Regeneration is a concept that addresses challenges comprehensively and provides Business and Value Chain leaders with a framework for creating and protecting long-term value. One that aligns the organization to new value drivers, encourages innovation and builds the resilience of the company.

A regenerative approach aims for complete systems changes that address the root causes of global challenges. The goal is to create the conditions for all life to thrive, generating self-sustaining positive outcomes for nature, people and the economy.

The key question which I am trying to answer in this article is: How will a regenerative approach change the Supply Chain design of a company?

Start by looking at your future business model
The underlying logic of doing business must change. That also means, that the current business model of your company will have to be revisited. You will have to find answers for the following key questions before you can start with the redesign of your Supply Chain — and turn it into a Value Chain

A Value Chain which provides value at every step of the chain. A Value Chain which solves problems, instead of creating new ones.

The key questions that could be relevant to ask:

How will you serve nature? How will you focus on preserving, restoring and enhancing ecosystems and biodiversity, minimizing the environmental footprint and actively contributing to the health of the planet’s natural systems.

How will you serve society? How will your organization commit to address social challenges, promote equity and create shared value for the wellbeing and prosperity of the served communities.

How will you produce trust and reputation? The key question here is how will you demonstrate transparency, accountability and commitment to the health of people and the planet.

How will you demonstrate your purpose? How will you be guided by a clear, inspiring mission that embeds the wellbeing of individuals, communities and the environment into the core strategy, operations and culture to create lasting positive impact.

How will you work with inner sustainability? How do you encourage yourself to engage in self-reflection and personal development to enhance self-awareness, emotional intelligence and the ability to have generative conversations about wicked problems.

Ideas on how to create regenerative value

Now that you have given your future business model a “rethink” you can now focus on how to find answers for them. There could be several ways that you could work in terms of finding answers. They will all, in one or the other way, create an impact on the design of your future Supply Chain design.

Let’s have a look at the ideas:

Circular Economy principles: A regenerative Supply Chain design aims to minimize waste and maximize resource efficiency. This means designing products and processes with a focus on reducing, reusing, and recycling materials. Products may be designed for disassembly and remanufacturing, and Supply Chains may incorporate take-back and recycling programs.

Local sourcing: Regenerative Supply Chains seek to source materials and components locally whenever possible to reduce transportation emissions and support local economies. Additionally, they emphasize sustainable sourcing practices, such as certified sustainable forestry or fair trade partnerships.

Regenerative Supply Chains consider the social impact of their operations. They may invest in local communities, create job opportunities, and support social initiatives to improve the well-being of the areas they operate in.

Healthy products, processes and packaging: Building healthy products and processes means redesigning products, processes and the Value Chains operating principles. Here it is also possible to use planet centric design, as opposed to customer centric design.

Packaging is a significant contributor to waste in Supply Chains. A regenerative approach involves the use of eco-friendly packaging materials and designs, such as reusable packaging, biodegradable materials, and packaging that can be easily recycled or repurposed.

Ecoefficiency: A regenerative Supply Chain design focuses on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This may involve optimizing transportation routes, utilizing electric or hybrid vehicles, reducing or eliminating waste in the production. Some companies have even started journeys where they “produce” water or electricity for the local community.

Collaboration and Transparency: Transparency is a key element of a regenerative approach. Companies work closely with suppliers, partners and other stakeholders to ensure that regenerative goals are met..

Flexibility and adaptability: Regenerative supply chains are often more resilient to disruptions because they are designed to be flexible and adaptable. They incorporate risk management strategies to address challenges like climate change impacts, natural disasters, or geopolitical instability.

Digital Technology: Advanced technologies like IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (Artificial Intelligence) can play a significant role in a regenerative Supply Chain. They can provide real-time data for decision-making, traceability for transparency, and optimization for efficiency.

In conclusion, a regenerative approach to Supply Chain design represents a shift towards sustainability and responsibility. It recognizes that Supply Chains can be a force for positive change by actively contributing to the regeneration of the environment and society. This approach can lead to long-term benefits for companies, including reduced costs, enhanced brand reputation, and a more resilient and sustainable business model.