Plan B Should Address Supply Chain Transparency

amee is calling on the all-star group of business leaders to consider how they engage their suppliers on sustainability and transparency

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B Team founder Sir Richard Branson wants to power his own island with 100% renewable energy. Greening its supply chain will be trickier.

By addressing these complimentary issues, amee believes that The B Team can make real progress on the thus far elusive goal of creating a truly sustainable supply chain.

Clear and stringent supplier standards will play a role, so all 14 businesses should make a firm commitment that they will only source products with internationally recognised standards, for example the Rainforest Alliance Certification.

But such commitments can only achieve so much.

A much more fundamental change would be the creation of a culture by which all companies, or at least a significant minority, accept transparency as a normal part of business activity.

And with a whole range of environmental issues – from rising energy prices to water constraints – becoming regular business concerns, ‘sustainability transparency’ is of prime importance.

That’s why The B Team should use their influence as leading supply chain owners to encourage all of their suppliers to report on key environmental metrics, including energy, water and waste.

Positive Engagement

This is not to advocate a top-down approach whereby suppliers are threatened to reduce emissions by X% within a given timeframe or otherwise lose contracts.

Rather it’s about forging collaborative partnerships with those suppliers which are willing to be transparent and which are willing to change.

Supply chain owners can then work with these like-minded companies, for example funding building retrofits and equipment upgrades and sharing best practice, to reduce each other’s exposure to environmental risk and ultimately boosting long-term profitability.

As the wider business community becomes aware of the benefits of being transparent and as more and more forward-thinking corporates join the ranks of The B Team, transparency (and better environmental practice) will filter down through the supply chain.

And where does amee come in?

Well, having created individual company profiles for over 2.1 million companies and pre-populated them with emissions data, amee has created the basic framework to facilitate en masse sustainability reporting.

PPP

Another slogan destined for failure?

Whitewash the Greenwash

Launched by Sir Richard Branson to much media fanfare earlier this month, commentators have suggested that Plan B could move the corporate sustainability movement into a “new dynamic phase”.

What many will want to see is collaborative action and long-term strategy between these big businesses.

Individual efforts like a carbon offset scheme in a tropical location or a novelty roof-mounted wind turbine are fine for a bit of PR, but they won’t get to the heart of the important issues.

Lengthy sustainability reports with glossy pictures and a few randomly selected performance statistics won’t cut it either.

Plan B has the chance to do something ambitious and different.

Some of the Team, like Unilever’s Paul Polman, have already demonstrated with their own companies that they walk the walk, so combining their drive and ambition might create something truly sustainable.

But they need help. Tell them about your business solution here.

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