5TH ANNIVERSARY OF THE SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS HOW COMPANIES MEASURABLY INCREASE THEIR SUSTAINABILITY
“The Sustainable Development Goals are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all” – that is how the United Nations describe the SDGs on their homepage. Five years ago today, the UN set the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with a total of 17 goals, which was accepted by all member states. The past five years have shown that politics and business have an even greater role to play in working towards a sustainable world, but companies in particular often lack a link to daily business. Tools like TRUST&TRACE can help to establish a concrete relationship between companies, their products and the SDGs – and ultimately make sustainability efforts measurable.
The SDGs are intended to cover as wide a spectrum as possible by offering the world’s population various aspects to work on: First and foremost, the fight against hunger, poverty, educational restrictions, gender inequalities and climate change. But economic growth and the innovation promotion are defined as goals as well, so many companies inevitably ask themselves: At which point can I take action with my business? And how can I make a provable contribution to achieving these goals?
GETTING STARTED: OPTIMIZE YOUR OWN SUPPLY CHAIN
To answer this question, it is worth reading the 17 SDGs including the 169 targets in detail reviewing them side by side with your own business model: In which fields do they overlap? How can relevant SDGs for the company be addressed? And how can different implementations be prioritized? The ninth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals, for example, deals with the promotion of inclusive and sustainable industrialization. Goal 12 demands the guarantee of sustainable consumption and production patterns – a starting point for many manufacturing companies. The next step is to go into more detail, where it is worth taking a critical look at the company’s own supply chain including possible questions like:
- Are raw materials sourced from the most sustainable providers possible? Or can materials be used that are even more energy efficient in production?
- Can the amount of energy used for production be optimized?
- Is it possible to apply a circular economy strategy (Cradle to Cradle) to the production process in order to better recycle materials at the end of the product life cycle?
- Can small enterprises or enterprises from developing countries be supported by integrating them into value chains?
Based on these questions, companies can systematically review and optimize their own supply chain with regard to sustainability criteria, also known as ESG criteria. ESG stands for “Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance” and explicitly expands the concept of sustainability to include social commitment and a legal regulatory framework – a topic that is likely to become even more relevant for the supply chain in the future.
But even if the will to change is given: many companies fail to achieve sustainable process optimization along the supply chain. The reason for that is simple: the lack of transparency beyond Tier 1, maximum Tier 2 suppliers makes it difficult for companies to gather reliable data and assert their influence on the respective level of the supply chain. A targeted and substantial change in value added is thus not possible. In order to drive these changes, companies need to establish efficient mechanisms for collecting actual data (so-called primary data) across as many levels of the supply chain as possible.
PRIMARY DATA COLLECTION WITH TRUST&TRACE: MEASURABLY SUSTAINABLE CHANGES IN YOUR BUSINESS
With TRUST&TRACE, your company can track, trace and measure the progress made in working on SDGs. The software solution provides greater transparency along the entire supply chain through trusted information exchange with suppliers and partners. The Compliance Management Module is particularly helpful in this respect, as it enables ESG proof of business partners in two steps: In the first step, you request a proof from your business partner, agree on a form in which this proof must be provided (for example, by a specific certificate) and by when your business partner must have sent you the proof. In the second step, your partner will provide you with the requested proof. You now verify whether the proof is complete and has been provided as discussed. If this is not the case, you can request further proof from your partner. In turn, your partners can also use TRUST&TRACE to request ESG certificates from their suppliers, thus making the entire production process transparent and traceable step by step across all levels of the supply chain. Ultimately, you can use this primary data not only to provide meaningful compliance evidence, but also to ensure that your products meet specific quality standards.
For more information about TRUST&TRACE and the Compliance Management Module, please contact our experts about how TRUST&TRACE can benefit your business.
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