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GS1 Portugal: Creating a sustainable supply chain

By working with Accenture, Portuguese consumer goods manufacturers were able to identify inefficiencies in the industry supply chain.


Better collaboration between companies will not only drive efficiency, it will help to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint—another example of the correlation between sustainable business practices and high performance.

GS1 Portugal is a forum of consumer goods manufacturers and retailers that aims to promote and reinforce good management practices and standardized business processes. It forms part the global GS1 organization.

As responsible companies, the members of GS1 Portugal were aware of their industry’s contribution to global greenhouse gases. They therefore wanted to investigate ways that they could facilitate collaboration between retailers and producers of goods being transported around Portugal optimize the use of transport and reduce carbon emissions.

GS1 Portugal chose to work with Accenture because it combined in-depth knowledge of the local retail and consumer goods industry, is a leading supply chain management provider and has a good understanding of the role that sustainability initiatives can play in generating efficiencies. In particular, Accenture’s experience in modeling carbon-reduction scenarios was important.


Accenture leveraged its experience in supply chain sustainability, transport and network optimization to help identify the variables in the complex logistics of the Portuguese consumer goods industry. These variables included carbon emissions, distances travelled, cargo load, lead time, occupation rates, network loads and productive time. In addition to Accenture, 12 major consumer goods companies and three major retailers cooperated in the 18-month study. Accenture was also responsible for ensuring the confidentiality of information.

Accenture used existing proprietary tools, including its carbon calculator and various sustainable supply chain offerings, to help reduce risk and shorten the time taken to generate results. To pass on the necessary skills, Accenture led a workshop with the appropriate stakeholders to address implementing the recommendations in the future.

At the workshop, Accenture delivered a comprehensive analysis of the current inward-bound transportation system that included an assessment of the opportunities for better collaboration across the supply chain, plus their relative impacts on the total carbon footprint. These opportunities represented a potential reduction in CO2 emissions of between 15 and 48 percent, and transport cost savings of between 8 and 27 percent.

This analysis serves as another indication of the correlation between sustainable business practices and high performance.