companies can incorporate sustainability principles to improve the supply chain process. It draws notable examples from some of the leading firms in the United States. For example, Apple eliminates carbon emissions in its supply while Tesla collaborates with industry players to ensure its batteries are sourced from environmentally conscious suppliers. Trader Joe’s has primarily improved its packaging using sustainable materials, whereas Levi Strauss implements a zero-tolerance policy to discourage several vices. Finally, Boeing ensures its aircraft are designed to improve fuel efficiency, eliminating further carbon emissions.

Works Cited

Castillo, Vincent E., et al. “Supply chain integrity: A key to sustainable supply chain management.” Journal of Business Logistics, vol. 39, no. 1, 2018, pp. 38–56. Web.

Koberg, Esteban, and Annachiara Longoni. “A systematic review of sustainable supply chain management in global supply chains.” Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 207, 2019, pp. 1084–1098.

Morais, Dafne O. C., and Bruno S. Silvestre. “Advancing social sustainability in supply chain management: Lessons from multiple case studies in an emerging economy.” Journal of Cleaner Production, vol. 199, 2018, pp. 222–235. ScienceDirect.

Villena, Verónica H., and Dennis A. Gioia. “A more sustainable supply chain.” Harvard Business Review, 2020.

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