The word sustainable holds connotations of farming practices, and environmental sensitivity, all true, but only half the story.
A sustainable chain must also be commercially sustainable, and one without the other is by definition, unsustainable.
The characteristic that drive both are similar, transparency, and connections through the chain, both facilitated by the collaboration tools of the web. The outcome is increased productivity of the whole value chain.
The price deflation being experienced in the value chains supplying Australian retailers are testing the limits of Australian suppliers, and those that are surviving are dedicated to the implementation of chains that are commercially sustainable, and increasingly environmentally sustainable as consumers interest in product provenance increases.
Quietly, out of a home office, GFAP, a small chain consultancy that supplies a customised web based tool that manages value chains, to this point largely around horticulture, is flourishing. Very few pieces of produce arrive at Woolworths or Coles without being touched in some way by this system, but few have ever heard of it.