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12 December 2014

Companies "struggling to manage" sustainable supply chains

Content team

Despite the fact that the majority of organisations have a sustainable purchasing policy in place, just 15 per cent have a dedicated department to manage supply chain sustainability, according to a new study.

The survey - entitled 'Sustainable Supply Chain Review 2014' and undertaken by Italian sustainable procurement organisation Acquisti & Sostenibilita - polled 430 companies to reveal that two-thirds define the factors of sustainability across the supply chain.

It found that 44 per cent of the participating companies provided training for staff in supply chain sustainability, but just ten of the firms had full-time resources to manage this aspect of the business.

The study, which analysed sustainability reports from businesses in 40 countries worldwide between January and August 2014, discovered that 56.5 per cent of respondents claimed to evaluate suppliers based on sustainability criteria, but over a third of the 430 companies polled had dedicated evaluation tools at their disposal.

“It is clear the lack of evaluating [and] monitoring tools that can measure suppliers' sustainability levels represents a weakness, since it is left to internal systems with an insufficient updating and interrupted process,” the report said.

According to Acquisti & Sostenibilita, German telecommunications company Deutsche Telekom was the best performing company in the telecoms, food and beverage, automotive, electronics, textile and clothing and retail sectors.

Perhaps the reason many firms lack a dedicated workforce to oversee sustainability in their supply chains is that they are more focused on other business areas.

A separate study from Efficio published last month suggests that delivering savings and reducing costs are viewed as top priorities for 51 per cent of procurement leaders, compared to just 11 per cent for corporate social responsibility and sustainability.

Other focuses for the 260 senior industry professionals polled included improved innovation and collaboration (32 per cent), risk management and compliance (30 per cent) and revenue generation/new product launches (23 per cent).

Content team, Bureau van Dijk

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