Sustainability is today an integral component of corporate business strategy. It entails meeting the needs of the present without compromising the future. For a company, Sustainability is the ability to achieve its business goals by integrating the three elements into its business strategies- Natural environment (planet), Society (people), Economic performance (profit).
Sustainability efforts of a company go a long way in influencing the buying decision of the consumers, thereby driving shareholder value and delivering positive financial returns. Additionally, Governments in different countries are drawing up stringent regulations to ensure sustainable development.
Recognizing these facts, GS1 has started working on several sustainability initiatives globally. GS1 focuses specifically on addressing these issues by:
- Facilitating exchange of data pertaining to sustainability by enabling automation and interoperability across Supply Chain stakeholders.
- Sharing knowledge regarding the contribution of current GS1 standards to sustainability practices.
- Supporting businesses in their bid to follow sustainable practices by adopting GS1 standards.
GS1 standards provide a platform that facilitates information exchange between businesses. GS1 standards applied to sustainability help organisations share information about manufacturing processes, carbon footprint, packaging material (utilization and composition), water usage, energy usage etc, this in turn helps firms improve products, ensure proper cleaning and recycling, optimize transportation and reduce waste.
GS1 standards promote efficiency and ensure sustainability in the Supply Chain through the following focus areas:
- Global packaging project: This includes development of metrics for product packaging, defining sustainability attributes, optimizing truck loads for reduction in carbon dioxide emission etc.
- E-waste disposal management: Global Returnable Asset Identifiers (GRAIs) are used to track returnable assets such as pallets, but by extending their use organisations can cut waste and cost. EDI-based Advance Shipping Notice (ASN) could reduce waste when unexpected deliveries to stores are turned away. It improves efficiency as well by having better on shelf availability of products.
- Efficient transportation of goods: Global Data Synchronisation Network (GDSN) certified data pools improve product data quality which leads to better truck utilization and therefore more efficient transportation of goods.