Responsible supply chain specialists Sedex Global have announced a partnership with the World Bank Institute to develop Open Supply Chain Platform — a new initiative to address global gaps in the availability and visibility of responsible supply chain data.
Sedex says the Open Supply Chain Platform will help companies better understand their performance, increase sustainability and diversity, and generate shared values along global supply chains. Developed as part of the World Bank Institute’s Open Private Sector Platform, the web-based and user-managed online platform will offer comprehensive supply chain information and enable businesses to conduct online assessments on their suppliers and consumers, based on a series of governance and sustainability indicators. Sedex Global will develop content for the platform, while OpenCorporates will design system architecture.
Data openness provides multiple supply chain benefits and efficiencies. The European Parliament adopted the directive on disclosure of non-financial and diversity information on April 15, 2014. Many EU companies will need to disclose information on policies, risks and outcomes linked to environmental performance, social and employee-related aspects, respect for human rights, anti-corruption practices, bribery issues and diversity.
While this is a timely public policy response to the surging demand in corporate transparency, currently there is no common mechanism for the private sector to openly share such information, and there is a widening gap between companies that have the knowledge, capacity and funds to afford open and collaborative behaviors, and those who don’t. This can be especially true for SMEs who face capacity constraints.
The Platform will enable suppliers to benchmark themselves against core international standards and provide guidance on areas of weakness, in turn enabling them to drive improvements and share information on performance with buyers. For buyers, the platform will inform sourcing decisions by empowering them to search for, and source goods and services from suppliers that demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of sustainability requirements and commitments. As such, Sedex says the Open Supply Chain Platform will help create a more level-playing field for supply chain data by offering a range of functionalities to drive sustainability performance in global supply chains.
Sedex CEO Carmel Giblin said, “We are delighted to be working on this exciting initiative. By combining Sedex’s 10 years’ experience of responsible sourcing with the global reach of the World Bank Institute, the Open Supply Chain Platform will deliver a step change in the uptake of responsible behaviors and practices by businesses. It will foster governance, sustainability and social development impacts in global supply chains.”
Benjamin Herzberg, Program Lead, Open Private Sector at the World Bank Institute, said, “The World Bank is committed to scaling up development impacts and achieving the goals of ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. It is thus essential that we encourage the private sector to adopt open and collaborative behaviors that favor social, environmental and governance outcomes. That’s the purpose of our Open Private Sector Platform. We are delighted to embark on this new endeavor together with Sedex and OpenCorporates as we believe we can better help leverage the buyer-supplier relationship to improve sustainability, transparency, and accountability in business practices.”
The evolution and growth of responsible sourcing has brought with it a growing landscape of initiatives, systems, codes and standards. Leveraging the existing reach of OpenCorporates — the world’s largest open database of companies with data on over 60 million companies in 80 jurisdictions — Sedex says the Open Supply Chain Platform will benefit all users through an open data approach. Suppliers, buyers, consumers, data aggregators and standard makers alike will be able to track and report sustainability and governance outcomes around the globe in a fully sharable manner.
With supply chain sustainability a top priority for companies that want to operate responsibly, a number of tools have emerged — SupplyShift, the Higg Index 2.0 and LaborVoices, to name a few — that provide unprecedented visibility into the impacts felt in the farthest reaches of their supplier networks.