Best of Spend Matters: Supplier CSR/Labor Practices

Friday Rant: Do We Need a Foreign Corrupt Practices Act for Supply Chain CSR Practices? -- Even though I don't necessarily believe we can extrapolate from UK consumer data whether US consumers will pay more for products and brands that showcase corporate social responsibility (e.g., products with lower carbon footprints than comparable items), I do find the results of a UK study quite interesting. The Guardian highlights some of the findings from a Carbon Trust research study showing "consumer demand for lower-carbon products and services is growing, despite the tough economic climate." In addition, the "research also reveals that consumers are...(Part 2)

Green/CSR Meet the Bottom Line -- Savings Tips From ICG Commerce and Neuwing Energy (Part 1) -- Earlier this week, ICG Commerce acquired Neuwing Energy Ventures for an undisclosed sum. The small transaction is meaningful from more than a numbers standpoint, however, in highlighting the opportunity for energy savings that far too many companies are leaving on the table (and that procurement should take the lead in pursuing). Investing in the right set of capital projects can not only reduce energy consumption and drive relatively near- to mid-term ROI payoff in manufacturing environments. Companies can also take advantage of government incentives that can up the savings potential even more, while accelerating the payback timeline. In this two-part post, I'll highlight three ways that companies can ride the sustainable energy wave to drive procurement and operational savings. (Part 2)

Using Supplier Management Tools to Drive Supplier Compliance -- CSR and Beyond -- In a post yesterday that commented on Sean Delaney's observations on E-Sourcing Forum on linking supplier performance management and CSR, I touched on some of the basic areas that are most often the burning platforms for companies to invest in supplier management tools. Yet simply investing in a technology automation solution to drive supplier information management or supply base management (or whatever you want to call it), it's essential to take a step back before running forward into automation. Our experience suggests...

E-Sourcing Forum -- Linking Supplier Performance Management and CSR -- E-Sourcing Forum went under the knife earlier this spring, and we like what the surgeon came up with (after spending two of the past few weeks in Florida, you become more judgmental of these sorts of things). In all seriousness, the site refresh looks great, and if you've not visited recently, you owe it to yourself to check out what Iasta and their other contributor have come up with. E-Sourcing Forum was one of the very first blogs in the sector and I still check in every week or so. You should too, especially if you're looking for practitioner-informed opinions on all things sourcing, supplier management and contracting.

A Sustainable Supply Chain Conundrum: Companies Care About Appearance, Not Outcomes -- Within procurement, corporate social responsibility may be one of the biggest -- if not superficial and relatively short-lived -- trend in the market right now (besides supply risk, in the wake of recent events), and companies seem to be moving toward being open and transparent about audits, shortfalls, and successes within their global supply chains. As an example, Apple released their Supplier Responsibility 2011 Progress Report earlier this year (see Spend Matters coverage here and here) -- but a recent study from the UK's Warwick Business School and University of Bath School of Management suggests that far from having the good intentions of CSR, that "Most companies' efforts to improve their supply chain sustainability is focused on managing risk and public relations, not on actual improvements to the environment or worker safety, according to a new study."

- Brianna Tonner

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