Sustainability in East Asia

The State of Sustainability in East Asia and Our Role

By Chris Crutchley on August 10, 2022
Today, most of the companies that claim to be “green” are falling short when it comes to their supply chains. Read why:

Many companies nowadays claim their products are sustainable, but sustainability is more than just an ethically sourced product and green factories. Today, most of the companies that claim to be “green” are falling short when it comes to their supply chains. 

An estimated 90% of companies' environmental impact comes from their supply chain. Unsurprisingly, it’s a tough area to make green — logistics are complex, and there are many small parts to keep track of.

At CBIP, we’re trying to be leaders in the Asia Pacific’s journey to supply chain sustainability. It’s a region that’s changed drastically in the span of a few short decades largely because of global logistics. I want to talk about why it has been slow until now to become greener and what needs to happen to speed things along.

Regional strides in Asia-Pacific

Asia-Pacific has made meaningful strides to increase medical access, public health, and innovation. However, this part of the world still struggles greatly when it comes to reducing carbon emissions. And among the fast-growing e-commerce businesses in the region, the problem is even worse.

On an individual level, public awareness and efforts to reduce waste are increasing in the region. Exciting new projects surrounding renewable energy give hope that the region is now set on a resolute path to sustainability. However, businesses in the region have a long ways to go toward supply chain transparency. Much of local logistics has grown naturally and doesn’t have the level of regulation we are accustomed to in the West.

Why it’s so hard to remain accountable

The explosion of manufacturing across Asia has been a boon for global commerce, but the benefit that this provides to businesses all over the world comes with a cost: When you partner with manufacturers all over Asia, tracking all the steps of your supply chain operation is incredibly tricky.

It is already challenging for multinational companies to form and hold themselves accountable to their sustainability goals. The problem with the manufacturing boom in Asia is that most operations are small factories with few direct regulating bodies. Adding these low-tier manufacturers to corporate sustainability frameworks is difficult.

Recently, we have seen heightened interest from the region in investment in Environmental, Social, and Governance programs (ESG). However, greenwashing – claiming sustainability in marketing campaigns while making no actual strides towards greener company practices – has become the norm, and there is still little accountability in this area.

Working together to get it right

Combatting climate change should be something that companies of every size feel they can take part in.

A big hurdle for most retailers is simply knowing where to start. Retailers need to take the time to understand the different locations, parties, and infrastructure involved throughout their supply chains so they can visualize the areas where their practices are impacting the environment.

Retailers also need to find a transparent partner who cares about doing their part — and has the experience to back it up.

At CBIP, we strive to set the example for other businesses in Asia-Pacific to follow. Our sustainability framework is modeled around the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, which are geared toward combatting poverty and spurring economic growth while taking real action to tackle climate change.

How do we at CBIP stay accountable and push ourselves forward on our sustainability goals? 

We focus on involving our customers, suppliers, and internal employees in our journey, and we are open and transparent about our sustainability model. 

The CBIP model looks like this:

  • Calculate our total emissions.
  • Determine the region where we have had the highest carbon impact
  • Work with partner South Pole to invest in carbon-offset projects that make a tangible difference.
  • Get our customers involved.

In addition to striving for community-oriented results in sustainability, we’re also committed to spreading resources and sharing our path to becoming Asia’s first carbon-neutral 4PL provider. If you want to learn more, take a look at our full policy.

Supply chain issues don’t get solved overnight. But while we wait for the balance to return to global shipping, let’s use this opportunity to put sustainability into the equation.

About Author

Chris Crutchley

Chris Crutchley is CBIP’s director of operations and finance. He has over a decade of corporate finance and operational expertise throughout the Asia Pacific.

In logistics, Chris strives to continuously innovate and challenge the industry’s norms in order to offer clients world-class service that emphasizes clear communication.

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