The issue of supply chain sustainability might have slipped down the agenda slightly as organisations have faced up to more pressing issues, such as weaker than expected economic growth in China, and political unrest in the Middle East.
But December’s COP21 agreement, to limit global temperature rise to below two degrees Celsius, put the focus firmly back on sustainability issues.
And companies have been maintaining their efforts. BT this month starts trials of its Sustainability Assessor tool.
The Sustainability Assessor is made up of seven steps that ask the supplier questions on their sustainability measures, and then compares the answers against existing best practices. It then recommends how the supplier can improve its business practices and gain competitive advantage over its rivals through an improved reputation as a good corporate citizen.
The Assessor has come out of BT Better Supplier Future Forum which was set up in 2012 to focus on driving innovation in sustainable business practices.
Sagemcom, which manufactures the BT Home Hub, is to be the first company to pilot the Sustainability Assessor. “By providing useful feedback to suppliers regardless of their performance level, the tool will educate and support individual companies in a tailored and effective way,” says Florian Tremblay, Sagemcom’s sustainable development expert.
It will be running the pilot programme with a selection of its own suppliers to test the Assessor’s results against Sagemcom’s own knowledge of the companies in question.
While this is just a pilot programme, it opens up the possibility of a future where suppliers are increasingly expected to report on the sustainability of their supply chains as part of the process of doing business.