One of the major differences between sustainability programs that alter a procurement organization’s approach to supply management (including shifting the basis of engagement from just sourcing, contract administration and supply assurance to broader supplier engagement) and those designed to meet a narrow letter of regulatory compliance is the continuous and ongoing nature of monitoring, auditing and development initiatives.
When looking at how a company implements a program, it is relatively easy to look for certain keywords to ascertain the level of broader and ongoing engagement it will tend to have in enforcement – or whether it is looking to check a more basic box as infrequently as it can get away with.
In examining Avery Dennison’s program and its focus on sustainability in the pulp/paper/wood supply chain, certain phrasing stands out (see if you can pick it out for yourself). To wit, Avery Dennison will:
- Develop verifiable processes and systems … which will include asking suppliers to report sourcing and environmental performance information and provide documentation to demonstrate conformance on an annual basis
- Understand the full chain of custody to ensure that wood fiber-based paper materials are only sourced from responsibly managed forests and/or recycled sources
- Engage external forest products supply chain experts
- Publish progress toward meeting our commitments. We will review our policy and commitments on a regular basis to ensure they reflect the state of the industry and are based on the best available scientific evidence to help minimize the environmental and social impacts of our paper sourcing decisions across the entire paper lifecycle.
In comparison with companies that have pursued global procurement sustainability for longer (e.g., Apple and Walmart), Avery Dennison’s use of language in these types of supplier development/sustainability statements is not as binding as it could be. For example, the guidance suggests “asking suppliers” instead of mandating; “understanding full chain of custody” rather than fully documenting and auditing full chain of custody; and internally, “publish[ing] progress” towards goals instead of measuring and tracking performance against specified external KPIs and benchmarks.
What do you think?
Click here for Part 1 in this series.