COVID-19 Is A Lesson In How To Build Climate Resilient Value Chains

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Devon Lake Director, Sustainability Solutions - Americas

Our food and beverage value chains have been tested by COVID-19 and faced severe disruptions. But the silver lining is that it highlighted where and how value chains are vulnerable. Making unknowns known is inherently valuable. As companies look to recover, they can apply what they’ve learned to increase resilience — both for managing ongoing pandemic challenges and preparing for the system-wide risks of a climate that is already changing.

The days of being able to optimize for efficiency assuming a relatively static state are done. A major contributor to why we saw shortages during the COVID-19 pandemic is the rise in lean global supply chains optimized for efficiency and informed by forecasting based on historical data more than scenario planning for major disruptions.

As COVID-19 is highlighting the need to build both resilient and efficient value chains, the historically divergent priorities between chief operating officers and chief sustainability officers are now converging. Operational priorities of cost, lead-time, risk, and innovation are colliding with sustainability goals to decarbonize, meet stakeholder demands for increased visibility, and make a positive impact. The work ahead is to optimize across all these priorities by increasing visibility, redundancy, agility, risk mitigation and collaboration.

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