As you prepare for peak season, don’t lose sight of a key brand differentiator: sustainable sourcing. Sustainable brands are surging in popularity, but responsible sourcing is more than a trend. It’s a necessity for the environment and for your branding as well. From your manufacturing processes to your last-mile delivery and returns practices, your corporate responsibility profile can make a huge difference in how your brand is perceived. Your supply chain logistics and delivery plan are a crucial part of responsible sourcing.


Consumers are increasingly recognizing the importance of social responsibility for both themselves and the brands they support. 64% of customers prefer to purchase from responsible brands, and more than half of shoppers are willing to pay extra for cause-focused brands, but most don’t have faith that companies will follow through on their CSR initiatives. A thoughtfully executed sourcing program serves as a brand differentiator, protects your supply chain from risk and ultimately does good for our world’s limited resources.

What is responsible sourcing?

The International Chamber of Commerce defines responsible sourcing as “a voluntary commitment by companies to take into account social and environmental considerations when managing their relationships with suppliers.” In short, responsible sourcing involves acting ethically at each step of the supply chain. While some brands are concerned that such programs are too expensive and time-consuming, companies with high environmental, social and governance (ESG) ratings are highly successful in the long run. Accenture found that in the past seven years, brands excelling in ESG programs had profits 3.7x higher than lower-ranked counterparts.  

Onboard with responsible sourcing, but don’t know where to begin? Here are a few top tips for getting started on responsible last-mile programs that do good for both the environment and your business.  

Define your focus.

Because every organization faces its own set of sourcing challenges, the focus of a responsible sourcing program varies across industries. Begin by completing a self-analysis to understand current sourcing shortcomings as well as the unique, branded opportunities your organization must attack head on.

For instance, paper producer Charmin plants trees to combat deforestation incurred by its sourcing. Outdoor apparel manufacturer Patagonia reduces material waste by sourcing recycled fibers and even reselling used Patagonia goods. A specialized, brand-aligned sourcing approach will set your CSR efforts apart from the rest.

Keep it local.

“Locally sourced” isn’t just an organic food buzzword. Not only does sourcing products nearby your brand’s manufacturing hubs and target markets enable rapid turnaround in the supply chain, it significantly cuts shipping emissions and mitigates risk of global disruptions. What’s more, it distinguishes your brand by proving you are invested in your community.

To continue this local focus in the last mile, many brands are reducing their carbon footprint by using micro fulfillment from existing storefronts to keep products close to consumers. This hyper-local delivery approach could decrease last-mile emissions up to 26% through 2025. A truly sustainable sourcing program doesn’t stop with ethically-produced products—it incorporates responsible practices all the way up to the very last mile.


Partner with a responsible 3PL provider.

It’s no secret that the rapid growth of e-commerce is taking a toll on the environment. Responsible supply chains and delivery services have never been more crucial. That’s why I’m proud to work for GEODIS City Delivery, a global leader in corporate social responsibility. GEODIS’ commitments to responsible procurement and environmental integrity have earned us a gold ranking by EcoVadis for seven straight years—placing us in the top 1% of road freight transport firms worldwide.

GEODIS City Delivery doesn’t just place high value on our own responsible sourcing practices, we work tirelessly to meet our clients’ sustainability goals. For example, one premium meal kit delivery service was succeeding in its promise to deliver sustainably raised food, but efforts to pick up and recycle consumers’ used glass packaging after delivery were falling flat. Since partnering with GEODIS City Delivery’s highly trained white glove drivers, the brand has reduced delivery errors and retrieved thousands of used meal containers from customers’ doorsteps to be repurposed and recycled. By incorporating responsible practices at each phase of the product life cycle, this meal delivery service differentiates its brand, helping customers feel like they are nourishing both their bodies and the planet.

GEODIS City Delivery is proud to be our clients’ partner for sustainable growth. Contact us today

and turn your supply chain green with a sourcing program and last mile delivery solutions that puts the planet first all the way from supplier to consumer.

Gina Anderson

Written by Gina Anderson

Vice President of Solutions & Growth. Gina Manis Anderson is an experienced entrepreneur, executive and logistics expert who’s spent more than 30 years helping Fortune 500 companies optimize their supply chains. A skilled leader and influencer, Gina has earned the respect of a large professional network through her businesses successes and passionate leadership.