So much news, so little time. To keep track of all the latest news from our sustainability team, we are posting snippets from news items featuring our team. Check out the latest interviews Alexis and Suzanne have given!

July 2020

Data, Not Digitalization, Transforms the Post-Pandemic Supply Chain in MIT Sloan Management Review:

According to Alexis: “as we all know, supply chains are not designed to be transparent. As you move upstream with suppliers, they don’t want to disclose information they think of as a competitive secret.”

Unilever’s carbon labeling initiative will drive new behavior in the supply chain in GreenBiz:

 It’s also significant that this drive is coming from a manufacturer rather than a retailer, noted Alexis Bateman, director of MIT Sustainable Supply Chains. To measure a carbon footprint for every product, Unilever will have to work with suppliers to collect data on raw materials, farming practices and other point-of-origin information. That will be a big ask, but it may be easier for Unilever to make the request than, say, Walmart. “They have a little more leverage and closer relationship with suppliers,” Bateman told me.

Innovations in environmental training for the mining industry in MIT News:

 The two-week event was coordinated by Suzanne Greene, who leads the MINE program for ESI as part of her role with the MIT Sustainable Supply Chains program. “What I loved about this program,” Greene says, “was the breadth of topics MIT’s lecturers were able to offer students. Students could take a deep dive on clean energy technology one day and tailings dams the next.”

May 2020:

Don’t Panic. We Are Not Running Out of Food in Vice News:

 “Transition will have to happen much faster than it ever has before,” said Alexis H. Bateman, also a researcher at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics. She’s optimistic that even the arch capitalists who design supply chains now have a goal beyond maximizing profit. “When every player in the supply chain is hurting [there’s] sort of a new responsibility—a new value base that’s being generated,” she told me.

April 2020:

 Supply chain transparency: Technology, partnership and progress in Tech Target:

 “There’s a ton of gaps,” said Alexis Bateman, director of MIT’s Sustainable Supply Chains initiative — gaps in what’s collected at each site, which itself depends on the information that brand-name companies choose to reveal about factors such as total emissions or labor practices at overseas factories.

“That needs to be collected at each supplier, whatever tier they’re at, and that’s a very manual process,” Bateman said.

March 2020:

There’s plenty of toilet paper, but good luck finding it in Seattle Times:

 “The same thing happened in China, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia a few weeks ago, where people were told to stay home and everyone went out and bought,” Bateman, the MIT researcher, said. “What happened was this huge demand curve went way up. Buyers sent out huge distress signals to buy more and more and more. And now (those countries) have excess inventory because production was ramped up to meet demand. Now supermarkets are overflowing with toilet paper.”

What will tomorrow’s supply chain look like? in Bed Times:

 “The concept of supply chain transparency was virtually unknown 15 years ago, yet today it commands the attention of mid- and senior-level managers across a broad spectrum of companies and industries,” say Alexis Bateman, director of MIT Sustainable Supply Chains

Feb 2020:

Supply Chain Transparency, Explained, in Sloan Management Ideas Made to Matter:

According to Alexis Bateman, research scientist and director of MIT Sustainable Supply Chains at the MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics, there are two elements to supply chain transparency:

– Visibility: Accurately identifying and collecting data from all links in your supply chain.

– Disclosure: Communicating that information, both internally and externally, at the level of detail required or desired.