Ceres has released an online questionnaire to help companies assess supply chain sustainability.
The “Supplier Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ): Building the Foundation for Sustainable Supply Chains” was originally designed for the industrial goods sector, but Ceres said its recommendations around strengthening supply chain engagement can be applied to most other industries.
The goal of the SAQ is to serve as a dialogue among a company and its suppliers, and identify, assess, disclose, and manage supply chain sustainability risks. It asks businesses to collect information on four topics — general company information, environment, social, and governance — and then asks a series of questions around that data.
For the environmental side, questions cover things like:
- Do facilities monitor and track energy consumption, or conduct on-site energy audits?
- What are the total annual GHG emissions in the most recent year measured?
- Does the facility incorporate packaging reduction, reuse, and recycling in its purchasing practices?
The company said evaluating and managing these and other related practices and performance can improve overall productivity while helping to curb sustainability problem areas.
An August study by Verdantix found only four of the world’s largest food producers — Danone, Heinz, PepsiCo, and Unilever — have invested in wide-ranging codes of conduct to guide their suppliers’ environmental performance. These companies have reportedly found benefits beyond sustainability through these practices, and most feel others would see the same benefits if they follow suit.
Ceres is an advocate for sustainability leadership and has created a network of investors, companies, and public interest groups that push for business-based sustainability practices. The group said its SAW is designed to bring a variety of change and additional savings to customers that look into sustainable practices, requirements, and partners. - Geoff Whiting