Tuesday, February 26, 2013

"Creating Brands for the Future"

Everyone knows that the internet has drastically changed the way we do business. Every industry has had an impact on the way information and interaction of a globalized economy has influenced their business models.  Many people have said that the internet created a new industrial revolution. It has been a new way of working together and a better way of exchanging goods, services and above all, information. A way to bring us together and build communities that can help us achieve a global goal: a sustainable world.

Sustainable Brands is a modern community of over 50,000 sustainable business leaders all over the world. The idea of Sustainable Brands is to bring experts into a common place to help brands shift into a more sustainable economy. Companies such as Sprint, eBay, Mars, and Unilever, among others, make part of this community that helps other companies transform their businesses into a more sustainable and socially responsible one (1). One of the many aspects on which they focus is in their supply chain and how they can learn and help from each in this quest.

One example is Alcoa, which is helping Honda and Ohio State University (OSU) to build a more sustainable car which goes beyond fuel-efficiency. This is why Honda and OSU have been working on a way to reduce the amount of energy applied to a vehicle, and they are working with Alcoa to develop lighter metals that can help reduce the mass of the vehicles and the energy required to weld the metals together (2).

Another example is Ocean Spray; this company gained a 20% reduction in greenhouse gases and a 40% saving in transportation costs thanks to a combined research with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Center for Transportation and Logistics. Ocean Spray was looking for a way to bring their products closer to the consumers, a more efficient way for their supply chain to reduce costs. They did this by building a new distribution center in Florida. They were seeking for a better, more sustainable way to transport their finished goods to that new distribution center. By partnering with a competing juice company they were able to use the competitor’s vacant railcars and load them with Ocean Spray products. With this system, Ocean Spray coordinated shipments with the competition as a way to reduce costs, gas emissions, and time (3).

The idea of partnering with other companies and focusing on a more sustainable business by combining efforts to make the supply chain work in accordance with the environment and society has changed the whole concept of what efficiency in logistics means. Has the consumer come to a second priority? Are companies changing their supply chain to focus on the environment and society? Is this the answer to a supply chain that takes into account limited resources and unlimited human needs?

I think the Sustainable Brands initiative is the future of how business will be conducted and a new way to work for a better supply chain. With this approach, companies are setting aside their know-how and their expertise and are seeing their logistics processes as a long-term approach. It is not enough to exploit the natural resources without giving back, this is the approach of the future human success as a species.


1. Weinreb, Ellen. Part Two: Creating Brands for the Future. Forbes. [Online] December 6, 2012. [Cited: February 25, 2013.] http://www.forbes.com/sites/work-in-progress/2012/12/06/part-two-creating-brands-for-the-future/.
2. Floyd, Allison. Assembling for Disassembly: Alcoa, Honda Back Automotive Manufacturing Research at OSU. Sustainable Brands. [Online] February 13, 2013. [Cited: February 25, 2013.] http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/articles/assembling-disassembly-alcoa-honda-back-automotive-manufacturing-research.
3. King, Bart. Ocean Spray Slashes Costs, Emissions Through Logistics Collaboration. Sustainable Brands. [Online] Fenruary 4, 2013. [Cited: February 25, 2013.] http://www.sustainablebrands.com/news_and_views/articles/ocean-spray-slashes-costs-emissions-through-logistics-collaboration.

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