Weekly Highlights April 28, 2014

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014 - 3:35pm

Supply Chain Inquiries / Surveys Creating Questionnaire Fatigue
Lets Stop the Madness and Confusion, Writes Lou Coppola

As we travel the sustainability / responsibility meetings circuit, we often hear from corporate managers about their “questionnaire and survey fatigue” as they receive many, many queries on their supply chain practices. 

Some large-cap company sustainability managers speak of receiving 200, even up to 300 requests per year for information related to their operations, emissions, diversity policies, water use, policies on raw material sourcing, oversight of labor conditions, the practices of their contractors’ factories, and more.

This is not to minimize the importance of knowing more about these aspects of corporate operations.  Stakeholders are asking important questions.  In response, companies are now taking a closer look at their supply chain policies and practices, and their global sourcing.  Brand marketers recognize the negative impact of reports about trouble in the supply chain that can quickly impact on the familiar label.  (One after the Rana Plaza factory fire in Bangladesh that killed more than 1,000 in April 2013, this month there were solemn observations in memory of the victims in various countries.)

Globalization of the supply chain has spread over most large companies’ operations, with company and subcontractor production, to many countries.  As consumers, investors, regulators, NGOs, and other stakeholders are asking for more transparency in the large company operations around the world, the companies in turn are querying their own suppliers…who are beginning to survey their suppliers.  This is a result of the large customer embracing the concept that the suppliers’ operations, and even their suppliers’ suppliers operations, are part of the large enterprises’ “sustainability footprint.”

G&A Institute EVP Louis Coppola comments on some aspects of these trends on our Sustainability Update blog.

The goal of knowing more about the supply chain is important and can have huge impacts on supplier relationships, the sustainability of global economies, protection of the environment, and society-at-large. But – why are organizations creating their own and new and unique frameworks and sending out questionnaires to collect data when there are effective global frameworks readily available for suppliers to use?  (why is this open quotation mark here?)  “Let’s get more efficient when it comes to asking for ESG information from suppliers…there are existing, globally accepted frameworks for presenting data and narrative about the supply chain.  The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is a prime example.

This is just a sample of some of the articles from this weeks SustainabilityHQ Highlights.  You can view the full Highlights by using the following links. Sustainability | ESG, Highlights for the Week of April 28, 2014

Keywords: Media & Communications | G&A Institute | GRI | Governance & Accountability Institute | Louis Coppola | Questionnaire Fatigue | SWF | Sovereign Wealth Funds | SustainabilityHQ | business & trade | environmental