Each week, the Erb Institute shares a collection of news and updates regarding business sustainability. This month, the Erb Institute blog and social media are focusing on a key aspect of both business and sustainability: supply chain.

Sustainable Business News – 2/17/2018 – 2/23/2018

Supply Chain

There’s room for progress on tackling sustainability through the supply chain


“Companies that want to take action on climate change or other environmental or social issues realize that their suppliers — and their suppliers’ suppliers — are key to addressing many of the big problems.

So how many are actually acting on that? A new Stanford University study of big, global suppliers found that more than half the companies reviewed had adopted some type of sustainable sourcing practices, and among those, large, well-known, consumer-facing companies with valuable brands were the most likely to have sustainable sourcing practices.”

The need for a sustainable global supply chain


“Supply chain visibility and transparency remain a major challenge for retail though. Along with Adidas and Reebok, M&S came in the top three of Fashion Revolution’s Fashion Transparency Index 2017. However, the sector has a long way to go on disclosure, explains Carry Somers, founder of Fashion Revolution. ‘Fashion supply chains are still fragmented and greater transparency will be key to transforming the industry,’ she says. ‘If you can’t see it, you can’t fix it.’

Seeking supply chain transparency, tier by tier, is a tough ask of any one business alone, says Will Schreiber, a partner at 3Keel. ‘Most significant environmental and ethical sourcing risks happen far upstream in supply bases,’ he says. ‘Collaboration is critical to addressing these across the industry and we’re starting to see convergence of standards.'”

Unilever will fully disclose its palm oil sources

Supply Chain Dive

“Unilever has undertaken a “put your money where your mouth is” initiative regarding full disclosure of its palm oil sources, Supply Chain Digital reported Tuesday. 

Though the company first addressed the need for sustainable palm oil sourcing in 2013, this most recent effort will provide the ultimate in transparency, allowing Unilever to identify and address issues within its palm oil supply chain. This could improve investigation and cooperation between Unilever and its suppliers, NGO partners, local governments and other stakeholders.”

Garment Worker Diaries Reveal Working Conditions, Wages in Bangladesh, India, Cambodia

Sustainable Brands

“A first-of-its-kind research project led by Microfinance Opportunities (MFO) in partnership with Fashion Revolution and C&A Foundation gives the most comprehensive picture yet of the living and working conditions faced by female garment workers in Bangladesh, Cambodia and India.”

The role of business in driving sustainable consumption, production

Sustainable Brands

“The SDGs are not the sole responsibility of business; nor can they be achieved by business alone. Business must work with government, civil society, and other actors to promote responsible consumption and production. MSIs can help provide a shared basis for directing corporate behaviour in this area.

Many companies are already actively engaged in MSIs. For example, Ford, Samsung, and GE are members of the Responsible Minerals Initiative, which focuses on responsibly sourced minerals in supply chains. Other MSIs with relevance to sustainable production abound, such as the Better Cotton Initiative and the Partnership for Cleaner Textile (PaCT) in the apparel industry.”

The 3 traits of inclusive suppliers


“Many companies are beginning to evaluate their suppliers based on their social and environmental impacts, both positive and negative. Particularly when assessing suppliers’ claims to have a social impact through employment, it can be difficult to determine whether a supplier is an inclusive business, or just doing business as usual.Do you want to contribute to the conversation? Tweet us @erbinstitute!