Tom Smith (pictured), Director of Strategy & Planning, Sedex writes: Climate change, biodiversity, human rights and development issues are higher up the global agenda this year than ever before.
The adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals will shape the global remit for social, economic and environmental development for the next 15 years, while COP21 aims to achieve a new international global climate agreement to tackle the growing environmental crisis. Both of these global sustainability initiatives are set to provide an important framework and vision for the future and will have a huge effect on how our world will look in the years to come. But solutions will come in many forms and need to be driven by businesses, governments, society and individuals. We all have a role to play in fighting climate change and it can only be done through collaboration.
From changing routes of supply, to resource scarcity and extreme weather events, climate change has huge implications for global supply chains. There are many good examples of how individual companies are already committing to leadership on climate – from reducing carbon emissions, to working on energy efficiencies on their sites, to using renewable energy and embedding supplier performance in businesses throughout their supply chains.
As well as individual efforts, a growing number of companies and investors are recognising the power of collaboration to drive transparency down the supply chain and to tackle sustainability issues at scale. Various collaborative initiatives, such as Sedex (the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange), AIM-PROGRESS, and the Bangladesh Accord, have successfully helped to boost the availability of supply chain data by enabling businesses to share information with each other.
For example, AIM-PROGRESS is a forum of leading fast-moving consumer goods manufacturers assembled to enable and promote responsible sourcing practices and sustainable supply chains. By collaborating on pre-competitive basis, member companies can maximise their impact, sending a strong message on the benefits of many players working together and providing additional leverage that smaller purchasing companies might not possess on their own.
The Bangladesh Accord, representing over 190 brands, over 1600 factories and more than two million workers, is an independent, legally binding agreement between global brands, retailers and trade unions designed to build a safe and healthy Bangladeshi ready-made garment (RMG) industry. Created in the immediate aftermath of the Rana Plaza factory collapse, the agreement aims to enable a working environment in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses, or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures. Such collaboration initiatives help to tackle supply chain issues at scale.
However, another issue to look at when trying to improve supply chain standards is the nature of the supply chain information which should be captured and how it should be communicated. There is a wide range of existing codes, certifications and frameworks. Although this increase can be viewed as positive since it gives businesses the flexibility to choose the right method to meet their needs but there is a limit to the number which is useful as additional codes might end up replicating others. This puts an extra burden on suppliers as they might struggle to prove they conform to too many different standards.
Sedex – a not-for-profit global membership organisation – was created with a dual mission to help drive improvements in working conditions and reduce duplication of ethical data in global supply chains. Since launch in 2004, Sedex has grown to become the world’s largest collaborative platform for managing and sharing supply chain sustainability data on health & safety, labour standards, the environment and business ethics. Sedex provides its members – currently 38,000 organisations in 150 countries – with a range of multi-tier supply chain mapping solutions to help them identify, measure and manage environmental and ethical risks in their supply chains. By connecting buyers and suppliers, Sedex not only increases transparency down multi-tier supply chains but also reduces the burden on suppliers, who only have to enter their data once to share it with multiple customers.
Sedex aims to help members to address increasing numbers of queries relating to environmental factors and the impact of climate change on their supply chains. We have recently partnered with CDP, the leader in carbon emission reporting, to help member companies address climate change risks and reduce their environmental footprint. Many Sedex members are already reporting on GHG emissions and energy usage using CDP. This new partnership will help to decrease duplication – as members will only need to report the environmental data once. Additionally, using this data collaboratively enables more robust risk management and builds more resilient supply chains by ensuring transparency in tracking emissions and identifying potential risks associated with climate change.
Initiatives like these are vital in helping catalyse business-to-business partnerships to scale up sustainability efforts, but they should be complimented by business-to-government collaboration to put best practices and suitable regulations in place.
While global climate negotiations have been ongoing for more than twenty years, we are now at a crucial point in history. From rising sea levels, extinction of species, water scarcity and deforestation to extreme weather conditions threatening food security, the world is already feeling the effects of irreversible climate change. The risks posed by climate change may be greater than ever anticipated, but so is our capacity to tackle them. This is the time when business, government and world leaders should collaborate to take bold action, adopt forward-looking strategies and call for ambitious policies that will allow the scaling up of sustainable solutions for the years to come.
Figure 1: Sedex provides an efficient and cost effective way for supplier to share ethical information with multiple customers, helping cut down unnecessary paperwork and saving them time and money, while improving buyers’ supply chain visibility and data.
About the author
Tom Smith is Director of Strategy & Planning at Sedex. Since joining Sedex in 2007, he helped the organisation grow from a staff of four to become the world’s largest collaborative platform for managing and sharing ethical supply chain data. Having worked in various roles at Sedex, including business development, marketing and membership support, he is now leading the organisation’s future strategy planning and is responsible for ensuring Sedex achieves its strategic objectives. His role is to engage all the team, members, external business and industry leaders to influence strategies and ensure Sedex remains a leader in the global supply chain sustainability and responsible sourcing community.
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”