Apple and Dell top green supply chain rankings

Companies including Apple, Dell and Levi's have been named as the corporates leading the drive for sustainable and transparent supply chains in the 2018 Green Supply Chain Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI), which has added Whirlpool and Bosch to its rankings.

Released at a summit in Beijing on Thursday (25 October), the CITI index names the companies which China’s  Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) and Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) have deemed to have undertaken the best supply chain practices during the past 12 months.

The 2018 iteration of the index ranks brands from across 15 industries on their supply chain transparency, disclosure, compliance, energy efficiency and environmental protection practices. This analysis is carried out using government-issued and public data on suppliers contracted by evaluated brands over the past year.

Tracking progress across industries such as textiles, chemicals, healthcare and IT, the index also includes companies from the waste management and retail sectors for the first time, including Mothercare, Burberry, Ikea and Everbright.

The top three spots went to AppleDell and Levi’s respectively, with each of the companies retaining their 2017 rankings. Fashion retailer C&A, meanwhile, climbed 30 places to be ranked fourth, while the top ten was rounded out by Nike, Primark, H&M, Samsung, Inditex and Target.

The index notably reveals that the number of global suppliers to disclose the environmental impact of their operations to the brands they worked with had almost doubled year-on-year, from 1,444 in 2017 to 2,130 in 2018. Of these suppliers, 1,508 additionally offered a public explanation for their past environmental violation records.

Back to (virtual) reality

In related news, Google this week unveiled a new virtual reality (VR) experience in a bid to bolster its transparency efforts by showing customers the typical conditions that its supply chain staff are working in.

Using a smartphone and a VR headset, customers can download the free “Made By Me” file, which offers users an audio-visual 360-degree tour of its Flex supplier factory in Zhuhai, China.

The software also includes a virtual walk-through of the Nyamurhale gold mine in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which once sold illegally mined, taxed and smuggled gold, but has now implemented systems to aid conflict-free gold sourcing.

The VR file was launched to raise awareness of Google’s Responsible Supply Chain Strategy, which seeks to minimise the environmental impacts of the company’s 500 suppliers and eliminate human rights abuses from its value chain.

Posting an update to its progress on the strategy on Thursday (25 October), Google revealed that the proportion of its suppliers to record an instance of environmental non-compliance was down from 13% in 2016 to 10% in 2017. Ethical breaches, meanwhile, were down 5% year-on-year.

As for human rights, Google’s supply chain worker audit found that 79% of workers understood how their wages were calculated and therefore felt “fairly compensated”.

However, the proportion of Google suppliers recording labour-related non-compliance was found to have increased from 33% in 2016 to 38% in 2017. The most common breach was failing to eliminate “excessive” working hours, which was recorded by almost one-fifth of suppliers.

Sarah George

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