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EPA Hosts International G7 Workshop on Sustainable Supply Chain Management

Release Date: 03/23/2016
Contact Information: Julia P. Valentine (News media only), valentine.julia@epa.gov, (202) 564-2663, (202) 564-4355

WASHINGTON – On March 22-23, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy welcomes public and private sector representatives from G7 nations to a workshop on sustainable supply chain management. At their annual Summit in 2015, the leaders of the G7 nations established the G7 Alliance on Resource Efficiency to address the ever increasing consumption of natural resources and production of waste. The EPA hosted workshop brings together industry representatives, senior policy-makers, researchers and interest groups to share best practices in sustainable supply chain management. The G7 includes Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with representation from the European Union.

“Manufacturing is a key driver of economic growth in the United States and the G7 nations, and materials management alone accounts for more than 40 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “Finding ways to sustainably manage the resources on which manufacturing depends supports both our economic and environmental interests.”

During the 20th century, the global use of raw materials rose at about twice the rate of population growth, and for every one percent increase in gross domestic product, the use of raw materials has risen by 0.4 percent. This unsustainable consumption of natural resources and accompanying environmental degradation increases business risks through higher material costs, as well as supply uncertainties and disruptions. Improving resource efficiency and managing materials sustainably throughout their life cycles are important elements of delivering environmental and climate protection, employment, social benefits and sustainable green growth.

The Alliance was established to serve as a forum to share knowledge, foster innovation and create new partnerships to advance resource efficiency. This includes addressing business initiatives and best practices, encouraging the use of life-cycle-based decision-making tools, supporting small and medium-sized enterprises, integrating resource efficiency into decision making in government agencies, and advancing strategies for circular and sharing economies, eco-design and remanufacturing. This effort offers an important mechanism to reduce significant GHG emissions in often overlooked areas, such as in the supply chain of the manufacturing sector, while addressing economic development and competitiveness associated with the availability of material feedstocks.

A high-level life-cycle view of products and services used by society shows that, for many sectors, the most significant impacts and resource use are in the supply chain. The workshop will focus on lessons from the auto sector that can be applied to other industry sectors, which will also be represented at the workshop. The auto sector is a useful model as it is an important part of the G7 industrial economies and also bridges the service economy. Business leaders will share their successes implementing strategies that achieve significant reductions in the use of energy, materials and water.

A key focus of the workshop will be sustainable materials management (SMM), a systemic approach to using and reusing materials more productively over their entire life cycles. Sessions will address overcoming SMM barriers and focus on opportunities such as the use of innovative materials and eco-design, information tools to foster life-cycle thinking, industry “hotspot” identification, supply chain transparency and incentives for change. Building on the results of the workshop, EPA plans to host subsequent workshops to support the global transition to SMM.

For more information on the U.S. hosted G7 Workshop:
http://www.epa.gov/smm/us-workshop-use-life-cycle-concepts-supply-chain-management-resource-efficiency-efforts-auto

To learn more about the G7 Alliance for Resource Efficiency:
https://blog.epa.gov/blog/2016/03/promoting-resource-efficiency-by-focusing-on-supply-chains/

For more information on Sustainable Materials Management:
http://www.epa.gov/smm

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