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A Complete Guide to the Best Supply Chain Sustainability Jobs

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Sustainability has moved from the minority interest of people into green lifestyles. The Paris Agreement launched in 2015. It aimed to keep global temperature rises below 2 degrees Celsius.

 

This aimed to address the threat of climate change. The social, political, economic and technological environment has shifted. Sustainability is now right at the center of global events.

 

What is supply chain sustainability? It is about building environmental and social responsibility into the supply chain. There is a wide range of careers in the supply chain world where sustainability is a focus.

Read on for your complete guide to the best supply chain sustainability jobs.

Background to Sustainability

Another sustainability development was the U.N. Sustainability Goals. In 2016, the U.N. agreed to work together towards a set of sustainability goals. They agreed to "mobilize efforts to... tackle climate change."

Government policy around the world has shifted to reflect this agenda. There has been a similar shift in financial and business circles too. Investors have become interested in supporting social responsibility business.

Several sustainable investment indexes now exist.

Environmental, social and governance issues are important for investors and for employees too. Millennials are more interested in working somewhere where corporate social responsibility is important. Consumers are also interested in the sustainability of their retailers and service providers.

What Is a Supply Chain Sustainability?

An organizations supply chain connects its inputs to its outputs. Sometimes it exists inside the organization and sometimes outside. Often the supply chain is about moving a product or even a service from suppliers to customers.

Supply chain activities include:

  • sourcing
  • procurement
  • logistics
  • manufacturing
  • warehousing
  • retailing

Supply chain management is the set of disciplines. It seeks to link the business processes across and within businesses.

In the past supply chain management was about increasing efficiency. It was about controlling costs across the supply chain.

Now there is a sustainability agenda. Now it's about demonstrating and assuring ethical and social responsibility.

Supply chain management has become responsible for verification of sustainability. It does this through environmental and ethical audits, supplier scrutiny and ethical sourcing.

Sustainability Education

Sustainability is often incorporated in supply chain education. It is also a specialized subject too. The range of educational providers is huge but here are a few examples of the top courses.

The MSc in Environmental Governance is a two-year course. This University of Freiburg course is an international program.

The course aims to be one of the top 10 international courses on sustainability in the world. Students come from all over the world including North America.

Sustainable Supply Chain Management at Portland State University is a certificate program. It has six, 15-hour modules. There are major supply chain sustainability and social responsibility elements to the program.

There is a sustainability course for you. Every aspect of supply chain sustainability has a suitable course. You are better able to compete in the job market with qualifications behind you.

This is an example of sustainability in your life. Invest in yourself. Make yourself a more sustainable resource.

Companies with Sustainability Credibility

Finding a company with sustainability credibility is the start of your job hunt. There are many ways in which you can find companies that walk the sustainability talk. Do your research and don't rely on PR and hype.

A good place to start might be to use the same methods that ethical investors do. Look for companies listed in the various sustainability indices.

Try the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. Read reports on the businesses for an insight into them as an employer.

The business press is also a useful source of information. Read articles to check out the sustainability credentials of companies. Search for articles about supply chain and sustainability.

Visit the company website for further information. Check out their green policies. Assess their supply chain practices.

Most businesses have some kind of supply chain management activity. Not all have sustainability credibility.

It's as well to find out what employees of these companies say about them. Use "Glassdoor" and "LinkedIn" to research the businesses as employers further.

There are some companies that have established a great sustainability reputation. These are worth exploring.

For example, Ford Motor Company works with suppliers on social and environmental policy. They go deep into their supply chain.

Adobe, the software company is working at reducing energy needs. They are using renewable energy technology.

Walmart is seeking to increase truck efficiency. They are doing this by building energy-efficient trucks collaborating with truck manufacturers.

What Jobs Are There in Supply Chain Sustainability?

There is huge scope for supply chain jobs with a sustainability aspect to them. Supply chain covers a huge range of activities. All these activities have sustainability implications.

There are supply chain functions where sustainability management is a support. A sustainability manager might act as an internal consultant. They support supply chain management to drive the company sustainability agenda.

This involves project work or change management. They work alongside procurement, transport or distribution functions.

In some organizations, sustainability has been more integrated into normal operations. Supply chain managers have ongoing sustainability aspects of their role.

This is the holy grail of sustainability campaigners. Sustainability is not a side or sidelined activity. It's at the core of the organization's operations.

In these more integrated organizations supply chain sustainability careers are supply chain jobs. But, with a sustainable approach.

If this is the kind of organization you would like to work at then your career options are wide. As wide as the supply chain itself. Be flexible to get your foot in the door.

There are career opportunities to work with supply chain consultants. These roles are as supply chain sustainability specialists.

Consultants provide organizations with guidance on the technicalities of sustainability. They help introduce ethical audits, efficiency improvement, robust governance arrangements, and more.

Where to Look for Supply Chain Sustainability Jobs?

There are some sure-fire ways of finding sustainability in supply chain management jobs. Look for businesses that have sustainability credibility. They will have sustainability managers in their supply chain.

Search LinkedIn for those organizations and research the positions that currently exist. You may be able to make a contact with their HR or recruitment team to discuss your interest.

Make contact with people with jobs in the supply chain function. This networking may help you. It will give you an insight into the organization and its structure.

It will help you understand whether they are serious about sustainability. Let people know your ambitions. Use this network to get a heads up on opportunities.

Build a relationship with a supply chain recruiter. They understand the market. Also, they can relate to the sustainability issues. They understand which organizations will meet your sustainability interests.

A recruiter may also help you with your resume. They often offer professional resume writing services. Get your resume in great shape.

You may be an expert in supply chain and even in sustainability. You may not be an expert in getting a job, presenting yourself or researching the job market. This is where a relationship with a recruiter can save you time and effort.

Search the recruiters' job board for examples of the kind of role you want. Have a conversation with them about the role and any other roles they may have available.

Discuss your experience and ambitions with them. They may be able to inform you about future opportunities. Stay in regular contact.

Some Tips on Getting the Job

Securing a job in supply chain sustainability needs dogged determination. It's the same as getting any job. Your aim must be to work harder than the competition to stand out and wow the recruitment manager.

Have a great custom cover letter and resume. Don't fall into the trap of relying on a standard letter and resume. Make it fit the job advertisement like a glove.

Emphasis your sustainability credentials by putting relevant qualifications and experience front and center. Balance this with down to earth supply chain credibility too. Be prepared with questions and answers to show an understanding of the issues.

Your Sustainability Future Awaits You

You have a little more knowledge of where to get the best supply chain sustainability jobs. You are ready to start searching and applying for jobs. Make your career aspirations a reality.

Treat your job search like a job in itself. Be systematic and business-like in your time management and professionalism. Be prepared for setbacks and stay motivated.

You have a need for a purpose in your working life. We will all benefit if we have more sustainable supply chains. A career in supply chain sustainability is a worthy ambition.

To learn more about finding a supply chain job, click here.


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