A whitepaper from supplier collaboration expert Supply Pilot uncovers unique financial insight for brands and retailers

  • The adoption of sustainable practices isn’t just the right thing to do, it also drives better financial performance for brands and retailers and is responsible for approximately 20% of a business’ financial results*.
  • The sustainability practice that impacts environmental, operational and financial performance the most is supplier collaboration — which helps drive more sustainable products and supply chains.
  • ‘Moral motivation’ is the biggest driver for businesses adopting sustainable practices.
  • The research marks the rebrand of Solutions for Retail Brands (S4RB) to Supply Pilot.

The findings – which have been published and further explained in the company’s latest white paper titled “from intention to action” – mark the first time that sustainability operational performance has been so deeply measured to assess business performance for retailers and brands.

Data captured by the supply chain data specialist shows that sustainability is responsible for approximately 20% of a business’ financial results*, with supplier collaboration the most effective sustainable practice that businesses can undertake, when compared against practices such as product design, process design and customer collaboration. Supplier collaboration emphasises the need for brands and retailers to proactively engage with their suppliers, share data, establish mutual understandings of responsibility around sustainability requirements, and develop products that support brand sustainability goals.

The study’s findings do not support the prevailing view that there is a trade-off between environmental performance and financial performance. As such, there should be less hesitation and more commitment to sustainability adoption at a board level within retail.

The study’s results also reveal that ‘moral motivation’ is the biggest driver for companies looking to be more sustainable, with 87% of brands pointing to ‘environmental concern’ and 88% governed by ‘doing the right thing’.

James Butcher, CEO at Supply Pilot, said: “The study indicates that further improving sustainable performance can have a positive impact on financial performance. The best way to overcome the complexity of becoming more sustainable is through supplier collaboration.

“We’ve seen from our work alongside brands such as John Lewis and Partners, Co-Op and Walgreens Boots Alliance just how beneficial sustainable practices can be for businesses’ bottom lines, and the data from this research bears that out.

“For example, in the packaging world, a reduction in the amount of packaging needed overall can first be achieved by collecting packaging content data and then holding suppliers accountable for actionable steps taken over time.”

Further insights unpacked from the white paper reveal:

  • There is more opportunity to educate leaders on the positive financial impact of sustainable practices. As a result, there should be less hesitation and more commitment to sustainable business practices at a board level.
  • Sustainability can be a competitive advantage that drives organisational performance.
  • A data-driven, people-centric approach to sustainability will have the most success as environmental and social responsibility become increasingly important over the next decade.

The white paper marks the business’ rebrand from Solutions for Retail Brands (S4RB) to Supply Pilot, highlighting its commitment to helping businesses accelerate their journeys to becoming more successful and sustainable through supplier collaboration and engagement.

James said: “The rebrand to Supply Pilot is the start of an exciting new era for us. We wanted our new name and identity to reflect our ambition to help brands more easily and quickly progress on their sustainability journey. This rebrand is about making supplier collaboration accessible to more businesses by providing a simple framework to turn intention into action, and a platform that facilitates the scale of the modern supply chain.”

To download “From intention to action” please visit

Written by Dominy Jones