Ethical Supply Chain Management

Whole Foods Tops 2013 Seafood Retailer Scorecard

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According to the annual CATO Report recently published by Greenpeace, Whole Foods supermarkets has moved to the top of seafood retailers by focusing on the sustainability of their supply chain. The report outlines the current state of retail seafood and discusses the practices, both positive and negative, that are part of the supply chain that puts fish on grocery store shelves. Additionally, Greenpeace ranks the retailers on four criterion: policy, initiatives, transparency, and red list inventory (a list of 22 priority species).

Whole Foods captured the crown by reining in its seafood supply chain; reducing the number of red list fish, offering a selection of sustainable canned tuna, and introducing quantitative policies and initiatives that govern its purchasing decisions. Other notable grocers from this years report include Safeway, who came in second place with their goal of selling no unsustainable seafood by 2015, and Trader Joe’s, who improved from 15th in last year’s report to 3rd this year by significantly stepping up efforts in all four areas.

While there is still work to be done to implement sustainable seafood practices globally, all three of the CATO Report’s top retailers are actively reducing their environmental impact by developing and implementing a thorough sustainable purchasing policy. This is true in many other purchasing areas as well as seafood and can be applied to any business. Reeve Consulting has had experience helping our partners to build out and implement sustainable purchasing policies in dozens of those areas.

The MLB Hits a Homerun for Sustainability

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Tuesday Night Mariano Rivera was named MVP of the 84th Major League Baseball (MLB) All-Star Game. While Rivera’s performance pitching a perfect eighth inning and leading the American League All-Stars to a 3-0 victory over the National League was undoubtedly impressive, the real winner of the night was the environment. As part of an ongoing collaboration between the MLB and the National Resource Defense Council called the MLB Greening Program, the league went above and beyond the already impressive sustainability programs in place at Citi Field to ensure that the 2013 All-Star game featured progressive environmental features.READ MORE

Buying Local Pays Dividends

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LOCO, in cooperation with Columbia Institute and ISIS Research Center at the Sauder School of Business recently released a report titled The Power of Purchasing that outlines the economic impacts of local procurement. This is a landmark study in the Canadian market conducted by Sauder MBA Alumni Anthony Pringle. While most would agree that purchasing locally has a positive economic effect, Pringle sought to quantify the effect by studying the economic effect that B.C. businesses could have by simply purchasing office supplies locally. Without getting into too much detail (read the report, it’s really well written), Pringle compared the economic effect of purchasing office supplies from a local supply company, Mills Basics, to that of purchasing from a national chain. He found that by employing the former, buyers were able to provide nearly double the economic benefit to the local B.C. community in the form of greater employment as well as higher tax revenue for the local government.

 

Although many companies still make purchasing decisions based on price alone, there are a growing number of values based organizations willing to look at the greater economic impact that buying can have. With reports like Pringle’s as ammunition for the fight, purchasing managers in Canada will undoubtedly have a greater opportunity to make the case for local buying.

Bangladesh Factory Tragedy Triggers Reform in Garment Industry

It took the tragic collapse of Rana Plaza and the deaths of over 1,100 garment workers, but consumers and industry experts alike have been spurred to action. More than one million consumers around the world voiced their concern for worker safety by signing petitions advocating that brands improve their accountability for supply chain practices; meanwhile, thanks to the good work of people like our friends Linda and Kevin at Maquila Solidarity Network and Bob Walker at Ethical Funds, labour rights groups and socially responsible investment groups are successfully pressuring retailers and manufacturing companies to ensure continuous improvement to working conditions by getting them to sign the Bangladesh Accord on Fire and Building Safety.

Under the terms of the Accord, brands and retailers are required to guarantee independent safety inspections, safety training, mandatory repairs and renovations to the factories in their supply chain and to terminate business with non-compliant suppliers. Before the collapse at Rana Plaza, only PVH and Tchibo had signed the Accord; since the collapse, 38 companies, including Loblaws, have signed on.

If the deaths of the workers in the Rana Plaza collapse are not to be in vain, we must ensure that the Bangladesh Accord is strong and successful and we must build on that success until all workers can feel safe and secure on the job.

Loblaws and Joe Fresh waking up to more bad news

Every CEO wants to sit down with their coffee and open the paper to find their company making headlines – but not like this.

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Consumers across Canada are looking at the labels in their clothing and wondering if the t-shirt they put on this morning was made in Bangladesh and if the person that made it died yesterday in the catastrophic collapse of a garment factory in Dhakar.  Loblaws, the parent company of the Joe Fresh brand is scrambling to contain a public relations nightmare as word spreads that some of their garments were, in fact, made in that factory.

Loblaws had done its homework, they had audit systems in place to ensure that their clothing was made without child labour and with fair pay and decent working conditions.  But they forgot about the building.  No one thought to ask if the building itself was safe.  Creating comprehensive audits to protect the workers in your supply chain and your brand is what Reeve Consulting specializes in; it is our hope that by encouraging companies to engage in this dialogue and practice that future disasters can be avoided.

Joe Fresh and other Canadian Brands caught up in Bangladesh Ethical Sourcing Tragedy

Today we learned of the devastating collapse of a factory building in Bangladesh, in which some well-known Western brands, such as Joe Fresh, were having their clothing manufactured.  While our sympathies are with the victims and their families, this tragedy brings into focus how important it is for companies who are manufacturing items overseas and domestically to have robust auditing and sustainable and ethical purchasing practices.

This is not the first such tragedy in Dhaka. Just five months ago, a fire killed 112 people in another garment factory. Faulty electrical wiring combined with few and narrow exits were to blame for the deaths. A year before the incident, the factory was purportedly flagged with an “orange” grade by a Walmart ethical sourcing official for “violations and/or conditions which were deemed to be high risk”.  Yet, major brands such as Benetton, Children’s Place, Mango and Walmart were all associated with this tragedy.

Here at home we’ve also seen the effects of poor working conditions ending in tragic situations. Examples such as the mushroom farm in Langley, BC where three people died and two suffered permanent brain damage when entering a pump shed where toxic gas had accumulated. The farm’s composting facility had been operating without an occupancy permit and the Township of Langley had reportedly been trying to shut it down for two years. When manufacturers cut corners and ignore warnings about safety for the sake of their profit margin, they endanger their employees.

Factors like fair pay, good working conditions, health benefits and banning child labour are strategic supply chain issues. Making sure that buildings are in safe and operational condition with no violations is just as imperative as banning child labour, or ensuring fair pay. Responsible sourcing across a supply chain is a process of continual improvement. Working to put the right steps and measures in place takes effort. But the downside risk to a brand when things go bad can sometimes be too much to recover from. Too often, a public relations department is left scrambling after unfortunate events such as this one in Bangladesh, and in 2013 we are still hearing far too often of families left destitute and grieving.

Reeve Consulting is a boutique consultancy that helps clients enhance their brand, their profitability, and their social license by working with them to strategically re-think how they approach the ethical and environmental issues affecting their supply chain.

Due North: Strengthening Green & Sustainable Purchasing in the Yukon

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Various orders of government in the Yukon are committed to reducing the environmental impact of their operations by designing and implementing customized environmental and sustainability policies, projects and programs.

To this end, the Yukon Intergovernmental Committee on Environmental Sustainability (YICES) is focused on identifying opportunities for collaboration to advance a collective sustainability agenda and strengthen individual programs. Recently Reeve Consulting worked with YICES to plan, organize and facilitate a sustainable purchasing workshop in Whitehorse.

Held on October 27th the full-day workshop attracted more than 50 participants, including government staff from four orders of government (federal, territorial, municipal and First Nations) as well as participants from other major organizations in the North such as NorthwesTel, Yukon Energy Corporation and Yukon College.

With a focus on increasing support and skills for green and sustainable purchasing, as well as catalyzing a network between various levels of government to strengthen sustainability initiatives, a key outcome of the event was the high degree of enthusiasm that participants demonstrated for collaboration.

Workshop Highlights

The day kicked-off with a welcoming address from Mike Johnson, Deputy Minister, Highways and Public Works for the Yukon Government who highlighted the importance of sustainable purchasing to the Territories strategic objectives of reducing costs, improving services and infrastructure. Johnson contextualized his remarks with the effects of climate change on the North and the millions being spent to repair highways and roads as a result of permafrost break-up.

Key drivers for sustainable purchasing were highlighted in the first session of the day, with a clear overview of the business case and level of support required to develop a successful sustainable purchasing program. Speakers David Knight, Manager, Procurement Services for Highways and Public Works in the Yukon and Melissa Hall, Procurement Advisor, Corporate Services for Aboriginal Affairs  & Northern Development Canada, made compelling cases around how sustainable purchasing is helping to take advantage of eco-efficiencies associated with reduced packaging, product take-back and reduced greenhouse gas emissions – issues critical to northern communities were transportation costs can be at a premium.

To walk the talk, Reeve Consulting worked with organizers to have Madelaine Plouffe, Green Procurement Team Leader with Public Works Government Services Canada in Gatineau, Quebec provide a lunchtime keynote address via video conferencing technology that allowed for a live and interactive presentation.

A preliminary review of the evaluations shows that participants were very pleased with the event. To build on this momentum, YICES is now working on outlining future workshops.

Environment Yukon has linked to many of the presentations from the day on their homepage. Slides from Reeve Consulting’s presentations [PDF] are also available online.

Talking strategy with City of Whitehorse & the Arctic Winter Games

While in Whitehorse, Tim Reeve also took the opportunity to continue some strategic planning with the City of Whitehorse on the development of their environmental sustainable purchasing policy.

Tim also had the opportunity to stop by the offices of the Arctic Winter Games to meet with organizers and offer some thoughts on how they can achieve zero waste goals for the Games in March 2012.

Sustainable Supply Chains Tops Fall Dialogue Agenda

Whether it’s Apple’s recent woes around supply chain or new innovations at LEGO around sustainable packaging it’s clear that sustainable purchasing and sustainable supply chains continue to be hot topics.

Retailers, sport organizations, major brands and all levels of government want to use the potential of sustainable purchasing to drive key business strategies around supplier engagement, eco-efficiency, social responsibility, brand, employee engagement and risk. With this recognition, industry professionals are looking for the latest trends and key insights on sustainable supply chains.

This fall, a number of high profile Canadian events are addressing this need, inviting professionals to come together to discuss their experiences, learn from leading experts and initiate the dialogue key to navigating this complex field. At Reeve Consulting, we’re looking forward to continuing to contribute to these conversations and hear first hand from thought leaders and innovators.

Green with Envy Radio Show, September 15 @ 10:00 AM


Join us for the Green with Envy radio show at 10:00AM PST on September 15. Of particular interest to sports organizations, we’ll be discussing sustainable sport supply chains with host Peter ter Weeme and Ann Duffy, former Director of Sustainability for Vancouver 2010 and Principal of the Ann Duffy Group.

We’re also headed to two major conferences, which we encourage you to consider attending if you’re in the Toronto or Vancouver area.

International Symposium on Supply Chain Management, September 18-20, Toronto 


Hosted by the Purchasing Management Association of Canada, this annual two-day symposium invites academic researchers and supply chain leaders to review, research, share ideas and develop solutions to critical supply chain issues.

An innovative and inspiring event featuring thought-leaders from around the world, we’re looking forward to lively exchanges of information and experience.

The morning of September 20, Tim will be providing attendees with a closer look at the development of the Sochi 2014 BuySmart Program as a case study in sport organization sustainability. The session will be of particular interest to attendees concerned with how such a program can support brand building, reduce environmental impacts, promote responsible business and improve employee engagement.

Conference on Environmental, Social and Governance Issues, October 3-4, Vancouver


Presented by the Chartered Accountants of Canada, this two-day event will focus on current environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues relevant to directors, corporate leaders, senior management and business advisors looking to manage risk, report effectively and take advantage of emerging opportunities.

Tim will be moderating a panel discussion titled Sustainable Supply Chain: How ESG may impact your supply chain or you as a supplier. The session will feature presenters from Mountain Equipment Co-op and WorkSafe BC with the aim of helping attendees understand how to manage supply chain risks and seize opportunities around their brand and sustainability.

The practitioner-based panel session and ensuing conversation will focus on ‘real world’ examples and practical insights targeted at senior level business leaders interested in how the supply chain can be a key lever point for corporate sustainability programs as well as how risks and opportunities can have major impacts on business strategies, financial results, employee engagement and customer relationships

Environmental and Sustainable Purchasing Workshop, October 18, Whitehorse


We’re also keen to find out how the field of sustainable purchasing is progressing in the North of the country and will be headed to Whitehorse in mid-October to deliver the Environmental and Sustainable Purchasing Workshop.

Drawing representatives from four levels of government – federal, territorial, municipal and aboriginal – this workshop will focus on trends and best practices in the field of sustainable purchasing and how to apply basic tools to engage with existing vendors to maximize environmental outcomes.

Working with a local steering committee, our aim is to explore ways to expand sustainable purchasing in the North and build the capacity of purchasing staff.

Stay tuned for local purchasing event details


Finally, we’re looking forward to a Vancouver-based event at the end of October being organized by LOCOBC and the BuySmart Network focused on local purchasing.

Check back for details as they become available.

Social Accountability 8000 training session postponed

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A few weeks ago we posted a blog inviting you to join us for an SA8000 training session in Vancouver at the end of August. However, due to unforeseen circumstances, this session has been postponed until late fall/early winter 2011. The new dates will be announced by Social Accountability International (SAI) shortly.

The date of the associated networking event, organized by Reeve Consulting, will also be shifted to take place during the re-scheduled SA8000 training week.

Details will be announced here as they become available so please check back. If you’d like more information in the meantime, please contact Kevin McCarty at kevin@reeveconsulting.com

Who do you want to hear from? Call for guest speaker suggestions

Reeve Consulting is partnering with Social Accountability International to deliver SA8000 training, August 22-26 at SFUSocial Accountability International (SAI) Harbourfront in Vancouver.

A fantastic opportunity to develop your expertise in managing CSR initiatives, SA8000 is the leading global social accountability standard for decent working conditions and labour rights. This week-long training will provide practical knowledge on the main issues of social auditing and performance and is targeted at a wide audience including sustainability directors, brand managers, auditors, NGO and government staff, among others.

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In conjunction with the training, we’ll be hosting a dinner and networking event on August 25.  The event will include a guest speaker who will share their extensive experience in global supply chain compliance and implementation of supplier codes of conduct.

In preparation for this networking event, we’re requesting your input:

If there were one person we could bring to Vancouver this year to speak about responsible sourcing, ethical consumerism and sustainable supply chains, who would you like to hear from?

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All answers will be kept private to the Reeve Consulting team.

Thank you in advance for your input!