Why care about human rights and environmental protection in your supply chain?
There’s an increasing awareness of the impact supply chains have on environmental health along with human rights implications. Placing focus on these efforts allows you to position your company as an ethical business and separates you from your competitors that aren’t doing so.
What is the benefit to your company?
Working with suppliers on human rights and environmental protections reduces your company’s exposure to potential legal and regulatory risks. Reducing the negative impacts your supply chain has on these issues will contribute to a more sustainable global economy.
Additionally, customer loyalty begins with trust. Investors and other stakeholders will have confidence that your company’s values are consistent and in their best interests.
Won’t this be expensive?
Additional costs may include implementing training, new processes, or additional support for your supplier in exchange for potentially fewer legal risks, increased customer loyalty, and stakeholder confidence.
How much influence do you have on your supplier(s)?
In the global economy of today’s world, there are potential human rights violations in all stages of operations. Full transparency of your company’s values and ethics, along with other steps that can be taken, can influence the practices of your suppliers, even if they’re on another continent. Incorporating the expectation that your suppliers follow local and international human rights and environmental protection practices in your contract is a great start. Follow this up by requiring evidence that they are complying. You should also conduct appropriate and periodic audits or use third-party certification programs to verify their compliance.
How can you help your supplier reach their Human Rights and Environmental Protection expectations?
Though more costly, providing resources to suppliers, such as training, certifications, and technical assistance, will go a long way to encourage compliance.
The steps you take will depend on your specific situation, business model, and the relationship you have with your suppliers, but ultimately there are steps you can take and resources you can use to be proactive. Begin by engaging with your suppliers and sharing your plan to improve the social and environmental impact of your supply chain.