How to build a green supply chain

Engaging with sustainable suppliers could help your business demonstrate a commitment to the environment and improving working conditions throughout your supply chain by providing environmentally friendly alternatives to materials, ingredients, and essentials such as packaging.

Small businesses are being encouraged by Government to take action and become more sustainable through initiatives such as Together for our Planet and the SME Climate Hub designed to help the UK reach its net zero target by 2050.

Developing a green supply chain is an excellent way to achieve this.

Smaller businesses have the chance to take the lead by switching to green supply chains that minimise their environmental impact, reduce waste, and operate in more sustainable and ethical ways.

Working to make your business activities more sustainable could also attract new customers with 83% of UK adults saying they would be more likely to engage with a business that sources their products locally, and 55% willing to pay more for ethically sourced goods according to a 2021 SAP survey.

As well as increased customer interaction, developing a green supply chain could reduce your environmental impact, aid in sourcing more ethical raw materials, improving working conditions for supply chain employees, and increasing operational efficiency.

A green supply chain can operate across multiple industries, from food to clothing to transport and you can assess any green claims by suppliers by using the CMA's green claims checklist to make sure they are valid.

Further resources on building a green supply chain

We've included links to a selected sample of UK and international sustainable suppliers, directories and trade sites:

Other potential sustainable supplier guidance can be found through business groups such as the Federation of Small Businesses and the British Chambers of Commerce, which provide guidance on assessing supply chains.

The FSB highlights the importance of reviewing supply chains in their free workbook, as well as in their resources on procurement and supply chain benefits.

They do not endorse or provide suggestions of sustainable suppliers.

Reference to any organisation, business and event on this page does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation from the British Business Bank or the UK Government. Whilst we make reasonable efforts to keep the information on this page up to date, we do not guarantee or warrant (implied or otherwise) that it is current, accurate or complete. The information is intended for general information purposes only and does not take into account your personal situation, nor does it constitute legal, financial, tax or other professional advice. You should always consider whether the information is applicable to your particular circumstances and, where appropriate, seek professional or specialist advice or support.

Green Decoder

Featuring a glossary of sustainable terms curated in partnership with the Nottingham Business School, Nottingham Trent University, our green decoder is helping smaller businesses decipher the terminology surrounding decarbonisation.

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