Supply Chain

The majority of our products are manufactured by third-party entities, primarily in Asia. In 2013, we began domestic manufacturing of cold cups at the Chattanooga, TN, factory of our sister company, WNA. This is exciting because not only do we expect domestic manufacturing to reduce our transportation impact, but it will also allow us easier access and greater insight into the manufacturing process.

Challenges and Opportunities

We know that product manufacturing accounts for 20% of our products’ lifecycle impact. The challenges in addressing these impacts are similar to any company trying to exert influence across the value chain. We do not own the factories so decisions regarding equipment, operations, or human resources are not ours to make. Eco-Products strives to work with the most efficient suppliers across all product lines to achieve quality and cost targets. While best manufacturing practices help ensure efficient use of resources, portions of the manufacturing process remain resource intensive. The strong relationships we’ve developed with our suppliers helps enable us to engage with them to identify opportunities for further improvement and ensure they recognize the importance of preserving resources whenever and however possible.

Another aspect of our supply chain impact is the transportation of our products. Ocean freight accounts for about 11% of our product carbon footprint. As we increase the amount of domestic manufacturing, we hope this number will continue to decline. In the past, we have offset the ocean freight component of our footprint. As business has grown, it has become cost prohibitive to do this for all of our products. Our analysis shows that raw materials and manufacturing have a much bigger environmental impact than transportation. Therefore, our commitments for 2014 focus on product design and manufacturing.

Regarding our manufacturing impacts, we believe it is important to convey to our suppliers that environmental and social responsibility is a priority for Eco-Products, and that we expect our business partners to operate accordingly. As a first step, in 2014 we will draft a supplier sustainability code of conduct and engage with key suppliers to get feedback and understand potential concerns. In 2015, we will finalize the code and expect our manufacturers to sign it (or develop a plan for being able to sign it). In 2016, we will incorporate environmental and social criteria into our factory assessments. Influencing manufacturers to reduce their impact will be a long process, but with our strong supplier relationships we are hopeful it will be a fruitful one.

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Supplier Code
of Conduct

2014: We will draft a supplier sustainability code of conduct and share it with key suppliers for feedback.

2015: We will finalize code, have manufacturers sign it or develop plan for getting there.

2016: We will incorporate environmental and social criteria into factory audits.