Multiplying Our Impact
Engaging With Suppliers
Cox is committed to creating a more sustainable supply chain, and we embrace the opportunity to be a catalyst for improved environmental performance by our business partners. We work with hundreds of thousands of small and medium businesses (SMBs) as customers and suppliers. By influencing these organizations to employ best-in-class sustainable business practices, we can contribute to improved environmental performance across the U.S. economy. When selecting suppliers, we adhere to environmentally preferred purchasing principles and, whenever possible, give preference to partners that are committed to:
- Reduction of energy and water used in manufacturing and distribution
- Affirmative actions to prevent the creation of air and/or water pollution and waste products
- Providing recycled and/or recyclable content in products and packaging and other remanufacturing
- Investments in alternative energy sources for manufacturing and distribution
- Employing environmentally friendly transportation practices
We recognize that compliance with these principles is easier for some businesses than others. To better understand opportunities for improvement and obstacles to success, in 2014 we launched our inaugural nationwide survey of SMB leaders. In 2015 we followed up with our second annual survey. Although there was relatively little change in the percentage of businesses that have implemented sustainable business practices since 2014, the survey revealed other findings that make us hopeful for the future. One key takeaway: Millennials are leading the way when it comes to sustainability. They are both more knowledgeable and more passionate about enhancing environmental practices within their organizations than other age groups – but often feel they lack the influence needed to create meaningful change.
The data suggests that, as Millennials assume greater leadership roles within their organizations, we can anticipate an increased focus on conservation, energy efficiency and environmental stewardship among SMBs. The survey found that more than one-third of SMBs have not yet implemented a company or employee-based program to reduce energy, promote recycling or undertake other sustainable business practices. In addition to concerns about the cost of these investments, many SMB leaders express a desire for further information about opportunities and potential benefits.
Our objective is to drive change by identifying opportunities to educate and engage our business partners about ways they can strengthen their organizations through sustainability. Our own experience through Cox Conserves is that sustainability is as good for our business as it is for the environment. We will continue an ongoing dialogue with business partners to share that message, and collaborate to spotlight the opportunities for firms to strengthen their bottom line as they enhance environmental performance.