Supply Chain Wisdom from the Sustainability Masterminds
The end of last month saw the Corporate Sustainability Mastermind Group meet at the sumptuous Acklam Hall in Middlesbrough to discuss supply chain issues. Here’s a baker’s dozen of the many nuggets which emerged from the meeting for your delectation:
- Many organisations have no idea about what’s in their supply chain which is an enormous risk as problems bubble upwards;
- Poor supplier performance on Sustainability is often indicative of wider incompetence;
- Need to keep an open mind regarding risks, eg slavery occurs in the UK as well as developing countries.
- Write contract conditions to pass sustainability risks to the suppliers who represent those risks eg traceability;
- Innovation should always be put into contract extension commitments to drive continual improvement;
- Can be a tension between need to collaborate and get tough on suppliers – need to present carrots and sticks;
- Get suppliers to solve your problems, rather than you trying to solve theirs;
- Run award schemes for ‘supplier with best sustainability performance’ eg Johnson & Johnson;
- Internally, need to align responsibility with authority so the actual decision maker is held accountable for the Sustainability implications of their decisions;
- Consider using emotive words such as ‘Risks’ rather than ‘Sustainability’ on meeting agendas;
- External speakers can sometimes bring gravitas that internal practitioners can’t;
- Recruit people who have ‘been there, done that’;
- Make suppliers compete on sustainability by having ‘open’ scoring system in addition to proscribed/box-ticking requirements.
The Mastermind Group meets quarterly in the North of England to discuss Sustainability issues under the Chatham House Rule. We are currently working on kicking off a South East branch with the first meeting pencilled in for 10 November. Contact me (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more details on either Group.