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    Supply Chain Requirements in a Circular Economy

    Locally Crafted Goods and Services Australia looks at Supply Chain from an overall perspective.  We are positioned in the supply chain as a service provider supporting local business. Locally Crafted focuses on local and sustainable production and services, bridging the gap between suppliers and consumers involving an integrated full circle supply chain strategy.

    What Does a Supply Chain Need in a Circular Economy?

    Locally Crafted saw a gap in the market between local suppliers and conscious purchasing amongst consumers. Investigation revealed globalisation has a negative impact on local business, with cheaper imports flooding the market (affecting sales and increasing barriers of entry) and businesses looking offshore for cheaper labour for services.  Further investigation showed the current market is virtually a one-directional supply chain, with manufacturers and consumers sending vast amounts of waste to landfill either directly or indirectly.  Locally Crafted viewed the problem due to limited support and awareness relating to suppliers and consumers. Consumers are often unaware of either the consequences of their buying behaviour or sustainable alternatives.

    Locally Crafted created the B2B2C platform where consumers can view and purchase goods and services in a marketplace purely for local eco-sustainable suppliers.  Suppliers are offered support from Locally Crafted and industry associations to boost business, link with other suppliers to obtain materials that can be re-used or create a partnership.  Consumers are offered a platform to view ethical businesses to purchase goods and services and obtain information to educate and create awareness. The B2B2C platform forms a base to a supply chain with the view for the network to expand organically amongst users.   

    Locally Crafted viewed the strength of the supply chain in a circular economy revolved around the need for support and awareness through a dedicated portal.  It was found that support was offered to business although generally through a 1 to 1 basis, businesses where left to go it alone in a pool of competitors, making it hard to be singled out from consumers.  The portal is designed to increase views for members whereby increasing sales and the local economy. 

    To increase resilience in a circular supply chain, Locally Crafted suggests a number of temporarily and permanent measures, giving the supply chain support it needs to convert into a sustainable one.

    It is almost obvious that without mandatory regulations the existing mindset regarding supply chain will not change in the current economic supply and demand state.  Locally Crafted suggests government support is required to alter the current economic situation based on ‘share’, ‘maintain/prolong’, ‘reuse/redistribute’, ‘refurbish/remanufacture’ and ‘recycle’.  Governmental laws and incentives can establish a mandatory percentage of a company’s production to be sustainable.  It has been shown that rebates positively affect production of eco-alternatives whilst becoming more affordable whereby increasing supply and demand.

    Quality product standards and peace of mind amongst consumers needs to be guaranteed by a certification process, whereby each player within its circular supply chain is verified. Certification must not only be based on the implementation of an eco-friendly or recycling based production or service provider, but also on efforts made to reduce landfill by working with other businesses.  Government Investment support can be made to increase renewable energy resources and business mentality to strengthen a supply chain rather than the overwhelmingly support of price based consumerism. 

    Locally Crafted suggests that supply chain roundtables not only address business and governmental involvement and also include educational and research departments to discuss the bigger picture of a circular supply chain.  Research labs can start working on specific issues, opportunities and shortcomings around bio-mimicry, bio-degradable alternatives etc. and where education institutions can look into educational requirements around local manufacturing of sustainable production and service providing.

    Overall, globalisation has increased competition where heavy reliance is on overseas production and manufacturing offering unmatched pricing and inaccessible goods.  The impact to local manufacturing and skills has been substantial, consumer and business purchasing has become unbalanced due to focus on price.  Locally Crafted’s view is Australia requires a more balanced economy through education and government support, focusing on dynamism, flexibility, risk management and incentives to strengthen local supply chains.

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