As of today, UK businesses will have to show that their products and supply lines are free from illegal deforestation under new government plans. A proposed law would require larger companies operating in the UK to show where commodities such as cocoa, soy, rubber and palm oil originated from. It would be illegal to use products that fail to comply with laws to protect nature in those origin nations.
Mark Morley, Director, Product Marketing at OpenText, had the following to say about how UK business can ensure more ethical supply chain operations.
“At the heart of delivering an ethical, sustainable supply chain is visibility, and the key to achieving that visibility is information. An organisation must be able to access information on their suppliers and their activities. They must also be able to make that information accessible to partners and customers. Key areas such as workers’ contracts and conditions, the provenance of materials, environmental performance and financial process need to be able to be monitored, and organisations need to be able to identify any supplier breaches of their ethical policies and take remedial actions quickly.
Therefore, the entire supply chain needs to ensure that areas such as provenance of materials and overall environmental performance are monitored and that the data accumulated is easy to access. After all, brands cannot sell stories of ethics and suitability if they cannot see themselves the exact routes their products take, from creation to market. In this particular case, having better visibility into the provenance of wood supplies will help to better manage deforestation and prevent swathes of forest from being unnecessarily removed.
With consumer priority shifting from cost to a desire to act responsibly, in order to remain competitive, organisations operating in today’s landscape will need to dramatically alter how supply chains operate, shifting towards circular models that reuse, renew and focus on responsible sourcing.”