Traceability in supply chains looks set to be increasingly mandated and there are some easy steps that can help corporate compliance
No company wants the image of their products ruined by malpractice in their supply chains. Yet that’s what continues to happen, time and again. In today’s age of hyper globalisation, the base materials that go into your iPhone or your T-shirt, say, can come from any corner of the globe.
In an attempt to pinpoint where those actual corners are, the United Nations Global Compact has teamed up with the US-based sustainability organisation BSR to produce a practitioner-focused guide to traceability. The 45-page document advocates a seven-step strategy that the authors hope will become a “standardised approach” to ensuring supply chain traceability.
“At present, only a very small percentage of commodities are traceable on sustainability attributes,” says Ursula Wynhoven, chief of governance and social sustainability at the UN Global Compact. The benefits of correcting that “cannot be overstated”, she adds, arguing that full traceability will guarantee “respect for people and the environment” throughout the world’s supply chains.
Reassuring consumers is another big benefit. BSR’s director of advisory service, Tara Norton, admits that most shoppers “will be surprised” to learn that companies “don’t know where the stuff we’re selling comes from”. Plummeting meat sales following the 2013 horsemeat scandal in the UK...
November 2014, London
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