Every other year, a team of MBA students from the Poole College of Management take a one credit class I teach on supply chain sustainability. As part of this class, students are assigned to teams to study a group of companies within a particular industry, and by applying the Supply Chain Sustainability index developed through research at the Supply Chain Resource Cooperative, produce a series of reports identifying who the best companies are from the pool listed.
This year, we had the students complete industry-specific reports, and they added a number of other insights that are specific to each industry. The reports are now posted to the sustainability section of our website.
The industry reports use a common format for reporting of supply chain sustainability. First we rate each company’s Labor and Human Rights policies, using the following criteria on a 1-5 scale.
1. Does the company have an appropriate code of conduct?
2. Is it specifically written in their contracts?
3. Do they have training programs to help suppliers understand it?
4. Does the company have internal reporting of results? Do they use an independent and unbiased third party for reporting of results of compliance?
5. Does the company have any major lawsuits or grievances outstanding?
6. Does the company have regular internal audits? Do they use independent third party audits?
7. Finally, does the company have tracking mechanisms to measure and update performance metrics on a company-wide and end to end supply chain basis?
Next, we evaluate each company’s policies towards suppliers using the same general framework on a 1-5 scale, but looking specifically at performance relative to its environmental code of conduct and compliance to this code. The important thing to remember here is that every industry must apply the code in a uniform manner, but make it generalizable enough that it can apply to the unique elements of the industry. The specific reports can be found here:
Thanks to all the students for their hard work and diligence in putting together this research. They are all acknowledged on the reports. Whilst this system of rating may not be the perfect method for assessing supply chain sustainability, it is certainly a line in the sand that serves as the basis for beginning the conversation of how to improve it!