The Sustainability Category

Want to Know Your Industry’s Risks? CSR Index from EcoVadis Takes Deep Look

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As customers and businesses seek better environmental practices and fair labor standards, corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting has taken on greater importance for executives who could face questions about why they use conflict minerals or buy products created by forced labor. To help take a deeper look at the issues, EcoVadis has assessed the CSR reporting of more than 33,000 companies around the world. The Paris-based company is a provider of business sustainability ratings, intelligence and performance-improvement tools for global supply chains.

On CSR Reporting, Smaller Firms Outscore Larger Ones in Global Study

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Small and medium-sized businesses outscored larger companies in managing their corporate social responsibility reports — but all sizes of firms could improve CSR management and remove more risk for their companies, according to EcoVadis’ second annual study of more than 33,000 businesses around the world. Out of 100 points, small and medium-sized companies (26-999 employees) scored 42.4, and large ones (more than 1,000 employees) scored 39.6, the study said. Results below 45 indicate “an unstructured approach” to CSR management — with a medium to high risk for a business on the EcoVadis scoring scale, and the study said large companies have much further to go in improving their CSR practices.

A Big Green Idea: How Procurement Can Balance Profitability and Sustainability

External forces — from climate change to shifts in generational expectations — are causing businesses to take a hard look at the sustainability of their supply chains, and procurement organizations are uniquely positioned to effect environmental and financial change for the greater good, speakers said at Procurious’ 2018 Big Ideas Summit on Thursday in Chicago. In presentations from leading procurement professionals and supporting technology providers, speakers encouraged attendees to reconsider what was possible in the supply chain, including common misconceptions about sustainability.

Why Supply Chains Should Put Curbing Global Food Waste at the Forefront

More than 2 billion tons of food worth $1.5 trillion could be wasted in 2030, according to the Boston Consulting Group. It’s not an unrealistic estimate considering the 1.6 billion tons worth $1.2 trillion lost just three years ago. Food waste is a concept so vast and systemic that one must go beyond the individual impact and look toward how entire companies involved in the process – from production to consumption – can actively work in a way that helps solve a global crisis while attaining tangible business benefits.

The Rise of the Social Enterprise (Part 2): Why Corporate Citizenship is Crucial

As the nature of work changes, so too does our understanding of careers. This is one of the most important trends covered in Deloitte’s 100-page 2018 Global Human Capital Trends Report. While 84% of respondents who took part in Deloitte’s survey deemed the ability to build a 21st-century career as “important” or “very important,” only 37% think they are ready to do so. Part 1 of this series covered C-suite, contingent workforce and compensation trends. Today’s post will discuss four more trends in human capital: corporate citizenship, corporate wellness, longer careers and the redefinition of the career itself.

GAO: Majority of Companies Can Now Determine Origins of Their Conflict Minerals

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For the first time, more than half of companies filing conflict minerals reports are able to determine the source of these minerals, according to a Government Accountability Office report on conflict minerals disclosures filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2017. Last year, 53% of the companies were able to report whether their conflict minerals — tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold — came from the Democratic Republic of the Congo or one of the nine neighboring countries.

Beyond Greenwashing: How to Make CSR Clauses Truly Effective (Part 2)

Editor’s note: This is Part 2 in a two-part series covering EcoVadis’s recent study of CSR contractual practices among buyers and suppliers. Part 1 covered the limited effectiveness of today’s CSR clauses

Among buyers, inserting a corporate social responsibility (CSR) clause into their contracts with suppliers is a pretty common occurrence. According to EcoVadis’s 2018 study on CSR contractual practices, about 70% of buyers do so. The same study found, however, that more than 50% of suppliers say that they have come across CSR requirements that could not be met. But perhaps the greater problem is the fact that most CSR clauses are vague and ineffectual, providing for little enforceability and verifiability.

Are CSR Clauses Truly Effective in Improving Supply Chain Sustainability? (Part 1)

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) clauses are a common feature in contracts between buyers and suppliers. Yet the vague language of the majority of these clauses suggests limited effectiveness in actually bringing about sustainable practices, according to a recent study of more than 550 buyers and suppliers conducted by EcoVadis. Today, the adoption of CSR practices is quickly becoming the norm. According to the International Association of Contract and Commercial Managers (IACCM), nearly three-quarters of companies include a sustainability clause in their procurement contracts. Moreover, half also monitor their suppliers’ environmental and social performance.

Thomas CEO Tony Uphoff on Sourcing Alternatives to Plastic Drinking Straws, Regulations and Consumer Sentiment

The year 2018 seems to be the beginning of the end of the plastic straw, and sourcing data from Thomasnet.com indicate that procurement professionals are scrambling to identify alternatives. One of the top marine polluters, plastic straws have been banned in various countries, cities and royal estates around the world, including Scotland, Taiwan, Vancouver and Buckingham Palace. Data from supplier discovery platform Thomasnet.com shows that sourcing activity for drinking straws and paper bags has increased significantly compared with the historical average. Spend Matters recently spoke with Tony Uphoff, president and chief executive at Thomas, to learn more about the industries behind this spike, the roles played by regulations and consumer sentiment, and those iconic red-and-yellow straws.

Majority of CEOs Agree That Sustainability Holds Value to Businesses, Yet Few Are Measuring ROI

CEOs increasingly agree that sustainability holds value to businesses, but quantifying that value remains a challenge. A slight majority of business professionals believe that sustainability drives both revenue and savings for their businesses, but only 30% measure the ROI of their sustainability initiatives. These are some of the findings from the Ethical Corporation’s fourth annual Responsible Business Trends report. This year, more than 1,500 global business professionals took part in the survey, the majority based in Europe and North America. 

Procurement with Purpose: Where SAP Ariba Fits In

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Despite all of the talk we hear about the power of procurement to drive innovation, to drive sustainability and to drive social responsibility and change, this is only the case when there is enough money on the line to warrant the effort it takes for a supplier to change. And even then, there has to be no significant financial impact to the buying organization because the CRO will try to squash the effort if risk is noticeably increased, and the CFO will definitely halt the effort in its tracks if costs substantially increase. Thus, as per our last post, you're only going to make progress on any effort, be it innovation, sustainability or social responsibility, if you have not only board approval but board commitment

Procurement with Purpose: Easy to Say, Hard to Do

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One of the big themes at last week's SAP Ariba Live was “procurement with purpose” — the idea that procurement organizations, with their collective spending power, can use their clout to do good. When you consider that the annual transaction volume through the Ariba Network exceeds the combined annual commerce of Alibaba, Amazon and eBay — and dwarfs that of many nations— it seems quite feasible that procurement can drive change, especially since money talks. But just as only the squeaky wheel gets the grease, only the loudest money is heard above the din.