Supply Chain Sustainability Trends in Africa

Sustainability is a key feature in current supply chain trends, and businesses are jumping on board, even here in Africa.

Why won’t they though? As much as people think it’s capital-intensive and uncalled for, it pays for itself, and customers increasingly demand it.

In this article, we will explore the major sustainability trends shaping the world of supply chains and how businesses are taking advantage of them.


1. Circular Supply Chain

Most supply chains are ditching the linear model for a circular one, allowing them to reuse the end products.

With the rising cost of raw materials and the inflation crisis griping the world, especially in Africa, resuing the end products after users are done with them is a great option for companies looking to save costs.

For example, in Africa, especially in the Western region, bottling companies are always buying back bottles, glass or plastic from their customers to recycle and reuse them to serve their customers.

The bottles are often broken down and moulded again through a series of steps, but it saves the company the cost of starting afresh with raw materials and transportation.

This type of practice not only helps the supply chain save costs. It helps the supply chain avoid over-reliance on suppliers for raw materials, strengthening its resilience.


2. More Reliance on Supply Chain as a Service (ScaaS)

As businesses look to increase end-to-end visibility and reduce the volatility of their supply chains, supply chain managers rely more on SCaaS platforms and businesses to achieve these goals.

SCaaS are platforms or businesses that help businesses facilitate their supply chains.

This includes outsourcing the logistics arm of the supply chain or adapting cloud-based technology to build the digital supply chain.

A good example of SCaaS In Africa is crowdsourced logistics, which are rising within the continent.

SCaaS helps businesses outsource aspects of their supply chains they cannot handle efficiently, whether the logistics, inventory, or logistics arm.

Outsourcing these processes helps the supply chain become more productive and utilize its resources more efficiently.


3. Sustainable Packaging

In trying to reduce the impact of their supply chain on the environment, businesses in Africa are beginning to consider sustainable packaging as an option.

An example of such a business is SPAR South Africa, which has introduced sustainable packaging for its branded goods since 2021. The company has also worked to reduce the use of plastic and its waste waste all through its supply chain.

Sustainable packaging is perhaps more important to African businesses because of the pressure to conserve the environment.

After all, it is home to one of the world’s most ecologically diverse regions.

Another company championing sustainable packaging is the Safari Brewery in Kenya.


4. Supply Chain Transparency

Still reeling from the recent impact of the pandemic, businesses and their supply chains are now more eager to integrate transparency into every facet of their supply chain, which will help curb a lot of blind operations across their supply chains, but it helps them in sustainability as well.

Supply chain transparency allows customers and other stakeholders to have first-hand information on what is happening across the supply chain and how businesses leverage their networks to produce and deliver their products.

With customers increasingly keen on where their product comes from, supply chain transparency does it lot to quell that curiosity.

Supply chain transparency also allows businesses to identify potential weaknesses in their supply chain.

This gives them the opportunity to get in front of it before it cripples their supply chain.

5. Carbon Neutrality

Although Africa is a long way from carbon neutrality, countries within the continent are ramping up ambitious proposals that will help them achieve this.

Tunisia and Niger are among some of these countries.

In the just concluded Africa climate summit, the first of its kind, there wasn’t a lot of consensus. However, all parties agreed that carbon neutrality is an aspiration that should be seriously considered going forward.

Although the government is mainly responsible for this, in terms of policies, businesses can do their part as well.

International brands like Coca-Cola and Shell, with a substantial presence on the continent, are already pushing for sustainability practices that will help achieve this.


Although sustainability is a fresh concept in Africa, it is quickly becoming a major focus. These five supply chain sustainability trends are the direction businesses and industries are taking to achieve their goals on the continent.