Imagine if all supply chains had digitised, automated ethical checks written into them? What if buyers or Procurement teams could have peace of mind that their suppliers meet the same Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) criteria they deem essential? Turkish company Jayanti Herbs & Spice is just one example of a company that considers ethical sourcing the key guiding pillar of sustainability, with its afforestation in the Oregano Supply Chain project in Denizli, Turkey.
New levels of transparency and accountability are possible by implementing a supplier network using a virtual connection - so long as that connection runs to and from every member of the chain.
A vital component in making this workable is keeping evaluation metrics comparable, standardised, and centralised. Not an easy task, given the aforementioned disparity between ethical considerations country by country. But by adopting a technologically-led process built around data and statistics in networks, it could improve competitor credibility and relationships, with competition often a strong motivator to encourage ethical performance.
Shared responsibility too, is a factor not to be underestimated. Within complex global supply chains trading partners have a role to play in ensuring ethical operations. Having access to data on-demand is critical to these responsibilities. This level of accountability, where companies can no longer avoid what the data shows, means they cannot absolve themselves of what happens at any point in their sourcing process. Business partners will demand visibility into whom they are dealing with, and their business practices, before building relationships and they will know that this information is available, accurate and persuasive.
This challenge can be mitigated against with the right deployment of the right technology and data management.
In order to guarantee ethical sourcing processes, organisations must have access to data about ethical working practices. They must collaborate and share with stakeholders and customers whenever appropriate and have clear, complete and unfiltered insights into information from every part of the supply chain.
Implementing a complete Source-to-Pay
process can also help ensure an ethical supply chain. Deploying this, including streamlining and automating process for financial and procurement offers enhanced control, visibility and authorisation of spend, allowing for greater control of supplier management.
Supply chains hold a more strategic role within corporations than ever before. So, while calls for more ethical chains are loud and widespread around the world, it is only though the adoption and implementation of sophisticated technology that can provide unequivocal transparency, that they can be guaranteed.