Supply Chain Sustainability Programs More Important Than Ever

We are living in uncertain times, and this affects every aspect of the business world. While supply chains have always had to deal with uncertainties, everything is heightened in today’s political climate. Supply chain sustainability programs help companies to manage risks and uncertainties, so it is vital to get this right to stay competitive in the modern era.

The 2016 BSR/GlobeScan State of Sustainable Business Survey found that 84 percent of firms had a supplier code of conduct, while 61 percent considered sustainability in their sourcing strategies. Everyone seems to be in agreement that sustainable supply chain programs are crucial but opinions vary wildly on how to go about accomplishing this.

There is currently no type of universally accepted framework on what can be considered good practice in supply chain sustainability. While tools like the UN’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the Paris Agreement, and the ILO’s fundamental principles and core conventions on labor rights can all help, a framework that can be applied across the world in all industries could prove to be quite useful.

The Supply Chain Leadership Ladder

BSR has set up a “Supply Chain Leadership Ladder” that aims to help firms assess how well they are doing when it comes to sustainability. It outlines four levels that can be used to describe how far they’ve come. The first level, building awareness, encompasses the development of internal management systems to start focusing on sustainability. The second level, assuring compliance, is focused on mitigating risk through supplier compliance and outlining a sustainability strategy and approach.

This is followed by the third level, managing priorities. In this stage, the focus shifts from mitigating risk to advancing opportunities that will have a big impact on the supply chain. The final state is called driving impact. This entails dealing with the root causes of problems using innovative and collaborative approaches.

This blog post is based off an article from UPS Longitudes. Read the original here.

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