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Improve the State of the World

By Jonathan Wright | 02/01/2010 | 1:00 PM

I’m writing this on the plane back to Singapore after a few days with the World Economic Forum in Davos.


The agenda was “Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild”--clearly a bold agenda but from the sessions I attended, it set the right tone. It was cold and snowy, which was to be expected and the security was unsurprisingly intense.  The trendy boarders and skiers were replaced by a strange mix of suits, briefcases and walking boots.  But when seated in the working sessions, the agenda was clear – how to get back to growth, but with climate change at front of mind.

“Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild” has been particularly evident in the logistics sector as we reflect on the challenges faced in 2008/09 and think about the opportunities of growing in a rapidly-changing world – be it repositioning ourselves in response to market convergence, developing new growth poles in key emerging markets--or even responding to renewed discussions with customers about carbon reporting.

Given that a recent Accenture survey highlighted that 90 percent consumers globally would be willing to switch to a new manufacturer if its product was certified as minimizing the climate change impact, carbon reporting is an important issue for this industry.  In recent posts, I’ve shared findings from other Accenture research that show that even among the best performing supply chain organizations, only 10 percent are actively modeling and managing their emissions in any detail.  Although this statistic is worrying, the challenge is even worse. The consumer is demanding more, and wants to understand the total carbon impact of a product or consignment that is handled by multiple parties, in multiple geographies, in multiple forms and states.


Tackling carbon emissions has been the focus of the World Economic Forum’s Logistics & Transport industry group, a group that we have had the pleasure of working with.  Last year, we collaborated on research that identified the top opportunities for reducing supply chain emissions, published in “Supply Chain Decarbonization.” Since then, we’ve been working with this industry group to think through responding to the growth in requests for product-level carbon footprint data.  We had an invigorating session at Davos last week and I look forward to sharing more with you about our progress.  It’s clear that agreeing on standards for product-level carbon footprint data could help make a big difference in providing what we call ‘corporate assurance’ – greater trust from consumers in the transparency and accuracy of information provided to them on packaging, on the internet and on marketing billboards.


My time in Davos reminded me how important it is to try and go the extra mile on these important environmental topics, even when they are hugely complex and require difficult decisions.  I am immensely proud to be working with the World Economic Forum on these topics, and look forward to sharing the outcomes with you.


In the meantime, I am looking forward to being back in the 95 degree heat of Singapore, after four days of 14 degrees!

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About Jonathan Wright

Jonathan Wright

Jonathan Wright is a Singapore-based senior executive in Accenture's Supply Chain Management practice with global responsibility for the company's supply chain fulfillment client work. With 17 years' experience, he is a recognized thought leader in supply chain transformation and sustainability. He joined Accenture in 1997 after five years with Exxon Mobil Corp. Since joining Accenture, Wright has worked in the retail, communications, high-tech, and aerospace and defense sectors. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transportation.


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