Corporate Social Responsibility Requires Mapping Entire B2B Supply Chain
- July 6th, 2012
- By: Loraine Lawson
Corporate social reporting nearly tripled in the past five years, but tracking down human rights and sustainability problems isn’t easy — particularly since manufacturers are now looking farther down the B2B supply chain for violations.
Nestlé is a good example of how challenging it can be to address social responsibility in a holistic way. With the company’s support, the Fair Labor Association audited the company’s cocoa B2B supply chain and found , among other problems, child labor and forced labor violations.
But to identify the problems, Nestlé had to allow the outside agency to completely trace and assess its procurement system, ultimately mapping its entire B2B supply chain.
The payoff is that Nestlé now knows exactly where the problems are. The chocolate maker plans educate suppliers about compliance problems while working with the governments and schools to stop the use of children and other forced labor.
Tracking social responsibility can mean any and everything from labor sources to the carbon footprint of your manufacturing plants, transportation, distribution, procurement through to your extended supply chain, Industry Week reports.
It’s hard for the average consumer to understand just how daunting this can be, but the article shard an example that illustrates the challenge. Unilever hopes to purchase all of its palm oil from certified traceable sources by 2020. That would seem simple enough, until you consider the company buys roughly 1.5 million tons of palm oil, most of which is not “straight palm.” This oil is not used for food, but as an additive in shampoos, lotions and personal care items.
The article also shares Ben & Jerry’s approach to the problem. The ice cream company is known for its quality and corporate responsibility. To achieve both the company builds backwards in its supply chain, then works with farmers to move them up the value chain, according to CEO Jostein Solheim. It also partners with Fairtrade International and FLO-CERT for support, he added.
Monitoring corporate responsibility clearly requires significant mapping and monitoring of both your own practices and your supply chain. It may seem like a headache now, but as some companies told Industry Week, legislation requiring transparency in the supply chain will happen. Those who prepare now will hold the advantage — and the moral high ground