Have Supply Chains Changed Since Rana Plaza?

It is clear that we have the power and the ability to make supply chains safer and more sustainable. Waiting for another disaster in Bangladesh or anywhere else in the world is inexcusable.

One year after the collapse of the Rana Plaza apparel factory in Bangladesh killed more than 1,000 people, it is clear that things aren’t changing quickly enough for workers in global supply chains.

In fact, according to a forthcoming report by Ceres and Sustainalytics that tracks corporate progress on sustainability issues, 42 percent of the 613 largest publicly traded companies in the United States still do not have supplier codes of conduct in place that address human rights in supply chains.

Ceres set specific expectations for corporations in regards to supply chain management in its Roadmap for Sustainability. A key expectation is that companies must ensure that suppliers meet the same environmental and social standards — including disclosure of goals and performance metrics — as the company has set for its internal operations.

This is a simple message, and while Ceres recognizes that it takes effort, investment and commitment to implement sustainable business strategies across global supply chains, companies must do more to demonstrate that they are being proactive and not waiting for the next factory fire or collapse before taking action. Too is much at risk for the company and its investors. But more important, people’s lives are at stake.

A relative holds a picture of a missing garment worker, who was working in the Rana Plaza building when it collapsed, in Savar, 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka April 24, 2013.

Until companies elevate sustainability as a core value in procurement, comparable to quality and price, suppliers will not be adequately incentivized to meet the environmental and social expectations set forth in their customers’ supplier codes of conduct. According to the forthcoming report, 47 percent of companies demonstrate some inclusion of environmental and/or social criteria in the procurement decision-making process. Given the intense, widespread focus on supply chain impacts for companies in various sectors, we expected this number to be higher.

Take Control of The Supply Chain
Companies, especially major international brands, have the power to significantly influence the behavior of their suppliers. As customers, they can insist that suppliers meet international human rights standards, and they can engage and help suppliers improve sustainability performance through incentives, technology and training. Companies know that business viability and success depends on managing their supply chains sustainably.

The forthcoming report, to be released April 30, will show a moderate increase in company engagement with suppliers to support social and environmental performance improvement. A third of companies have some activities in place to engage suppliers on sustainability performance issues, up from 27 percent in 2012. There is clearly room for improvement here, as sharing expertise on having a long-term sustainable business can only strengthen the resiliency of corporate supply chains.

On the anniversary of the Bangladesh disaster at Rana Plaza, we should take a moment to pause, reflect and inspire ourselves to be bolder in our commitments to change and to accelerate the pace of our actions.

It is clear that we have the power and the ability to make supply chains safer and more sustainable. Waiting for another disaster in Bangladesh or anywhere else in the world is inexcusable.

Source: GreenBiz

Related: Global Supply Chains: Deciding the Way Forward
Global Supply Chains: Deciding the Way Forward

Article Topics

Ceres News & Resources

Tesla is Disrupting More Than Just the Car Business
A Dirty Little Secret On How We Get Our Packages
The Road to 2020: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability
Have Supply Chains Changed Since Rana Plaza?

Latest in Supply Chain

How Businesses Can Strengthen Their Supply Chains & Build Future-Ready Supply Networks
The Elusive AI Based Supply Chain Control Tower Platform
Global Trade Trends Overview with S&P Global Market Intelligence Head
When It Comes to Digital Transformation You May Not Be Doing What You Think
Discover How Procurement is Driving Sustainability
Online Sellers Find Excellent Opportunities to Win More Customers this Easter
How Chief Operating Officers are Achieving Results with Supply Chain Software
More Supply Chain

Ceres is a non-profit organization advocating for sustainability leadership. We mobilize a powerful network of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy.

View Ceres company profile


Featured Downloads

Warehouse Contingency Planning Template
Warehouse Contingency Planning Template
We’ve taken the guesswork out of warehouse contingency planning with this downloadable editable template; from performing a risk assessment to testing...
AlixPartners 2023 Disruption Index A Bias for Action Sets Growth Leaders Apart
AlixPartners 2023 Disruption Index A Bias for Action Sets Growth Leaders Apart
In their 4th annual AlixPartners Disruption Index, business leaders cite this as the central dilemma, with 85% of CEOs telling us that it...

2023 Digital Transformation Report
2023 Digital Transformation Report
In this 2023 Digital Transformation Report, we share insights gained from our annual research on technology trends and digital transformation and explore the...
The State of Digital Transformation
The State of Digital Transformation
This White Paper Report combines our research findings with insights into what transformation truly entails – plus, guidance from our data and digital...
Multi-Party Orchestration Platform
Multi-Party Orchestration Platform
In this brochure, you'll find a guide to MPO's unified cloud platform for multi-party orchestration, including its rich and flexible solutions: Control...