How ‘big data’ can support sustainable procurement

25 September 2013
Sedex’s fifth mini-documentary film explores the power of data in driving better decision making in responsible supply chains. Peter Drucker’s famous quote “what gets measured, gets managed” is something many of us will have heard before - though interpretations of the phrase vary. For some, the simple act of measuring an activity changes it by forcing us to pay attention to it. Others suggest measuring an activity gives us a handle on it, a way to change or improve it. With supply chain sustainability in mind, both interpretations are relevant. The act of monitoring environmental, social and governance risks in global supply chains helps make these issues more visible. It can also lead to a greater understanding of how best to tackle the root causes behind sustainability challenges. Measuring and monitoring supply chain risks requires access to accurate, reliable, consistent and up to date information. Good data facilitates better analyses, greater collaboration and increased transparency. More accurate analyses results in more informed decision-making, and better decisions reduce risk. But gathering the information you need to analyse risk in large, complex, multi-tiered supply chains is a considerable challenge that involves vast quantities of both structured and unstructured data. In the fifth film in the Responsible Sourcing Insights series practitioners share their experience of using data to drive better decision-making in global supply chains. Louise Herring, ethical trade manager at Sainsbury’s, describes how data helps to make the business case for sustainability. Stephen Kenzie, programme director at the International Business Leaders Forum and head of secretariat at UN Global Compact UK Network describes how good quality data enables better allocation of resources and deepens understanding of how well companies are responding to risks. While Kevin Franklin, managing director at Maplecroft explains how data helps to identify trends, over time, across different types of suppliers in different locations. The final film in the series, Supply Chain 2.0, will focus on the future of responsible sourcing. For more information about the Responsible Sourcing Insights series please click here. ☛ Mark Robertson is head of communications at Sedex
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