CIPS Awards recognise leading Supply Chains

Wednesday night’s award ceremony demonstrates how companies which focus on making their supply chains more sustainable can greatly enhance their corporate reputation

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Sustainable supply chains: key to corporate reputation

While there are many ways for a large company to manage its corporate reputation, the importance of a transparent and sustainable supply chain is now second to none.

Some of the companies which have taken action to achieve this are those which feature in the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply’s (CIPS) 2013 Supply Management Awards, including the following nominees in the ‘Best Contribution to Corporate Responsibility’ category:

These are companies which, according to CIPS, have used “a procurement or supply chain management function to safeguard or enhance its reputation and brand values”.

You don’t have to look far for companies which are failing to do this.

Amazon has been criticised of late for its failure to address supply chain sustainability, for example getting suppliers to cut carbon emissions, an area in which rivals such as Apple and Walmart are now well ahead.

Industry experts have warned that the online giant must quickly react if it is to successfully market itself to the growing contingent of consumers interested in product sustainability.

Chief Risk Officer

Managing sustainability in the supply chain is a complex undertaking and can incorporate a huge number of factors, meaning that better knowledge about suppliers’ environmental performance should be high on the agenda.

For example, are suppliers are being charged more than they should for excessive landfill waste? Are their water bills significantly higher than competitors? Are they making any efforts to cut energy costs?

All of these aspects are closely related to the overall risk that a company faces, which is why many of the almost 2,500 procurement officers who responded to a recent CDP survey “were particularly enthusiastic about the potential of their supply chain sustainability efforts to improve reputations and brand images”.

And considering that the role of Chief Risk Officer is yet to materialise, procurement officers focused on sustainable sourcing and supplier performance are on the frontline of managing a company’s long-term reputational risk.

The companies attending the CIPS awards are likely to be aware of this already, and it’s right that they’ll be rewarded for prioritising it.

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