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Pru Chapman
OC Founder + Head Hustler

Pru Chapman is the Founder + Head Hustler at Owners Collective, a dedicated digital community and global online resource hub for early-stage entrepreneurs. Pru gets giddy supporting business owners to create meaningful, sustainable + profitable business. She loves nothing more than bulletproof coffee, her pooch Maverick, and an empty mountain hiking trail.

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Generating New Ideas: How to Inspire Innovation and Lead Creative Teams with Nicole Velik

 

From the heart of Byron region, where I witnessed the devastating floods two years ago, to the southern reaches of Brazil, where my partner’s home state of Rio Grande do Sul now grapples with similar tragedy, the echoes of environmental calamity reverberate. It’s a recurring nightmare, with entire communities erased, lives upended, and livelihoods shattered.

In the face of such tragedy, it’s tempting to avert our gaze, to dismiss these headlines as distant echoes of someone else’s reality. But we cannot afford such complacency. Behind each headline lies a tapestry of human suffering, stark reminders of the fragility of our current climate.

These events underscore the imperative to confront climate change head-on. Governments may drag their feet, but history teaches us that change begins with the collective voice of the people. As business owners, we wield a unique power to effect change, to weave a new narrative of sustainability into the fabric of our operations. 

Our journey begins now, with a deep dive into the realm of Sustainable Supply Chains—a realm where conscious choices not only minimise our environmental footprint but also pave the way for a brighter, more sustainable future.

(Image credit: Anthony Fomin)

Steps to developing a sustainable supply chain

1. Ethical Sourcing

Firstly, prioritise ethical sourcing by selecting suppliers who adhere to recognised standards like Fair Trade, Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS), or B Corp. Conduct regular audits to ensure compliance, including on-site factory visits or third-party audits. Whenever feasible, source materials locally to lessen environmental impact and support local economies.


2. Fair Labor Practices

Ensuring fair labor practices means treating workers with respect and dignity. Check working conditions, wages, hours, child labor, forced labor, and safety standards. Choose suppliers prioritising worker well-being, fair wages, safe conditions, and growth opportunities. Verify claims and certifications for transparency. Foster open communication with suppliers and workers for effective problem-solving. Outland Denim does a great job of this through their Ethical Code of Conduct. 


3. Environmental Impact Reduction

Evaluate your environmental footprint across sourcing, manufacturing, packaging, distribution, and waste management. Set clear goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, waste generation, and use sustainable materials. Conduct lifecycle assessments to identify improvement areas and guide product design decisions. This is not a small task but it’s the rigour required to be a responsible business owner. 


4. Transparency and Traceability

Provide clear and accurate information to your customers about the origin of your products, including where materials were sourced and how they were produced. You may not have it perfect just yet, but by offering this level of transparency and traceability, you can build trust with consumers and demonstrate your commitment to ethical and sustainable practices. Check our Afends as a great example.  


5. Commit to Continuous Improvement

Finally, as with all aspects of sustainability, mastering a sustainable supply chain requires a commitment to continuous improvement. You should regularly assess your supply chain practices, identify areas for improvement, implement changes accordingly, and communicate your initiatives (or shortcomings). This may involve investing in new technologies, collaborating with suppliers to find innovative solutions, and staying informed about emerging trends and best practices in sustainability.

 

To wrap, mastering sustainable supply chains is not just a moral imperative but also a strategic business decision. By prioritising ethical sourcing, reducing environmental impact, ensuring fair labor practices, promoting transparency and traceability, and committing to continuous improvement, businesses can build supply chains that are not only sustainable but also resilient and adaptable to future challenges. The time to act is now. By taking decisive steps towards sustainability today, you can position yourself for long-term success and contribute to a brighter, more sustainable future.

 

Owners Collective

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