Sustainable Supply Chain Management FAQ

/Sustainable Supply Chain Management FAQ

Sustainable Supply Chain Management FAQ

Responsible sourcing, supply chain compliance, sustainable supply chain, corporate social responsibility, CSR, anti-slavery, human trafficking

Sustainable supply chain and risk management involves integrating socially, environmentally and financially practices across the entire supply chain.  It it inclusive of human conditions, labor laws, material selection, (including raw material extraction), manufacturing, packaging, transportation, distribution, consumption, return and disposal.  Responsible sourcing is maintaining a sustainable supply chain and risk management program to assist organizations in not only reducing their risk or brand equity, but also optimizing their end-to-end operations to achieve greater cost savings and profitability.

Sustainability and risk in the supply chain encapsulates a number of different priorities:

  • Anti-slavery, human tracking and child labor
  • Optimization of natural resources
  • Reduction of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Financial savings and viability

Supply chain sustainability commitments produce improved environmental performance within a financially viable operating construct.

Companies frame this in different ways, however generally it suggests you implement environmental and social standards into your sourcing and procurement activities. A  sustainable / responsible supply chain management framework is based on identifying, assessing and monitoring supplier practices in the areas of human and labor rights, the environment, health and safety and anti-corruption activities.
With canned or customized surveys specific to your business, you can score and rate your suppliers based on environmental, social and regulatory behaviors.  By analyzing your data in one location, you can identify potential risk of doing business with a specific supplier(s) by understanding how they conduct business.  Once identified, you can partner with your supplier to drive corrective actions to improve their overall performance, reduce risk and continue doing business with the supplier.
It will always depend on the regulations set forth by where you conduct business.  For example, surveying suppliers on where they source minerals can immediately illuminate potential risk to your business.  If you ask for information related to human conditions, you may find inconsistencies prompting an audit of a particular factory.
The California Transparency in Supply Chains Act, which was signed into law in October 2010 and went into effect in January 2012, requires certain companies to report on their specific actions to eradicate slavery and human trafficking in their supply chains.
The sad answer is YES!  Child labor spans nearly every sector and kind of work. Children harvest cotton in Uzbekistan, work as domestic servants in Haiti and mine diamonds in the Central African Republic. It is important to recognize that not all work performed by children is exploitative. Children of legal working age who perform work that does not hinder their mental, physical or emotional development can be an asset to their families’ welfare and their nations’ economic development (source:  ILAB)
Woman and children can be subject to human trafficking when they are forced into conducting labor without their consent.  The basic definition of human trafficking is “the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, the abuse of power or a position of vulnerability, or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.” (source: Dept. of Labor)