Creating a Sustainable Supply Chain
Wettstein, Business in the Community
This is part 2 of a two-part series where we reflect back on some of the learnings shared by companies during the launch event for What is the size of the prize? See part one in the series, covering the contributions of keynote speakers, David Jones, Supply Chain Director, Waitrose and Keith Weed Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Unilever.
We recently launched our key publication What is the size of the prize? This blog covers the information shared during the second half of that event, facilitated by Patrick Mallon, Field Director at BITC.
In the second part of the event, Patrick Mallon, Field Director at BITC, took the content to the audience and facilitated a conversation on three important themes that came out of the publication:
When asked about moving from a risk based approach to opportunities, Carl Morris, Marketing and External Communications Director, Elior UK described how the horsemeat scandal which negatively impacted so many businesses proved to be an opportunity.
Elior, one of the sponsors of the publication, was able to build trust with consumers by demonstrating that it does not rely on written statements from suppliers. Instead, the company does its own testing to monitor their supply chains.
On the same topic, Kate Gibson, VP Corporate Responsibility, IHG highlighted changes in its marketplace and customer expectations of hotels are changing, whether private or corporate guests. Accelerating on and being at the forefront of demands such as reducing the carbon footprint of hotels, provides a real opportunity for the business.
How can businesses be convinced that supply chains are a driver rather than a barrier to sustainability?
Ian Ellison, Sustainability Manager, JLR talked about the opportunities brought by collaborating with various partners and suppliers. Following life-cycle analyses, it was evident that a large proportion of its impact was deep within the supply chain. Under regulatory pressure to reduce CO2 emissions, the company created an entirely new supply chain for aluminium.
Ian admitted that collaborating with 20 different partners was a slow process and required a big investment, but the prize is huge. He highlighted a set of skills and attributes that were imperative to making this happen, including patience, empathy, shared goals, and understanding for each stakeholder. Achieving this also required different thinking and creation of case studies and stories to build confidence and enable different business models to be tried.
From compliance to a commitment to sustainability and supplier engagement
Gabrielle Giner, Programme Manager, BT, talked about her company's Better Future Supplier Forum aimed at encouraging key suppliers to innovate in the design and manufacturing of products. The forum involves assessing suppliers against global best practice and rewarding pioneering ideas through the annual Game Changing Challenge competition, a Dragon’s Den style initiative.
Once a supplier has joined the Forum, BT analyses its strengths and weaknesses, identifying opportunities to make a difference. This exercise is complemented by education and awareness training, and an introduction to tools and techniques that suppliers can use to improve their performance in the areas of circular economy concepts, measuring and reporting carbon footprints, energy, water and resource efficiency, sustainable transport and stakeholder engagement.
For KPMG, having a clear framework has been key to encourage supplier engagement. Sarah McNaught, Partner, KPMG, explained how the company ensures that its suppliers share their values. They ask suppliers to commit to three things which are in line with KPMG’s sustainability strategy: 1) encourage diversity and inclusion; 2) address their carbon footprint; 3) consider embedding the living wage.
What is the size of the prize for creating sustainable supply chains in your company?
One thing was clear from the case studies shared. Regardless of the size your business, your sector or geographical operations, there are opportunities for everyone. Positively engaging with strategic suppliers will continue to be essential in creating sustainable supply chains and should be a central element of your business strategy.
We hope that this publication will serve as a basis for starting, or an inspiration for continuing to create sustainable supply chains. To find out how BITC can support you, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]