Many of the world’s largest retailers are backing a new initiative to ensure that their supply chains are free from forced labor and environmentally sustainable.
Companies including Kellogg Co, Walmart Inc, and Nestle came out in support of the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI), a project pioneered by Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) in order to create benchmarks for socially and environmentally responsible supply chains.
The Consumer Goods Forum represents some 400 leading retailers across 70 countries. It is a massively influential group as companies’ combined sales total $4.3 trillion and employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million jobs along their value chains.
Thomson Reuters Foundation reports:
The Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) will advise buyers and suppliers on third-party auditing and certification schemes with the aim of boosting sustainable sourcing and reducing audit duplication and complexity, according to the CGF.
“Today, any company wanting to assess the sustainability of their value chains faces a confusing array of different technical standards and auditing approaches,” Peter Freedman, managing director of the CGF, said in a statement.
In recent years modern slavery has come under the global spotlight, putting greater regulatory and consumer pressure on companies to ensure their supply chains are free of forced labour, child labour and other forms of slavery.
Many common items from chocolate to shrimp have complex supply chains with multiple layers across several countries. The sourcing of raw materials, processing, and final assembly often take place in different places and products pass through several workers’ hands on the way to the store shelf.
Kilian Moote, director of KnowTheChain (KTC), added that “We hope CGF members will be able to direct more efforts and resources towards meaningfully protecting workers and engaging more deeply with their supply chains.”
Chris Tyas, global head of supply chain at food group Nestle, says he is confident in the new SSCI benchmarks.
“The SSCI will support continuous improvement . . . worldwide in order to achieve our common goal of more sustainable supply chains,” he said.