By Marjoleine Motz
Are you an agriculture-based company and starting to develop a responsible sourcing program or strategy and are you looking for an introductory tool? Then we recommend the Sustainable Sourcing of Agricultural Raw Materials, a Practitioner's Guide, Test Manual for Phase 1 recently published by International Trade Centre (ITC). The Guide will be piloted this year to test is applicability and effectiveness and can be downloaded from the ITC website.
The Guide provides companies many helpful suggestions and recommended approaches. The Guide frames the process of developing a sustainable sourcing program in a few logical steps:
- Developing a strategy
- Determine a standard
- Adjusting business culture and processes
- Communicating with stakeholders
The Guide explains in a very clear way how to determine which raw materials are most prominent or relevant to your business and how to prioritize when you have limited resources. A successful sustainable sourcing strategy must support your core business strategy. The Guide recommends focusing initial efforts in what the authors call the "Smart Zone," where sustainability initiatives provide improved economic, social, and environmental value. It also provides a pleasantly clear overview of the issues that most stakeholders are concerned with along the supply chain. These generally circle around food security, food safety, biodiversity, animal welfare, labor conditions and responsible marketing.
What is very insightful in this Guide is the explanation on how to determine the value drivers – both for your business and your supply chain partners and how this will prove to be helpful over the long run. You will need support from business partners within your organization as well as from your suppliers and other supply chain actors. These partners will be more likely to support you if they understand and recognize the value to their business or organization. Examples given are for instance brand differentiation, improved knowledge and competencies, and access to new markets.
Similar clear descriptions with examples are given on the other process steps. So we would say, go to the website and have a look at the Guide!