Sustainability in the Supply Chain Starts With our Employees

By Swathy Ramaswamy
Jan 12, 2016 12:35 PM ET

At AT&T, sustainability is a bedrock value and we are always exploring ways to ensure it is embedded across the organization. In supply chain, we have hundreds of managers who source and distribute numerous products and services to meet our customers’ needs and ensure our operations run smoothly. We engage and educate those managers to make sure sustainability is integrated into those operations.

Engagement starts with training managers on sustainability and how it connects to the work they do. Since 2013, we have conducted annual trainings for over 200 contract managers and sourcing professionals about sustainability in the supply chain and have provided the tools necessary to engage our strategic suppliers on sustainable business practices.

Beyond direct training, we educate in innovative ways. This year, we began conducting “Lunch and Learn” sessions for our supply chain managers on emerging trends in sustainability. We explore how other companies are embedding sustainability into their business and highlight the work AT&T is doing to advance sustainability in areas like energy, packaging, fleet and transportation. These Lunch and Learn sessions also help spread the word of our 2025 supply chain sustainability goals and demonstrate how each employee can lead initiatives, such as material reduction and reuse of packaging, to help us achieve them. Through the sessions, we also launched our 5th annual supplier sustainability award nomination process to recognize suppliers who help advance our goals and reputation.

These efforts to educate our supply chain managers have a ripple effect across the entire company. Contract managers are now more knowledgeable of sustainability and can work with internal AT&T clients and suppliers toward our sustainability goals. With training and education, our culture is evolving to advance sustainable business practices from operations to supply chain and beyond.