Donating Goods: A Sustainable, Socially Responsible Solution to Excess Inventory

26 05 2023

By Romaine Seguin from Chain Store Age • Reposted: March 26, 2023

The retail industry is facing an excess inventory crisis. Whether it’s inflation, supply chain issues, or higher-than-anticipated returns, retailers are in a precarious position when it comes to a glut of merchandise that cannot be sold. 

A 2022 report from AD Global Supply Chain Research estimates as much as 8% of stock, worth an astounding $163 billion, goes to waste every year. Not only is this bad for business, but it also creates an enormous environmental impact from the stock that gets discarded.

For retailers, the growing issue of product waste cannot be ignored. According to McKinsey, companies that are sustainability leaders consistently outperform the market in both the medium and long term. As a result, many retailers are putting greater focus on their ESG goals and becoming more thoughtful and strategic about product waste. What we’re seeing as a result is the opportunity to help people in need while solving a massive business challenge. 

While excess inventory is a complex issue, there is a turnkey solution for retailers to transform the fate of these goods into a cost-effective, efficient and sustainable way to help people in need. With an in-kind donation program, companies can ensure that they are making the best use of inventory that cannot be sold for a variety of reasons (customer returns, out-of-season items, dead stock, etc.).  

Whether it’s clothing, housewares, toiletries, school supplies, and even furniture and appliances, donating these goods to nonprofit organizations that serve those who are economically disadvantaged has a substantial impact on both the environment and the people who receive the items—a win/win/win all around.

To help solve their inventory problems, more than 400 of the world’s best-known companies (Amazon, Walmart, Gap Inc., and many more) work with Good360 for a turnkey solution from a single partner. Good360 distributes this donated product through our network of 100,000-plus pre-qualified and vetted nonprofit partners that serve a variety of causes, including homelessness, foster families, veterans’ services, natural disaster recovery and many more. 

Good360’s stringent vetting process helps protect the brands we work with by ensuring that the donated items don’t end up on the secondary market.  Once the product is sent to the nonprofits, it is then distributed within the communities they serve.  For the donors, Good360 manages all the logistics and finds the appropriate nonprofit that has indicated a need for the items. 

Once the nonprofit distributes the donated goods, we report back on the impact the donation has made so donors know exactly where it went and who it helped.  So, whether it’s toys for a holiday drive, mattresses for a homeless shelter, or even automotive supplies for a nonprofit technical school in an underserved community, every donation has a unique and impactful story behind it, and we make sure that story is told.

To accommodate a wide range of both donor company and nonprofit needs, Good360 has developed a number of product philanthropy solutions. For example, Good360 matches individual store or distribution center locations with nearby nonprofits to help drive local impact with donated goods and build bonds with the community. 

Additionally, Good360 brings large donations into our own distribution centers for sorting and reconfiguration in order to best meet nonprofit needs– from a single carton of personal hygiene items to full semi-truckloads of mattresses.

By making product donation placement and distribution seamless for donors, Good360 helps retailers, brands, and manufacturers solve the business challenges around unsellable inventory, demonstrate their leadership in responsible and sustainable business practices, and increase their social impact.

In many cases, donating product is a more economical decision than disposing of the goods. There may also be enhanced tax benefits, and we encourage companies to explore these options with their tax experts.

The bottom line: Retailers should consider donating excess inventory to help individuals facing challenging life circumstances get the goods they need. This way not only are they generating hope, but the products are given a new life, reducing waste, and helping build resilient communities for the future.

To see the original post, follow this link:


Prioritizing Supply Chain Transparency Offers Food Brands Many Benefits

10 05 2023

By Paul Damaren, Executive Vice President, Business Development at RizePoint

Did you know that a single contaminated product could ruin your brand’s reputation and harm your customers? It’s a terrifying thought, but one that food brands must be prepared for. That’s where supply chain transparency comes in. By prioritizing transparency, brands can identify and reduce risks, improve supplier relationships, and meet stakeholder demand. In this article, we’ll explore the many benefits of prioritizing supply chain transparency for food brands.

In the food industry, transparency is key. Consumers want to know where their food is coming from, how it’s sourced, and whether it’s safe to eat. That’s why supply chain transparency is so important – it allows food brands to track their products from the point of origin to the point of consumption, ensuring safety and quality every step of the way.

Multiple food brands have successfully implemented supply chain transparency and benefited from doing so. For instance, in 2015, Chipotle suffered a series of foodborne illness outbreaks that sickened hundreds of customers and led to a decline in sales. In response, the company launched a transparency initiative to improve the safety and quality of its food. As part of this initiative, Chipotle began using software to track ingredients from farm to restaurant, implemented new food safety protocols, and provided more information to customers about the sourcing and preparation of its food. The initiative helped restore customer confidence in the brand and led to a rebound in sales.

Walmart also announced a new initiative to improve supply chain transparency for its food suppliers. As part of this initiative, the company began requiring suppliers to provide more information about the origins and production methods of their products, and to adhere to stricter food safety and animal welfare standards. The initiative helped Walmart identify and address potential risks in its supply chain, improve the quality and safety of its products, and meet the demands of its customers for more sustainable and ethical food.

Improving supply chain transparency is a smart business move that can help food brands: 

  • Identify and reduce risk. Accepting food deliveries comes with risks, but you can reduce these risks with more transparency all along your supply chain. Since just one contaminated product could sicken your customers and ruin your brand’s reputation, improving your supply chain visibility can provide critical insights into potential risk factors. For instance, if there are product recalls, you’ll want accurate information about whether your deliveries were impacted. Better visibility can tell you whether your suppliers experienced transportation delays, which could result in perishable foods spoiling. Even weather-related events, like storms or flooding, could contaminate products with more bacterial growth and migration increasing foodborne illness risks. And if your suppliers don’t prioritize food safety and quality, their carelessness around food safety protocols – such as cross-contaminating, not holding foods at proper temps, etc. – could potentially harm your customers (and your business). Improving visibility can help protect your products, customers, and business.
  • Make smarter, data-driven decisions. In the past, food brands have relied on manual systems – such as paper files and Excel spreadsheets – to manage their food safety and quality programs. Using these outdated systems means that food brands can’t get a holistic, real-time look at their data across their organization and throughout their supply chain. Instead, brands should pivot and use tech solutions, which are improving food safety and quality exponentially. Tech tools allow food brands to centralize data for a single source of truth, and provide valuable, real-time analytics to help brand leaders make smarter, more informed decisions. Brands can use these insights to reduce risks, solve problems, anticipate disruptions, select vendors, optimize operations, and maximize safety.
  • Prioritize ESG initiatives. More food brands are prioritizing ESG efforts, partly due to customer, employee, and investor demands, and partly because it’s the right thing to do. A growing number of organizations are wisely reducing their environmental impact, prioritizing sustainability, committing to DEI efforts, and buying responsibly sourced products. Organizations can’t say they’re prioritizing ESG if they’re working with vendors that don’t, so brands are gravitating towards suppliers with ESG values that align with their own. Another positive change is that food brands are using tech tools to determine whether their suppliers are properly certified. This helps ensure that brands are only working with suppliers that prioritize ESG initiatives – as well as safety, quality, transparency, and compliance.
  • Improve KPIs. Increasing supply chain transparency can significantly improve key performance indicators (KPIs), including sales, profits, investments, and customer loyalty. As more consumers gravitate towards brands that operate safely, sustainably, and ethically, sharing information about your supply chain can help you improve important metrics, such as increasing profits 2% to 10%.
  • Maximize performance. Tech tools provide a clear view of inventory, potential disruptors, and activity through every step of the supply chain, which allows brands to be more agile, flexible, responsive, and resilient. Collecting and analyzing real-time data from the point of origin to the point of consumption can help brands boost safety and quality, improve compliance, and maximize performance. Supply chain transparency also helps create more resilient operations. Armed with critical insights and data, brands can make strategic decisions, such as switching to different suppliers when their regular suppliers are impacted by transportation delays, weather events, or other disruptors.
  • Meet consumer demands. Recently, consumers have become more concerned about social issues. They want to know where their food is coming from, how it’s been sourced, how sustainable companies are, and if the animals are being treated humanely. Additionally, they want to support organizations that are committed to fair labor practices and DEI. Therefore, it’s not surprising that a whopping 94% of consumers said they’d be more loyal to brands that offer supply chain transparency.
  • Communicate more effectively with suppliers. Food brands must communicate regularly with each of their many suppliers. Consider, for instance, a global fast food brand. There are so many different suppliers necessary to supply every component of every meal around the world that trying to track their supply chain manually would be overwhelming and time-consuming. However, using tech tools to improve supply chain transparency provides key insights about potential disruptors that could negatively impact incoming products. You’ll need to know about supply chain disruptions, potential weather events that could limit products (and/or cause prices to spike), and food safety breaches (such as a farm being contaminated by bacteria or chemicals). Therefore, ongoing communication – and collaboration – with your suppliers is essential. Tech tools – like the cloud, quality management software, artificial intelligence, etc. – are revolutionizing food brands’ ability to communicate with their suppliers across the supply chain to ensure that everyone’s working together to maximize safety and quality.
  • Drive positive industry-wide change. You’ve likely heard the saying that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. The same could be said for food safety efforts. If food brands continue to do the same thing over and over (e.g., try to manage food safety efforts with paper files and Excel spreadsheets), we’ll never improve safety, quality, and compliance industry wide. On the other hand, when your organization (and suppliers) use tech solutions to improve visibility across the supply chain, you’ll drive positive changes not only within your company, but throughout the industry. And that’s a major win.

Key stakeholders – including customers, employees, and investors – want to work with responsible organizations. They’re more likely to support brands that provide safe food, of course, but who are also concerned about the greater good: sustainability, fair business practices, ethical treatment of people and animals, ESG, and DEI. It’s no longer enough for your brand to commit to these things – it’s also essential that you align with suppliers that do, as well. Prove your commitment by embracing transparency across your supply chain.

To see the original post, follow this link:

Markets Will Reward Brands That Are De-Risking Their Supply Chains

10 04 2023

Image: Sam Lion

While the volatility of economic change around us can be distracting, one thing remains clear: A new generation of expectations is shifting business for good. By Del Hudson from Sustainable Life Media • Reposted: April 10, 2023

There has been a rapid recent shift from Scope 3 emissions measurement and managementas a “nice-to-have” to a requirement for doing business responsibly. If your brand intends to lead in the markets of tomorrow, you must understand your supply chain and be reducing impacts now. It is no longer tenable to not know the environmental and social implications across the production lifecycle. With disclosure regulations at play across the globe, ESG reporting is increasingly being legally mandated. Examples include the EU’s recently adopted Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, the global International Sustainability Standards Board; and the SEC’s proposed ESG disclosure mandate in the US.

Government regulators are playing a key role in shaping how we address climate change; however, influential businesses have a chance to ensure these requirements speak to the metrics that make a true impact. Policy is a catalytic vehicle for change. As a business community, we should be embracing it as a means to address the existential threat of the climate crisis — to not do so would be irresponsible and dangerous. Recognizing the tension in the system among trade organizations, policymakers and corporations doesn’t mean it can’t be done right. For businesses and brands, creating incentives around impact reductionthat tie clearly to company goals is a key opportunity for transformative action.

It’s no secret that multiple industries have reaped the rewards of a broken economic model that relies on extractive and exploitative practices that continue to harm people and the planet. Consumer goods is one of those industries; and responsible leaders recognize it is time for a new system — one that transforms design and consumption and imagines a new way of doing profitable business. Over two-thirds of US consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products. Globally, that number is just over a third — though that number rises to 39 percent for Gen Z and 42 percent for millennials. Capital markets will reward those that are de-risking their supply chains; and employees want to work where purpose and responsibility matters.

The argument that without perfect data we can’t do this work ignores the reality that science is always evolving. We must move forward with urgency, using the significant directional data that already exist and show where the key issues and intervention opportunities lie. Taking accountability for the full product lifecycle and impacts up and down the value chain is the only way to achieve meaningful ESG performance. It’s not about marketing single environmental or social attributes of a product. It’s not just reducing impact in owned operations while ignoring the manufacturing impact or material inputs of the end product. It’s believing that tomorrow’s customers will want (and deserve) something different than they get today.

This is hard, complex work; it won’t be completed in my lifetime. But we must move rapidly to accurately understand impact and take action with urgency. And we must be ready to learn and change as we know more. The tools to begin this work already exist. Smart businesses already see their futures. And while the volatility of economic change around us can be distracting, one thing remains clear: A new generation of expectations is shifting business for good.

To see the original post, follow this link: