Why collaboration is vital for sustainable supply chains

4 September 2013
The Power of Collaboration, the fourth film in Sedex’s Responsible Sourcing Insights series explores why collaboration is an essential ingredient of supply chain sustainability. Modern supply chains are large, complicated, multi-tiered and global. More companies are waking up to the fact that collaboration holds the key to improving sustainability performance at scale. For many companies, the biggest opportunities to improve sustainability performance exist within their global supply chains. But from climate change to human rights, labour standards to water scarcity, bribery and corruption to child labour, supply chain sustainability is cross-cutting and involves many challenges that no one company can solve on its own. This is where collaborative supply chain programmes that see buyers and suppliers working together towards shared goals and common standards are highly effective in tackling issues at scale. Where there is a shared supply base, deciding on agreed standards for the industry makes it easier for suppliers to understand and meet those standards. The opportunity to learn from your peers can also be extremely valuable, helping to tackle precompetitive issues and to drive continual improvements for the industry as a whole. More companies are therefore taking a multilateral approach to maintaining and improving supply chain standards, which combines audit-driven methodologies with collaboration with peers, suppliers and other stakeholders to help gain an understanding of, and resolve, key issues.

Louise Nicholls, head of responsible sourcing at Marks & Spencer, explains: “By bringing together partners – NGOs, trade unions, our competitors – it has enabled us to see the whole picture and to see all of those perspectives and then to find, often, a far better solution than we would have found as a business on our own.”

This is the fourth film in the Responsible Sourcing Insights series. SM will be featuring a new film every fortnight. The next film will focus on big data in global supply chains. For more information about the Responsible Sourcing Insights series click here.

Mark Robertson is head of communications at Sedex
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