This article is aimed at providing tips to businesses within agricultural supply chains on how to create a sustainable workforce and improve sustainability to gain a competitive advantage. Businesses are made up of people. The thinking that is being encouraged in this article is to focus on the people (within businesses) and use them to create clean processes for business sustainability.
Let’s simply think of agricultural supply chains as comprising of agricultural businesses, engaging with one another for a common cause. Each business internal element is made up of people (employees and a management) with different roles. These individuals can be used to create a sustainable business workforce in several ways as explained below.
First and foremost, each business management should come to terms with business sustainability issues and commit to business environmental sustainability improvements so that employees can follow suit. Why is this so? Given the obvious fact that there are levels of hierarchy in every business and tasks are delegated from top management, passing through managers and supervisors and so on, reaching employees at the lower end. If an agricultural business is to be environmentally responsible in the way it operates, top management drives such ambition. And this is normally demonstrated through the use of sustainability policies approved by management.
In addition, employees should be provided with an up-to-date knowledge of a business environmental goal. Communication mediums such as newsletters, meetings, and board postings can be used to convey a business goal to employees. These mediums can be used to make employees aware of a business sustainability commitment, driving them to create sustainable business processes.
Secondly, training is very important. A workforce that is to be sustainable should be conditioned to think in an eco-friendly way at all times. One good way to achieve this is through the use of sustainability training programs. This can be used to make employees conversant with local, regional or international sustainability processes, programs, and strategies that are relevant to the business in question.
Thirdly, every business department should be involved in any sustainable journey that a business wishes to embark on. This is crucial because sustainability requires a collective effort and everyone should have a role to play in it. There are also benefits associated with sustainability engagements. For example, it brings out employees’ creativity.
Fourthly, sustainability is about making continual efforts to sustainability improvements. As a result, business programs, strategies and policies and so on should be updated from time to time. This can put a business at the forefront of market innovations.
Having briefly described four internal steps needed to create a sustainable workforce, it is vitally important to note that there are certain environmental challenges that supply chain businesses do face that are external to them. These can be transferred across businesses within supply chains unconsciously if care is not taken. For example, a bad business tradition and behavior might be transferred across supply chains if the contact rates between businesses are high. As a result, it is vitally important for each business management within agricultural supply chains to develop eco-friendly policies, compelling all associates to uphold when dealing with them.