Sedex Con­fer­ence 2018: Be­yond Com­pli­ance in Re­spon­si­ble Sourc­ing

Apparel Online - - Content -

Defin­ing ‘Be­yond Com­pli­ance’ in Re­spon­si­ble Sourc­ing was at the core of the re­cently con­cluded Sedex Con­fer­ence 2018,..

Defin­ing ‘Be­yond Com­pli­ance’ in Re­spon­si­ble Sourc­ing was at the core of the re­cently con­cluded Sedex Con­fer­ence 2018, Lon­don. Del­e­gates from over 40 coun­tries rep­re­sent­ing brands, re­tail­ers and all stake­hold­ers of in­dus­try, par­tic­i­pated in the 2-day long event and dis­cussed many im­por­tant is­sues like the fu­ture of im­pact mea­sure­ment, lead­er­ship skills, forced labour and tech­nol­ogy in­no­va­tion, to name a few. Shar­ing the dif­fer­ence, Jonathan Ivelaw-Chapman, CEO, Sedex said that a year has passed since the last Sedex Con­fer­ence took place, com­pris­ing of many global is­sues that are sadly in a worst state of af­fairs. Jonathan dis­cussed how too of­ten busi­nesses are sim­ply meet­ing ob­jec­tives and stan­dards, rather than striv­ing to go be­yond them which would help make or­gan­i­sa­tions per­form bet­ter so­cially, en­vi­ron­men­tally and fi­nan­cially.

Tom Smith, the Di­rec­tor of Stake­holder Strat­egy for Wal­mart, dis­cussed ‘Trust’ within re­spon­si­ble sup­ply chains. He an­a­lysed why and how con­sumers be­gin to trust com­pa­nies, while nav­i­gat­ing through what he de­scribed as a VUCA world – Volatile, Un­cer­tain, Com­plex, and Am­bigu­ous. Avedis Se­fe­rian, Pres­i­dent and CEO, WRAP re­it­er­ated the point that “You do not fat­ten a pig by weigh­ing it”…, the sug­ges­tion that au­dit and mea­sure­ment alone would not make the change re­quired, which was a state­ment that res­onated with the rest of the panel and del­e­gates alike. The panel also went into de­tail to de­bate the evo­lu­tion of com­pli­ance, with frank in­put from Marco Baren, of Philips, about stop­ping au­dit­ing com­pletely.

The de­bate on ‘Whose re­spon­si­bil­ity is it to go be­yond com­pli­ance’ ar­gued the state­ment: ‘This house be­lieves that bet­ter com­pli­ance alone is in­suf­fi­cient and we are all re­spon­si­ble for go­ing be­yond com­pli­ance’. A panel agreed that whilst there is a time and a place for au­dits and cer­ti­fi­ca­tions (com­pli­ance), they are lim­ited in scope. We must go be­yond com­pli­ance by em­bed­ding these eth­i­cal val­ues in a holis­tic way through a com­pany’s en­tire way of do­ing busi­ness. Fur­ther chal­lenges dis­cussed in­cluded, en­sur­ing that or­gan­i­sa­tions un­der­stand ‘be­yond com­pli­ance’ can­not be achieved if they have yet to reach com­pli­ance,

as well as the im­por­tance of com­pa­nies main­tain­ing stan­dards once com­pli­ance has been achieved. Some speak­ers chal­lenged the stan­dard com­pli­ance pro­cesses, and dis­cussed how they are im­ple­ment­ing new prac­tices, which includes re­plac­ing tra­di­tional au­dit re­liance with great en­gage­ment with sup­pli­ers and greater at­ten­tion on Self-As­sess­ment Ques­tion­naire (SAQs), with real, tan­gi­ble re­sults. Ex­perts fo­cused on how com­pa­nies can use the Sus­tain­able De­vel­op­ment Goals (SDGs) as a guide to go be­yond com­pli­ance. Speak­ers re­it­er­ated the im­por­tance of view­ing the goals along­side each other and em­pha­sised that learn­ing from and com­mu­ni­cat­ing with other busi­nesses is also key to im­prov­ing your own sus­tain­abil­ity poli­cies. Mod­ern slav­ery was also a point of dis­cus­sion and at­trac­tion for par­tic­i­pants. Warner Ten Kate, the Dutch Na­tional Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tor for Traf­fick­ing in Hu­man Be­ings and Peo­ple Smug­gling, dis­cussed mod­ern slav­ery oc­cur­rences and le­gal im­pli­ca­tions in the Nether­lands and be­yond, and the var­i­ous ways au­thor­i­ties and cor­po­ra­tions can tackle such is­sues. Ses­sion on ‘Mod­ern Slav­ery – turn­ing talk into ac­tion’ fo­cused on what busi­nesses and leg­is­la­tors can do to com­bat slav­ery, in­clud­ing the de­liv­ery of schemes for vic­tim sup­port, in­vest­ment in train­ing and ca­pa­bil­ity of sup­pli­ers, ed­u­ca­tion aware­ness pro­grammes and in­creased Gov­ern­men­tal sup­port in this area.

Dis­cus­sion on ‘Be­yond Health and Safety, ad­dress­ing worker well­be­ing’ fo­cused on the more de­tailed way in which worker health and safety should be ad­dressed. This in­cluded re-as­sess­ing the use of only ‘vol­un­tary’ as­sess­ments, as well as the ways to look be­yond the phys­i­cal security of work­ers to un­der­stand their true ‘well-be­ing’. Panel­list agreed that re­gard­ing ‘Trans­form­ing sup­plier train­ing and ca­pac­ity build­ing’, col­lab­o­ra­tion was key and that the shar­ing of ex­per­tise and un­der­stand­ing was in­te­gral to achieve real im­prove­ments. In­ter­est­ingly, al­ter­na­tive routes of com­mu­ni­ca­tion were dis­cussed, with the sug­ges­tions of buy­ers’ first build­ing re­la­tion­ships with sup­pli­ers be­fore ac­tion­ing au­dits, as these can of­ten be viewed neg­a­tively.

Keren Py­bus, Co-Founder and

CEO, Eth­i­cal Ap­parel Africa dis­cussed changes in the ap­parel man­u­fac­tur­ing in­dus­try in Africa, along­side videos of Linda Am­pah, Founder and CEO, KAD Man­u­fac­tur­ing Lim­ited who of­fered real-life sto­ries of how her em­ploy­ees’ lives have changed for the bet­ter, through the train­ing of­fered by Eth­i­cal Ap­parel Africa. Mak­ing the most from worker voice tech­nolo­gies, the speak­ers cov­ered the var­i­ous so­lu­tions the com­pa­nies have been us­ing to gather data from work­ers around the world and ex­plained how this tech­nol­ogy al­lows busi­nesses to reach parts of the sup­ply chain that are tra­di­tion­ally harder to au­dit, such as small sup­pli­ers and labour providers. How­ever, they also agreed that di­rect worker re­port­ing is an­other tool, rather than an an­swer to all risk man­age­ment re­quire­ments. Whilst com­pa­nies can use this to gain worker trust and en­gage­ment, which gives greater in­sight into their work­ing lives and a greater abil­ity to ef­fect change in the work­place, it can­not re­place the val­i­da­tion of in­for­ma­tion that comes through au­dits.

Ses­sion on ‘Mod­ern Slav­ery – turn­ing talk into ac­tion’ fo­cused

on what busi­nesses and leg­is­la­tors can do to com­bat slav­ery, in­clud­ing the de­liv­ery of schemes

for vic­tim sup­port, in­vest­ment in train­ing and ca­pa­bil­ity of

sup­pli­ers...

Sedex mem­ber com­pa­nies in­clude more than 25 var­i­ous in­dus­tries, most of which are cloth­ing (12.25%) and tex­tile seg­ment (2.33%). Over­all, 928 com­pa­nies from In­dia (from all seg­ments) are mem­bers of Sedex.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.