In response to consumer demand for more “responsible” products, businesses have made commitments to ensure their supply chains are sustainable and ethical. But these terms have varied interpretations. What does it mean for a business to be “sustainable”? What constitutes “ethical” and “responsible” practices? How do companies interpret these terms differently? Responsible business is a broad term that has several dimensions.
In today’s climate, it may seem that sustainability is no longer a business priority. Companies have shifted their focus to respond to both a global health pandemic and a social movement of unprecedented scale. With businesses needing to adjust their supply chains, adapt to dramatic changes in demand, and reassess budgets and internal business practices, where does this leave corporate commitments for more sustainable supply chains?
Discussions around supply chain transparency generally focus on brands and retailers—namely, those who directly interact with consumers and whose reputations are at stake when it comes to commitments for responsible sourcing. However, brands and retailers work with many suppliers who form the backbone of their supply chains. Collaboration with these suppliers is important to ensure brand and retailer supply chains meet commitments for transparency, sustainability, and responsible sourcing. The willingness to be transparent about their supply chains, share data with their clients, and implement responsible practices leads to significant benefits for suppliers both in the immediate and long term.