19 December 2008 | Paul Snell
Four multi-national firms have launched a website providing free advice on responsible supply chains.
IT company HP, cosmetics firm L'Oréal, carmaker Volkswagen and cement producer Titan have set up the Responsible Supply Chain Management Portal to collect information and best practices.
Other big firms such as Adidas, Epson and Philips have also contributed to the project to provide guidance for buyers and suppliers. And they have called for other purchasers to add their own best practice to the site.
The website covers international standards and principles, practical guidelines, supplier training, codes of conducts for vendors, audit self-assessments and details on how to implement supply chain programmes. Topics covered include health and safety, ethics and child labour.
Karl Daumüller, programme manager, global procurement services at HP - which operates the largest supply chain in the electronics industry - told SM: "We came up with the portal because when we were engaging with suppliers, especially in the SME community, we found they lacked information and there were many different codes and standards."
The intention, he said, was to create a single place where all the information could be collated. "There are a lot of good materials and best practices and it's great to bring those into the portal where suppliers who want to implement programmes, and buyers who want to find information on responsible supply chain management, can find them."
He added that although the companies are from different sectors with varied supply bases, standards are often the same and it is the way they are implemented and the way suppliers are engaged where the approach differs.
The challenge for the group is to make sure suppliers and buyers are aware of the site and what is available. Daumüller said HP was holding discussions with vendors, as well as encouraging tier one suppliers to pass information down the supply chain.
The Responsible Supply Chain Management Portal was launched by business network CSR Europe as part of a collection of tools to improve CSR. The four main firms involved are part of the Laboratory on Responsible Supply Chain Management.
To access the portal go to www.csr-supplychain.org