Ceres Launches Online Supply Chain Sustainability Tool

September 18, 2012 in Our View, Reporting, Strategy

In August, Ceres has released a free online tool to help companies assess their supply chain sustainability, namely The Supplier Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ): Building the Foundation for Sustainable Supply Chains. The tool represents an important part of the supply chain management promoted by Ceres worldwide, which is a major focus of the 21st Century Corporation: The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability, a practical framework for developing a sustainable business strategy.

SAQ was designed for the industrial goods sector, but can be useful for all companies seeking to strengthen supply chain engagement, according to Ceres, who consulted for this project many existing sustainability initiatives including the Electronic Industry Citizen Coalition, the Global Social Compliance Program or Sedex. It’s intended to be the first step in developing dialogue between a company and its suppliers in identifying, assessing, managing and disclosing supply chain sustainability risks. In the same time, following the indicators of SAQ, the companies can save money and become more productive.

Basically, the SAQ is expected to stimulate companies to ask for sustainability performances from their suppliers. For example, in matter of investments in wide-ranging codes of conduct to guide their suppliers’ environmental performance, a study made by Verdantix this year shows that only Danone, Heinz, PepsiCo and Unilever have a good cover.

The SAQ asks businesses to collect information on four topics — general company information, environment, social and governance — and then asks a series of questions. On the environmental side, these include, among many others:

  • Does the facility monitor and track energy consumption and conduct on-site energy audits?
  • What is the total annual GHG emissions in the most recent year measured?
  • Does the facility treat wastewater prior to off-site discharge?
  • Does the facility maintain records of off-site transfer, treatment and disposal of waste?
  • Does the facility incorporate packaging reduction, reuse and recycling in its purchasing practices?

Supply Chain Sustainability in Romania

Though three (Danone, PepsiCo and Unilever) of the four companies with good cover on following suppliers sustainability have activities in Romania, this kind of ethical business conduct is still far from being realized by the Romanian business sector. Ceres activity on sustainable business is out of the local companies sight. For example, only World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – with a branch in Romania – is listed as a member of the Ceres coalition.

About Ceres

Ceres is an advocate for sustainability leadership and mobilizes 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. The Ceres Coalition is comprised of more than 130 institutional and socially responsible investors, environmental and social advocacy groups and other public interest organizations.

Its mission is to mobilize investor and business leadership to build a thriving, sustainable global economy. Over its 20-plus year history, Ceres fought to promote sustainability and, among other initiatives, maybe the most well known is launching of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), now the de-facto international standard used by more than 1,800 companies for corporate reporting on environmental, social and economic performance.