A delegation of retailers, academics and specialists gathered in Birmingham to discuss ways in which to increase transparency within the supply chain industry.
Business leaders from huge retail chains and supermarkets were amongst those who met at the event, which was organised by sustainability and ethics consultants Responsible Trade Worldwide (RTW).
The event was a response to recent controversies involving the industry, including the BBC Panorama investigation that found the “cruel exploitation” of garment factory workers in developing countries.
Demands for increased transparency within the supply chain were also sparked by the Rana Plaza factory collapse back in April, when almost 1,200 people lost their lives and many more were paralysed and left unable to work.
RTW said that this disaster was caused by a mixture of “corruption, ignorance and low working standards”, saying that they are “still commonplace”.
Jo Webb, head of stakeholder relations for Sedex said, “Collaboration is key. Some of the chronic supply chain issues we are seeing are endemic and no one company can solve them on their own. “
Webb added, “Duplication is still prevalent. However, if companies can treat sustainability as non-competitive issues and work together to drive convergence then more time and effort could be spent on addressing issues rather on commissioning constant audits to differing requirements”.
Sedex is currently running a mini documentary series in which it investigates problems within the supply chain, encouraging businesses to work together to come up with viable solutions to all risks within a multi-tiered supply chain.
Episode three looked specifically at the way in which businesses could drive transparency to improve standards.