Greening the supply chain

Register your interest in this issue

Do your business' environmental practices and policies extend to suppliers and contractors?

EXCELLENT Answers

No EXCELLENT answers have been published for this question.

GOOD Answers

No GOOD answers have been published for this question.

POOR Answers

No POOR answers have been published for this question.

This Scorecard is due to be updated in 2018

In the search for sustainability, companies are beginning to realise that the greatest challenges may not lie within their immediate operations but in the origin of the goods and services moving through their supply chain. Consumers and other stakeholders are expressing concerns about safety, quality, human rights and the environmental impact of business activities. Being transparent along the supply chain is therefore important in establishing trust and securing business reputation. Experiences such as the 2013 horse meat scandal in Europe, when horse meat was discovered to be widely present in food products labelled as containing other meat, has publicly highlighted how complex and opaque some supply chains have become within a global economy and how damaging this can be to business.

It is no longer possible for business to claim supply chain monitoring is not feasible, because technology has facilitated greater transparency. The ‘internet of everything’, the communication of devices with each other and us, is becoming ever larger and more significant. Product labelling has been transformed by digital technology such as microscopic electronic devices, genetic markers for agricultural products and barcodes that can be read by standard mobile phones. Increasingly, tracking and recording technologies are combined with the global reach of the internet producing virtually unlimited data storage and new ways to mine data so access to detailed information about the supply chain is becoming ever easier.

The purchasing power of some businesses is such that they can have a big effect down the supply chain and therefore are in a position to encourage and help contractors and suppliers to improve their environmental standards, a win-win for everyone involved. Even the smallest business, with very limited buying power, still has the ability to articulate its practices and preferences and/or to seek out contractors and suppliers with the best environmental performance to support and enhance its own. Conversely, contractors and suppliers will have specialist knowledge and expertise, unique to their services or products, that can be valuable sources of practical advice on environmental performance and sustainability practices for a company.

There are several ways an organisation can evaluate, develop and improve environmental practices within the supply chain. These might include:
● Setting specific environmental, sustainable and/or responsible procurement strategies
● Using certification standards, e.g. purchasing from eco-certified companies or sourcing goods that have been environmentally-certified (for example, Forest Stewardship Council certified paper)
● Assessing potential suppliers' and contractors' environmental policies and statements to identify appropriate suppliers
● Engaging the supply chain, perhaps working collaboratively or in partnership to fulfil particular environmental requirements
● Setting environmental targets in contracts or service agreements
● Building environmental performance into a product or service
● Monitoring performance against targets set
● Site visits
● Third-party audits
● Reporting against internationally recognised standards.

On occasion, it may be necessary for a business to strike a balance between the benefits of good environmental practices against cost and quality, for example, down the supply chain or in selecting a contractor. These are not always easy choices to make.

Environmental, sustainable and/or responsible procurement strategy

'Environmental, sustainable and/or responsible procurement strategy' improves the efficiency by which money is spent whilst at the same time using market power to bring about major environmental benefits locally and globally. It is the process of purchasing goods, services and works that takes into account the environmental impact that such purchasing has whilst still achieving value.

Internet of Everything

'Internet of everything' (IoE) brings together people, process, data, and physical things into an interconnected network. The potential for new capabilities, capacities, ideas and experiences is unprecedented and totally unpredictable but has vast economic potential.

Supply chain

A 'supply chain' is a system of people, information, activities, resources and organizations involved in moving a product or service from origin to end user.

Supply Chain Transparency

'Supply chain transparency' reflects the extent to which information about suppliers and sourcing locations is readily available to consumers, stakeholders and other companies in the supply chain. Transparency has become increasingly important for supply chains, as consumers want to know the origin of products and services, partly as a result of NGOs actively educating consumers on the production processes behind the goods they buy.

Answering YES

All Businesses MUST

Confirm that they consistently take environmental performance into consideration along the supply chain

Explain their philosophy or values that shape practices and policies towards their supply chain

Describe how they assess the environmental practices of their suppliers and contractors

Explain how they monitor environmental performance of their suppliers and contractors

All Businesses MAY

Explain how they promote staff engagement on this issue across the organisation

Describe any efforts they have made to improve the environmental performance of their suppliers and contractors, or vice versa

Large and Multinational Corporations (MNCs) MUST

Explain if and why their practices differ from one country to another

Answering NO

All Businesses MUST

Explain why they do not or cannot answer YES to this question, listing the business reasons, any mitigating circumstances or other reasons that apply

All Businesses MAY

List any ad hoc application of environmental practices or policies considered when choosing products or services or identifying suppliers and/or contractors in the supply chain

Describe any efforts they have made to improve the environmental performance of their suppliers and contractors, or vice versa

Mention any future intentions regarding this issue

DON'T KNOW is not a permissible answer to this question

NOT APPLICABLE is not a permissible answer to this question

Version 1

To receive a score of 'Excellent'

Extending all environmental practices and policies to suppliers and contractors is a key strategic issue

Examples of policies and practices which may support an EXCELLENT statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Key part of their philosophy to shape practices and policies towards their supply chain
  2. Formal investigation of suppliers’ and contractors’ environmental practices takes place before contracting them
  3. Strategic approach in place to set environmental targets in contracts or service agreements and also to assess and monitor the environmental practices of all its suppliers and contractors
  4. Reporting against internationally recognised standards and working collaboratively with organisations to constantly update their environmental practices and ensuring these are extended to the supply chain
  5. All staff and managers are aware of the commitment of sustainability throughout the supply chain through training
To receive a score of 'Good'

Efforts to extend all environmental practices and policies to the supply chain are apparent

Examples of policies and practices which may support a GOOD statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Cooperating/working only with those suppliers and contractors which have been eco-certified
  2. Regular and consistent monitoring of the environmental practices of their suppliers and contractors
  3. Methods in place to encourage suppliers to continually improve performance
  4. Regular site visits in place and third party audits
To receive a score of 'Okay'

Some environmental practices and policies are extended to suppliers and contractors

Examples of policies and practices which may support an OKAY statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Ad hoc application of environmental practices or policies considered when identifying suppliers and/or contractors in the supply chain
  2. Some efforts apparent to ensure that monitoring takes place
To receive a score of 'Poor'

Environmental practices and policies are not extended to suppliers and contractors

Examples of policies and practices which may support a POOR statement (not all must be observed, enough should be evidenced to give comfort that the statement is the best of the four for the business being scored):

  1. Business too small to have a supply chain
  2. Limited or no effort to ensure that their environmental practices and policies are extended to suppliers and contractors
  3. Statement of future intent to improve