Avery Dennison: Supply Traceability Meets Strategic Sourcing (Part 1)

Earlier this week, Avery Dennison unveiled a new formalized company-wide policy that’s designed “to promote responsible paper sourcing and procurement.” The path Avery Dennison is pursuing in qualifying and managing suppliers and chain of custody for sustainable paper products is not likely to look so different from the supply management of organizations that need to comply with Dodd-Frank (conflict minerals) and other types of assurance and traceability requirements—even if the firm is going a step further in supplier development and related initiatives.

According to Avery Dennison’s announcement, the program was developed with the Rainforest Alliance, and requires the organization to “identify and disclose the sources of the pulp, natural fiber and paper in its labeling and packaging materials and solutions” and “help ensure that its suppliers follow sustainable forest management practices”. Furthermore, it “evaluates and rewards sound environmental performance on the part of its supply chain partners” and aims to “maximize its use of recycled content and fiber sourced from Forest Stewardship Council-certified forestry operations” while avoiding “controversial fiber sources.”

Like many companies focused on supplier risk and compliance, Avery Dennison is engaging third-parties from a support, certification and auditing perspective, “including Rainforest Alliance, to assess the potential risk to the company's supply chain of illegal timber or irresponsibly harvested fiber and develop systems and procedures for documenting, verifying and reporting supplier performance.” For those in the supplier development, quality and compliance worlds, this might all sound rather boilerplate, but the process entailed, which Avery Dennison outlines in a report on their website, has a number of nuances worth exploring further.

This includes the concept of influencing good behavior through preference, based on verifiable and documented practices. As we continue our investigation into Avery Dennison’s supplier sustainability and compliance efforts, we’ll investigate the somewhat blunted teeth behind the bite of these policies in comparison to other global policies on purchasing and sourcing and supply chain sustainability.

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