The supply chain ecosystem includes companies, their supply chains, and NGO or third-party organizations that work to:
- Harmonize practices within or across sectors,
- Increase efficiencies for suppliers and/or companies,
- Share leading practices,
- Reduce burdens on suppliers and companies,
- Certify performance by suppliers, and
- Inform the marketplace.
Below is a list of some of these NGOs and programs. Some are environmental organizations and some are industry organizations, most of which were identified during the research performed during the writing of this article. As a result, this list is not meant to be all-inclusive but to be illustrative. These summaries are obtained directly, with some modification or editing, from the organizations' websites. Visit their websites for additional information.
AIM-PROGRESS (PROgram for RESponsible Sourcing) http://www.aim-progress.com
AIM-PROGRESS is a global forum for consumer goods manufacturers and their common suppliers to enable, promote, and advance responsible sourcing practices and sustainable production systems. AIM-PROGRESS's key objectives include:
- Develop, assess, promote, and share responsible supply chain sourcing practices,
- Develop and promote use of common evaluation methods to determine corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance within supply chains,
- Create efficiencies by collecting, assessing, and sharing noncompetitive information on social compliance performance of supply chains, and
- Reduce suppliers' “audit fatigue” by encouraging them to share audit reports with customers through mutual recognition of their compliance assessments, thereby avoiding duplicate audits—an audit for one is an audit for many.
Mutual recognition is based on four criteria:
- Acceptable audit coverage (including environmental compliance),
- Acceptable auditor,
- Acceptable process, and
- Audit integrity.
Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) http://bettercotton.org
BCI works to reduce the environmental impact of cotton production through continuously improving crop-growing and protection practices, water use, and soil fertility. BCI also works to improve labor issues as they relate to the cotton industry and the livelihoods of families and communities that depend on cotton production. BCI has created a tracking system to follow Better Cotton through the supply chain.
Bonsucro fosters the sustainability of the sugarcane sector through a metric-based certification system and support for continuous improvement by its members. Bonsucro works to define performance-based principles, criteria, indicators, and standards for sugarcane production that take into account local conditions and circumstances, and that are based on a credible and transparent process focused on key sustainability drivers in sugarcane production. Bonsucro has developed a certification system that enables producers, buyers, and others involved in sugar and ethanol businesses to obtain products derived from sugarcane that have been produced according to agreed, credible, transparent, and measurable criteria.
BSR helps companies develop internal approaches, engage with suppliers, and build meaningful collaborations to improve the labor, environmental, and economic performances of their supply chains. BSR is also requested by its industry members to convene groups and focus on key issues. This convening role led to the formation of the Center for Sustainable Procurement, Mills and Sundries Working Group, and the Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative. In addition, BSR works with companies to:
- Develop and review sustainable procurement strategies and policies,
- Identify opportunities to integrate sustainability into procurement and implement changes by working with senior management and purchasing teams, and
- Design and execute supplier engagement and training programs.
Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) https://www.cdproject.net
CDP uses measurement and information disclosure to improve the management of environmental risk. CDP leverages market forces, including shareholders, customers, and governments, to incentivize companies and cities to manage, measure, and report their environmental information. CDP's supply chain program provides opportunities for companies to engage with their suppliers to, for example, reduce risks due to greenhouse gas emissions and water use.
Center for Sustainable Procurement (CSP) http://www.bsr.org/en/our-work/working-groups/center-for-sustainable-procurement
CSP helps procurement professionals make informed purchasing decisions based on the best available sustainability data and information. CSP conducts research and works with companies to integrate sustainability data into their product procurement processes.
Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) http://www.theconsumergoodsforum.com
CGF brings together CEOs and senior management from major retailers, consumer goods manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries. CGF provides a global platform for knowledge exchange and initiatives around five strategic priorities that are central to the advancement of the consumer goods industry:
- Emerging trends,
- Safety and health,
- Operational excellence, and
- Knowledge sharing and people development.
CGF members develop and lead the implementation of leading practices along their value chains.
EcoVadis partners with procurement organizations to implement sustainable supply management practices. EcoVadis works to improve environmental and social practices of companies by leveraging the influence of their global supply chains. EcoVadis works to help procurement organizations improve their performance and to reduce the costs associated with performance monitoring of supplier CSR.
Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) http://www.eicc.info
EICC is a coalition of electronics companies working together to improve efficiency and social, ethical, and environmental responsibility in their supply chains. EICC developed a supplier code of conduct in order to establish a common supplier code that provides guidelines for performance and compliance with critical CSR policies. EICC also provides tools and practices for companies to audit compliance with the supplier code and helps companies report on their progress. It established a Validated Audit Process as a collaborative approach to auditing to the EICC supplier code of conduct and as a means to share supplier audits with multiple customers, thereby reducing audit fatigue and duplication of effort.
Fair Factories Clearinghouse (FFC) http://www.fairfactories.org
FFC facilitates continuous improvement in social, environmental, and security standards, and the establishment of safe and humane working conditions for workers making consumer goods. FFC collects data from its members, which it enters into a database and shares with its participants to increase their compliance capability. This Information Clearinghouse improves accessibility, availability, transparency, comprehensiveness, and standardization of information among its participants, in accordance with antitrust rules, regarding factory workplace conditions.
Sharing this information and expertise advances knowledge about workplace conditions and the steps companies are taking to address them, and therefore advances global efforts to improve factory conditions. Industry-wide collaboration becomes more commonplace and results in greater efficiency and cost savings, risk mitigation, and assurance in factory monitoring for all participants.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) https://ic.fsc.org
FSC promotes responsible forest management by enabling businesses and consumers to make informed choices about the forest products that they buy. FSC works with stakeholders to define best forestry practices that address social, environmental, and economic issues.
Global Apparel, Footwear and Textile Initiative (GAFTI) http://www.gafti.org
GAFTI brings retailers, consumer brand manufacturers, mills, and factories together to improve efficiencies and set uniform global standards. Its goal is to reduce complexity, remove costs from common industry practices, and improve performance.
Global Forest & Trade Network (GFTN) http://gftn.panda.org/about_gftn
The World Wildlife Fund's (WWF's) GFTN is driven to eliminate illegal logging and increase responsible forest management and trade to save the world's valuable and threatened forests. GFTN works with companies to assess the risks in their forest industry supply chain, provide training and technical support, share best practices, achieve responsible wood sourcing and credible chain-of-custody certification, and facilitate trade between companies supporting responsible forestry.
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) http://grsbeef.org
GRSB works within the beef industry and with environmental groups, retailers, and others to continuously improve sustainability in the global beef value chain. These organizations share their knowledge of leadership and science and collectively engage and collaborate. GRSB's efforts include identifying, evaluating, and enabling increased adoption of leading production and supply chain practices and technologies.
Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP) http://www.gscpnet.com
GSCP was created by and for global companies that want to work collaboratively and improve the sustainability (labor/social and environmental) of their often-shared supply base. Using consensus and best practices, GSCP focuses on:
- Developing consistent supplier codes of conduct,
- Creating a uniform and clear message to suppliers,
- Reducing supplier audit duplication,
- Providing mutual recognition of supplier codes and audit monitoring,
- Simplifying buying, and
- Identifying causes of noncompliance and opportunities for continuous improvement of working and environmental conditions in supply chains.
As part of these activities, GSCP developed an environmental framework and scoring methodology to assess factory environmental performance across supply chains with regard to reducing each of its environmental impact areas. Factories can achieve GSCP Level 1—“Compliance and Awareness”; Level 2—“Proactive Management and Performance Improvement”; or Level 3—“Leading Practice.”
Green Chemistry & Commerce Council (GC3) http://www.greenchemistryandcommerce.org
GC3 advances the application of green chemistry, green engineering, and design for the environment by sharing case study information and experiences across supply chains and across sectors, encouraging dialogue to overcome barriers, and helping to increase consumer demand.
International Trade Centre (ITC) Standards Map http://www.standardsmap.org
The ITC's Standards Map provides users with information enabling them to analyze and compare information on 120 voluntary standards, eco-labels, supplier codes of conduct, and audit protocols operating in more than 200 countries, and certifying products and services in more than 80 economic sectors, including agriculture, forestry, fisheries, mining, textiles, and manufactured products. This evaluation can help companies identify prospects for adopting private standards and assess costs and benefits for developing or expanding related product or market opportunities.
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) http://www.msc.org
MSC works with retailers, brands, seafood businesses, and consumers to promote sustainable fishing practices and increase availability and purchase of certified sustainable seafood to incentivize other fisheries to improve their practices. MSC develops standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability based on best practices.
Outdoor Industry Association Sustainability Working Group (OIA SWG) http://www.outdoorindustry.org
OIA SWG explores issues of corporate environmental and social responsibility in the outdoor industry. The SWG works on the most pressing supply chain challenges that large and small outdoor industry companies face and that are key to their business survival. One of the outdoor industry's most notable accomplishments is the development of the OIA Eco Index, a product sustainability indexing tool that can chart a company's progress toward sustainability. OIA SWG is currently focusing on four key work areas:
- Index development—building sustainability indexes for outdoor apparel, footwear, and equipment,
- Responsible chemicals management,
- Materials traceability in the supply chain, and
- Social responsibility and fair labor.
Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative (PSCI) http://www.pharmaceuticalsupplychain.org
PSCI is a group of major pharmaceutical companies that share a vision of better social, economic, and environmental outcomes for those involved in the pharmaceutical supply chain. PSCI created the Pharmaceutical Industry Principles for Responsible Supply Chain Management to address key areas of responsible business practices and to support suppliers operating in a manner consistent with industry expectations in ethics, labor, health and safety, environment, and management systems.
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC) http://www.pefc.org
PEFC is a forest certification system developed to transform how forests are managed and to consider their environmental, social, and economic benefits. PEFC is also an umbrella organization that endorses national forest certification systems developed through multistakeholder processes and that focuses on local priorities and conditions.
Rainforest Alliance http://www.rainforest-alliance.org
The Rainforest Alliance works to conserve biodiversity, protect rainforests, and ensure sustainable livelihoods by transforming land-use practices, business practices, and consumer behavior and ensuring profitability to businesses and communities. The Rainforest Alliance developed the SmartWood program in 1989 and is a cofounder and certifier for FSC (see above). In addition, the Rainforest Alliance's SmartSource Sustainable Sourcing Program helps businesses:
- Analyze their supply chains,
- Improve understanding of their sourcing risks,
- Determine whether responsible sourcing practices have been used,
- Improve forest product purchasing practices,
- Establish legal, traceable, and sustainable supply chains, and
- Develop solutions to address challenges.
The Rainforest Alliance also helps farmers, forest managers, and tourism businesses receive greater economic benefits by ensuring that ecosystems within and around their operations are protected. Once businesses meet certain environmental and social standards, the Rainforest Alliance works to help them receive marketplace support and increased demand for their goods or services.
Round Table on Responsible Soy Association (RTRS) http://www.responsiblesoy.org
RTRS is a multistakeholder initiative that has developed a standard for responsible soy production. The standard includes five principles (including environmental responsibility and good agricultural practices), 27 criteria, and 98 indicators.
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) http://www.rspo.org
RSPO works to transform markets such that sustainable palm oil becomes the norm by:
- Advancing production, procurement, finance, and use of sustainable palm oil products,
- Developing, implementing, verifying, assuring, and reviewing global standards for the supply chain of sustainable palm oil,
- Monitoring and evaluating economic, environmental, and social impacts from increasing market availability of sustainable palm oil, and
- Engaging and committing stakeholders throughout the palm oil supply chain, including governments and consumers.
RSPO has endorsed GreenPalm (http://www.greenpalm.org) to manage the sustainable palm oil certificate trading program.
Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex) http://www.sedexglobal.com
Sedex works to help companies reduce risk, protect their reputation, and improve global supply chain practices. Sedex offers an online database to help company members manage ethical and responsible practices in company supply chains by sharing supplier audit reports to reduce the burden on suppliers facing multiple audits, questionnaires and certifications, and driving improvements in the ethical performance of global supply chains.
Sustainable Apparel Coalition (SAC) http://www.apparelcoalition.org
SAC is an industry-wide organization of apparel and footwear brands, retailers, and suppliers, as well as nonprofits and NGOs, working to reduce the environmental and social impacts of apparel and footwear products. Through a multistakeholder process, SAC works toward a shared industry vision of sustainability that is built upon an approach to measure and evaluate apparel and footwear product sustainability performance.
Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) http://www.sustainablefish.org
SFP is a business-focused NGO that has created a database of fisheries, accessible to all, which contains assessments of sustainability and improvement needs. These information tools allow companies and their procurement officials to directly engage with their fishery supply chains and implement sustainability policies. SFP does not campaign or provide eco-labels, but works to reduce the barriers to action by industry by providing access to reliable and detailed information related to improving fishery practices and creating more sustainable fisheries, and developing fishery improvement projects with multiple local stakeholders.
Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI) http://www.sfiprogram.org
SFI focuses on responsible forest management and fiber sourcing requirements and considers environmental, social, and economic concerns. SFI's chain-of-custody certification tracks the percentage of fiber from SFI-certified forests.
The Common Code of the Coffee Community (4C) http://www.4c-coffeeassociation.org
The 4C Association includes coffee farmers, traders, industry players, and civil society working together to increase sustainability in the coffee sector. The association developed the 4C Code of Conduct, which includes social, environmental, and economic principles related to increasing sustainability of production, processing, and trading of green coffee. To illustrate continuous improvement, the 4C Code of Conduct includes a “traffic light system,” marked by red, yellow, and green colors, to identify practices that need to be discontinued, improved, or continued, respectively.
The Forest Trust (TFT) http://www.tft-forests.org
TFT works with companies and communities to provide solutions to deforestation, create “responsible supply chains,” and deliver “responsible products.” Its supply chain model provides technical support to the extraction and production stages and communication support to the distribution and consumption stages; however, its main focus is on the extraction stage, where environmental impacts during the product life cycle may be at their greatest. TFT also focuses on traceability systems; although it originally focused on wood, it has expanded its focus to also include leather and shoe, cotton, palm oil, and paper.
The Leather Working Group (LWG) http://www.leatherworkinggroup.com
LWG works to develop and maintain a protocol that assesses the compliance and environmental performance of tanners and promotes sustainable and appropriate environmental practices within the leather industry. LWG also works to align sector environmental priorities, identify and share leading practices, and provide guidelines for continual improvement.
The Sustainability Consortium® (TSC®) http://www.sustainabilityconsortium.org
TSC® is an organization that works collaboratively with stakeholders to build a scientific basis for driving innovation to improve consumer product sustainability. These innovations are focused on the development of methodologies, tools, and strategies to create products and supply networks that address environmental, social, and economic needs.
Tropical Forest Alliance 2020 (TFA 2020) http://www.tfa2020.com
TFA 2020 is a public–private partnership with the goal of reducing (and eventually eliminating) tropical deforestation by 2020 for beef, palm oil, pulp and paper, and soy production. The private sector is represented by the Consumer Goods Forum. The governments of the United States, the Netherlands, Norway, and the United Kingdom are also members of the partnership, as are the following NGOs:
- Carbon Disclosure Project,
- Conservation International,
- Forest Trends,
- National Wildlife Federation,
- Rainforest Alliance,
- SNV (http://www.snvworld.org),
- Solidaridad Network,
- Sustainable Trade Initiative,
- The Nature Conservancy,
- Wildlife Conservation Society,
- World Resources Institute, and
- World Wildlife Fund.
TFA 2020 partners will work together to accomplish the following:
- Improve planning and management related to tropical forest conservation, agricultural land use, and land tenure,
- Share best practices for tropical forest and ecosystem conservation and commodity production, including working with smallholder farmers and other producers on sustainable agricultural intensification, promoting the use of degraded lands, and reforestation,
- Provide expertise and knowledge in order to assist with the development of commodity and processed commodity markets that promote the conservation of tropical forests, and
- Improve monitoring of tropical deforestation and forest degradation to measure progress.