Tag Archives: supply chain

New Terms of Engagement for Levi Strauss & Co. Global Supply Chain

Yesterday, Levi Strauss & Co.  announced a new Terms of Engagement for its global supply chain, moving beyond compliance to help improve the lives of workers in factories around the world. Under the new approach, LS&Co. will require contract factories to help make employees’ lives better by supporting programs for their workers that align with UN Millennium Development goals.

In a speech delivered today at the CERES annual conference, CEO and President John Anderson said: “We are proposing a new apparel industry standard of social, economic, and environmental sustainability that focuses on improving workers’ lives. If our ultimate goal is to improve not just factory conditions, but to make a material difference to the people and communities in our supply chain, then we need a more holistic approach and a more human perspective.”

The speech comes twenty years after Levi Strauss & Co. announced a Terms of Engagement that set a new standard of compliance for vendor factories in the apparel industry. The TOE required manufacturing factories to follow health, safety and environmental standards set by Levi Strauss & Co. This standard – considered pioneering at the time – rapidly became the norm for most companies with a global supply chain.

Anderson argued that companies need to do more to create progress and move the industry forward: “Compliance has us focused on two things: a legalistic standard of “do no harm” and factory-level monitoring and reporting,” said Anderson. “While we’ve made progress in a number of areas over twenty years, the hard truth is that we haven’t made enough progress on improving the everyday lives of the people who make our products.”

A New Terms of Engagement
The company’s new approach will focus on programs that align with the UN Millennium Development Goals http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ specifically: improving maternal and child health; combating HIV/AIDs, and other diseases; promoting gender equality and empowering women; eradicating extreme poverty and hunger; and ensuring environmental sustainability.

LS& Co. committed to a nine-month advisory process with NGOs, other brands, labor unions and suppliers around the world. At the end of the process, Levi Strauss & Co. will release a white paper for public comment and then will begin implementing the new terms of engagement with suppliers in May 2012.

The company argued that a new terms of engagement is not only the right thing to do, but is good for business: “We are sure that if companies focus not just on the minimum legal requirements, but on a broader vision of social, economic, and environmental sustainability, they will be rewarded,” said Anderson.

Levi Strauss & Co. is a participant in the CERES Investor Business Roundtable for a Sustainable Economy announced this morning. The company made the commitment as part of a keynote speech delivered at the 2011 CERES Conference. For more information about the Roundtable, visit: ceres.org.

For the full John Anderson speech and more background information, please visit:http://www.levistrauss.com/new-termsofengagement. (Source: CSRwire PR)

Illycaffè Earns the First DNV Responsible Supply Chain Process Certification

On March 18, 2011 illycaffè became the world’s first company to receive a Det Norske Veritas (DNV) Responsible Supply Chain Process certification, attesting to the company’s long-running sustainable approach to production and its relations with stakeholders throughout the production chain, particularly with green coffee suppliers.

The illycaffè model is innovative in assigning critical roles to quality and value creation. The certification was officially conferred at illycaffè’s twentieth annual meeting in Brazil, recognizing suppliers for coffee production meeting the company’s industry-leading quality standards.

DNV, an international, independent leader in product and process certification, in part modeled its new certification standard on the illycaffè supply chain model, buttressing it with current and emerging stringent guidelines for sustainability and corporate responsibility, and with standards of reference for certification and accreditation activities. The certification incorporates both pan-industry standards and industry specific standards. Officially, illycaffè received the DNV Green Coffee Responsible Supply Chain Process certification.

The standard developed by DNV is innovative because it marks the passage from the certification of an organization’s supply chain to the certification of an organization’s ability to create value that benefits everyone involved.

“We are proud to have obtained this certification, which recognizes and validates how we have operated over the past 20 years, through protocols and procedures that guarantee the excellence of our final product,” said Andrea Illy, President and Managing Director of illycaffè. “illycaffè has always been a stakeholder company, based on ethics and with the objective of improving quality of life. Quality is a key concept in our company philosophy. Our continuous search for quality creates a virtuous cycle that creates value for everyone involved, from coffee growers to coffee drinkers, in growing magnitude over time.”

Quality and sustainability are for illycaffè inseparable: a truly excellent product cannot be anything but sustainable in three critical aspects: economic, social and environmental. Economic sustainability is achieved through the creation of value for all those involved, from the grower to the final consumer. Social sustainability rests on the concepts of individual growth and self-realization. Environmental sustainability means respect for the ecosystem, through, for example, the use of recyclable shipping and packaging materials and the application of non-polluting practices.

“This supply chain certification standard is particularly innovative in demonstrating a company’s ability to create value over the long term,” said Thomas Vogth-Eriksen, Chief Executive Officer DNV Business Assurance. “The schema focuses on the building of shared value in a context where social development stimulates economic development, recognizing that a business grows in large part through its ability to help its partners and suppliers grow.”

Over the past two decades illycaffè has perfected a system of direct relationships with its suppliers, based on three main pillars: selecting the best growers in coffee producing countries; transferring to these growers, through the company’s Università del Caffè and the daily field work of specialized agronomists, comprehensive knowledge accumulated over 80 years of practical experience and research to produce coffee meeting illy’s high quality standards; and purchasing the best production directly from growers, paying them a premium over the going market price to reward quality achieved, and incentivize ongoing improvement. (Source: BusinessWire)

Sustainable supply chain: how to build it?

At the beginning of March 2011, McDonald’s announced its Sustainable Land Management Commitment (SLMC), a long-term plan to ensure the corporation only serves food (and uses packaging) certified as sustainably sourced. The initial focus is on five high impact products: beef, poultry, coffee, palm oil and packaging.  McDonald’s certainly have all the power to be able to win negotiations with suppliers and reach its goals, but what about small retailers who are buying from overseas?

Shirahime, a UK based ethical fashion consultancy, has published a guide to responsibly sourcing textiles and clothes from India.

Despite its narrow country and industry focus, the guide is packed with advice for any business looking to find responsible goods or services suppliers from overseas. Here’s an excerpt of the Shiraname’s guide.

Be clear about the outcomes you want to achieve
Define aims clearly and build a strategy around the outcomes you want to achieve. Don’t look exclusively for suppliers who have certification. Certification is a costly process and may not guarantee the specific outcomes youwant.

Instead, visit potential suppliers and examine their operations for yourself. If you do this, make sure you have a suitable translator and cultural liaison who can guide your decision making process. In addition, start networking, even if it’s with your competitors. If you do this up front it can vastly increase your chances of success in finding the right supplier.

Consider company size alongside business practices
There can be a correlation between a supplier’s size, the goods or services it provides, and its ability to operate responsibly.

As a broad rule of thumb, the larger the company the more comprehensive their offering will be. Yet the larger the company, the more likely it is that their business is focussed upon financial efficiency, not responsible practice. Therefore, if you’re looking for a responsible supplier it may be worth choosing smaller producers rather than bulk providers as your partners.

Consider alternatives to your preferred goods, service or country
In order to get the most responsible procurement deal, businesses have to change their mindset and be open minded about both the country of origin and the goods or service they’re looking to procure.

Be prepared to invest as well as purchase
Businesses need to think about how they can contribute long term value to their suppliers’ enterprise beyond a simple commercial deal. This is where the value of being clear in your outcomes and partnering with other companies can yield substantial benefits. (Source: Guardian.co.uk)

Italian consumers love sustainable products but need better product information.

One of the findings of the “For a Sustainable Supply Chain: business and consumers point of view” survey conducted by the GfK Eurisko and promoted by the Sodalitas Foundation,  the product/service sustainability is ranked fourth among the criterias used by consumers when choosing, but if better communicated, will become an increasingly important requirement. During the investigation 500 consumers and 183 businesses were interviewed . To more than a third of the companies, sustainability is very important. However, only a minority (29%) in the interviewed sample declares to be thoroughly familiar with this concept, while a substantial percentage (45%) say they have “enough information”, confirming the gradual integration of this concept in the corporate culture .
The majority of consumers (63%) had heard of sustainability, even if only 19% of them (mostly young and with a high level of education) believe to know well its meaning, with a prevalence of the environmental (83% ) on the social aspects (64%).

The responsibility for a “sustainable development” is primarily attributed to the central Government (86%) and to local governments (82%), but a very high percentage of respondents (over 70%)  thinks businesses and citizens responsible to ensure the sustainability of the development. The opinions about the companies’ commitment to sustainability is different: one third of the sample (35%) expressed a positive opinion, a  third is critical and another third has no a definite opinion about it.

Only a third of consumers (32%) had heard of “sustainability of the supply chain” (a percentage that is growing in those aged more mature and – especially – among those with a higher education degree). But after the concept was briefly explained a large majority (76%) said to believe that companies must ensure the sustainability of their supply chain. Today, already one quarter of Italian consumers are chosing which products to buy also using supply chain sustainability criterias. Three quarters of consumers also agreed to pay more for a product which is guaranteed in terms of its sustainability. The focus is on all product categories but in particular on food (71%) and detergents (65%). And, at least in theory, the majority of consumers (76%) would be willing to pay more for a guaranteed product in terms of sustainability (though – the majority said to be ready to pay only “little” or “very little” more). (Source: GfK Eurisko, Image credits: Transocean)