Nearly 50% of 533 corporate respondents surveyed stated Human Rights was the number one issue in the coming 12 months.

In a world where key stakeholder groups are more connected than ever before, and where corporate malpractice can be spread to thousands at just the click of a button, it is incredibly important for businesses to manage its supply chain risks and operations. To do so, companies must not only identify key risks, but also have a way of tracing the origins of their products to ensure they adhere to all environmental and social expectations and legislation.

There are five issues that over 30% of our survey respondents classed as ‘essential’ for the year ahead.

(The above graph and analysis is taken from our newly published State of Sustainable Supply Chains 2016 whitepaper that's free to download here)

The number one issue is ‘human rights’ – which 47% of respondents identified as an essential focus for 2016 and beyond. Following that are ‘environmental concerns’ and ‘traceability’, with 43% and 42% respectively, and then ‘eliminating dependency on unsustainable raw materials’ and ‘measurement’ with 40% and 30%.

Human rights is of course critical issue for business to understand and manage. From due diligence and engaging workers to understanding the legal environment and mapping human rights risks, businesses need to ensure they are managing their human rights risks. More CSR respondents perceive it as an essential issue in 2016, with 50% labelling ‘human rights’ as essential, 45% say the same for ‘environmental concerns’ and 42% see ‘traceability’ as being critical in 2016 and beyond. The number one issue for supply chain respondents is ‘traceability’, with 40% of respondents identifying it as essential. Traceability is closely linked with human rights as through tracing the complete journey of a product’s inputs, a company can then identify potential risks including human rights. 35% of the supply chain community state ‘human rights’ as essential focus for 2016, followed by ‘environmental concerns’ with 34% labelling it as essential.

It is fair to say collaboration will be play an increasingly critical role in delivering secure and fully traceable supply chain that mitigates critical human rights risks and environmental impacts. The importance of collaboration is highlighted on in more detail in the State of Sustainable Supply Chain Report

Interestingly, while CSR respondents agree with the response of the broader community in all five essential foci, the supply chain management group differ in one area. Supply chain practitioners put ‘measurement’ 6th on their list of priorities, and replace it with ‘engaging supply chain colleagues’, which 30% identify as ‘essential’.

We confess this has surprised us as we believed engaging supply chain colleagues would be a higher priority to the CSR group – who are trying to encourage more sustainable thinking and behaviour in supply chain activities. However, a probable reason for it being higher priority to our supply chain respondents is the fact they work with and engage their supply chain colleagues on a daily basis.

The above is an extract from the newly published 15-page whitepaper that outlines some of the key trends, issues and opportunities as outlined by over 500 CSR and supply chain professionals. The whitepaper is available as a free download, simply click here to get access to the report

Human rights  supply chain  trends  traceability 

The Sustainable Supply Chain Summit 2016

October 2016, London

Over 150 leading supply chain, sustainability and sourcing professionals will meet to share insights and practical tips to address key issues such as; human rights, environmental management, lifecycle assessments, supplier partnerships and more

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