Hello and welcome to the September edition of ASI. Greetings from Karen Parker, the new editor of ASI! I look forward to sharing with you the latest trends and innovations in the adhesives and sealants industry.

This month, ASI is featuring a roundtable discussion with experts from Barentz, Palmer Holland, and Univar Solutions who talk about the challenges companies face in the current economic and geo-political climate. This discussion could not be more relevant. In our inter-connected world, impacts in one sphere of influence or concern reverberate out to affect many others. Along that line, I recently read something interesting that discusses the global supply chain and sustainability.

The MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics (MIT CTL) just released the 2022 State of the Supply Chain Sustainability report. The report explores how supply chain sustainability (SCS) practices are implemented around the globe and the impact that has on industry and the planet. The report surveyed over 3,300 international supply chain professionals in late 2021. Researchers then combined those results with 15 executive interviews and supported that data with news and social media content analysis from the same year. The MIT Center for Transportation & Logistics (MIT CTL) and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) collaborated on data collection. The report aims to help industry professionals make more effective and informed decisions.

What exactly is SCS? The report defines it as “the management of environmental and social impacts within and across networks consisting of suppliers, manufacturers, distributors, and customers in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This spans every phase of the supply chain, from raw material sourcing and extraction to product use and end of product life.”

The survey found that the pressure to support SCS is steadily increasing, and focus is shifting more to the environmental dimensions of SCS. Climate change mitigation and natural resource/biodiversity conservation saw the biggest increase in interest in 2021 (compared to 2020), while interest in supply chain circularity also increased. Overall, attention to SCS efforts are on the rise. According to the study, company executives and corporate buyers are the ones currently advocating for sustainability initiatives. Why? Because customers want products from companies that are committed to sustainability.

One interesting finding of the survey involves how respondents view COVID-19 and its impact on their sustainability efforts. When asked if their firm’s commitment to supply chain sustainability had changed since the start of COVID-19, 30% said it had increased and 47% said it had stayed about the same. Only 8% said it had decreased. Within the executive interview portion of the survey, several respondents explained why. The report summarized, “We heard several respondents describe how the pandemic actually brought supply chain management—and in particular, supply chain transparency and resilience to the fore in a way that it never had before. Previously, global supply chains simply ran silently and unseen in the background of business operations and day-to-day life. In 2020, we began to see emerging evidence of firms shoring up—and even accelerating—their SCS efforts as a risk management measure and a way to strengthen their supply chain resilience. And in 2021, we see this idea spreading and taking hold more broadly.” I think this illustrates so clearly the need for businesses to see themselves as part of a global network that works together to improve itself as a whole, instead of individual organizations focused on improving their own processes.

Besides the distributor roundtable, this issue also features part two of the paper that won the Carl Dahlquist Award at Tape Week, an Elkem article about the use of RCAs to create differential release force, an Excelitas Technologies article explaining how UV curing technology is changing EV battery production, and much more. I hope you enjoy reading it, and please reach out to me at parkerk@bnpmedia.com. I would love to hear from you!