Last week, President Donald Trump announced that the United States intends to withdraw from the Paris Climate Agreement. Speaking from the White House, the President indicated he was open to renegotiating aspects of the Paris COP21 Agreement, which was inked under his predecessor and which all nations except two have since signed onto.

Needless to state, the responses to this decision have been widespread and voluminous. Preparing to scribe this blog, we performed a Google search on the terms- “President Trump withdrawal from Paris Climate Agreement”, which yielded over 8.4 million search responses. Obviously, such a number represents a significant amount of reaction, much of which has not been complimentary to the decision, both at home and abroad.

White House communications teams indicated that the decision favors the views of America’s businesses in that the accord did not provide adequate benefits for companies and their employees. Yet, after the announcement of the decision, Twitter and other social media featured direct postings from a multitude of well-recognized CEO’s indicating their disappointment in the decision, and that regardless, their company’s efforts in sustainability actions and commitment will continue. Likewise, over 200 Mayors of U.S. cities, 10 U.S. state governors, and other political leaders collectively indicated that sustainability efforts must continue. The States of California, New York and Washington immediately formed a coalition to unite efforts and share learning in fighting global climate change.

Included in our 2017 Predictions for Industry and Global Supply Chains is our declaration that business, and indeed, our planet’s future, will fuel continued efforts in supply chain sustainability actions and focused initiatives, regardless of any political developments.

We re-iterate that statement in the light of last week’s rejection by President Trump of any U.S. commitment.

As we all began 2017, scientists indicated that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record, the first time in the modern era of global warming data that average temperatures have exceeded prior levels for three years in a row. The Artic Sea has experienced a record ice melt, and the Great Barrier Reef suffered an unprecedented coral breaching in 2016.

Industry supply chain teams know first-hand, the increased impacts of global warming have had on more frequent supply chain disruptions, concerns and actions addressing sustainable and less costly forms of raw materials, food, energy, and commodities. Across many industry supply chains, a lot has already been accomplished in identifying opportunities related to reducing industry supply chain related GHG emissions, preserving natural resources including water, and insuring sustainable supply of Earth dependent commodities. Multi-year objectives have been established that include annual tracking of performance to each objective. The benefits of these initiatives are meaningful in relation to savings on supply chain related costs, reductions in responsible emissions, insuring adequate supply of key strategic supply needs and a more positive perception to one’s corporate and product branding.

In 2017, despite any U.S. political notions that climate change may or may not be a significant factor for business risk, industry supply chains and the respective businesses and customers they support and serve, will be at a disadvantage in de-railing or slowing down sustainability efforts.

Benefits have already been recognized along with added opportunities.

From our lens, the ongoing convergence of digital and physical business processes manifested by Internet of Things (IoT), more predictive analytics, autonomous decision-making and additive manufacturing will provide added opportunities towards sustainability needs and objectives.

Supply Chain Matters therefore urges supply chain leaders and their respective teams to re-double ongoing sustainability efforts in all forms. Such efforts are good for business and ever more important, essential for the future of the planet. To do otherwise is short-sighted.

Bob Ferrari

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