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May 14, 2007

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Supply chain pressures on Corporate Responsibility

May 14, 2007


If you want to be a first, second or third tier supplier to a Fortune 500 company in future, then you will need to demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and responsible business. That was one of my main “take-aways” from last week’s Responsible Business summit in London, organised by Business in the Community and Ethical Corporation. Mike Barry from Marks and Spencer explained that more than half the 100 actions in the M&S Plan A involving changing their suppliers’ behaviour. Barry described the supply chain as the single biggest challenge now for corporate responsibility.

Speakers from companies such as hp and Skanska identified a series of emerging good practice techniques for improving environmental and social performance through the supply chain. This includes getting suppliers to understand why these issues are now so important; and intense and regular selling to suppliers and their workers, of the benefits of adopting higher environmental and social standards. Marks and Spencer this summer, for example, are running a virtual suppliers’ exchange, enabling all their 12,000 suppliers to exchange good practice on-line. They are also sponsoring innovation clubs with suppliers; and brokering between suppliers and external sources of funding for environmental and social upgrades.

More information can be found on the Doughty Centre for Corporate Responsibility website

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May 14, 2007

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