Between July 2019 and March 2020, Australia experienced a wildfire that has been termed as one of the worst disasters in modern history. About 1.25 billion animals were affected and more than 46 million acres were scorched. The economic damage is still unfathomable: insurers have received claims worth A$240m, and medical bills from the fires and smoke haze could also run into the hundreds of millions.
In March, researchers discovered that climate change had an impact on Australia’s devastating wildfire, making the extremely high-risk conditions that led to widespread burning at least 30 percent more likely than in a world without global warming.
In the past few years, the world has experienced global warming like never before and the Australian wildfire is just one of the many cases of how global warming not only threatens the lives of humans and animals, but also disrupts the economy and sustainability of human existence.
There’s a change in climate and ecosystems are stressed through temperature rises, water shortages, increased fire threats, drought, weed and pest invasions, intense storm damage and salt invasion, and so on. Climate Change has emerged as one of the most critical topics at almost all levels of decision making, there is a growing need for integrating environmentally sound choices into supply-chain management, and more than ever before, global leaders must create policies that foster sustainable supply chains.
The Big Deal About a Sustainable Supply Chain
Supply chains are an indispensable element of any global economy. Sustainable supply chains address economic, political, societal, legal, human rights, ethical and environmental concerns. In short, having a sustainable supply chain can change the world and help us weather all storms.
One of the problems we have, in today’s world, is the sharp contrast between food wastage in some countries and starvation in other countries. According to Relief Web, while many people are malnourished or starving, one third of all food produced gets lost or goes to waste — that’s enough to feed all of the world’s hungry four times over. Perhaps the world does not have food production problems, but a supply chain problem. Imagine how perfect the world would be if everyone had access to food.
Food scarcity is just one of the world’s many problems. In solving this and many other problems, we have to heavily rely on creating a sustainable supply chain and building policies that ensure there’s an availability of enough raw materials and manpower to create products, products created get evenly distributed and then reach all targeted consumers.
A supply chain consists of all the businesses and individual contributors involved in creating a product from raw materials to finished merchandise, and sustainable policies ensure that there is a constant availability of resources, a smooth run of activities, and the gap between suppliers, suppliers and consumers is breached.
The Need for Policies
Today’s global economy is based on dynamic and complex networks of businesses. These networks are known as supply chains This means that without government policies on how this chain can be sustained, a competitive economy cannot be built. It is thus important that all global leaders should be interested and invested in sustaining their supply chain.
Just like every other aspect of society, policies enacted by leaders have an impact on countries’ sustainable supply chain. For instance, in Nigeria, Lagos is the biggest market for bike hailing. But the harsh policies introduced by the Lagos State Government disrupted the not-so-strong supply chain system of bike hailing startups and this further disrupted the transportation system of the state. There were ripple implications of the ban: at least 800 drivers were left without any source of income; unemployment shot up, an estimated ₦42 billion was lost; cost of transportation shot up and low income earners were further plunged into poverty; many investors learned to avoid a state with policy inconsistencies and unpredictable business.
The reverse is the case in Luxembourg where the government is putting regulations in place to accommodate businesses that could put the country in an advantageous position. This has encouraged a strong and growing network of service providers as well as a stable financial sector. Currently, Luxembourg ranks second in the Global Resilience Index for supply chain resilience.
Every ‘little’ policy counts, and global leaders must be aware of how their policies disrupt the economic strength of the country and the world at large. A tiny wreck in the supply chain can affect the whole economy.
We all have a role to play. Imagine a world where humans did not contribute to global warming, where there’s a conservation of the environment, observance of laws, quality control, a reduction of carbon footprint and socially responsible humans. Unfortunately, we may never have all these if there are no policies established to guide humans and regulate actions.
Human actions enhance global warming, global warming affects our planet and this, in turn, affects businesses and threatens human lives. Aside from saving our planet, creating policies on sustainable supply chains will increase the efficiency of vehicles and machinery at a significant cost savings, ensure socially responsible business practices, reduce waste and environmental footprint, and improve labour conditions, health and safety. Like Japan, we can build a sustainable and resilient supply chain that will help countries weather any form of crisis.