Data collection for agricultural supply chains set for streamlined upgrade

A host of big brand food producers including Mondelez, PepsiCo and Marks & Spencer will have their agricultural supply chain data collection and management streamlined through a new platform partnership between Sedex and the Sustainable Agricultural Initiative (SAI).

Supply chain NGO Sedex has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SAI Platform – considered the global food value chain initiative for sustainable agriculture – to improve the availability of supply chain data in a way that removes duplicate data collections and introduces new learning resources.

A variety of big brands are already working in partnership with the two organisations separately, but have reportedly welcomed the collaborations and the efforts to simplify the data handling process.

“Since its launch in 2002, SAI Platform’s mission has been to develop sustainable agriculture through a continuous improvement process that allows for easy and flexible use by farmers worldwide,” SAI Platform’s general manager Peter Erik Ywema said.

“Our collaboration with Sedex is the next step in this journey, leveraging the complimentary natures of our organisations to better serve our members and push the industry forward. We hope that this MoU will be the start of a long and fruitful relationship.”

The two organisations will collaborate to develop the platform and enhance the services that they can provide to members such as Danone and Mars. Questionnaires from both organisations will be combined to aid supply chain management and reduce data duplication.

Initially, a Farm Sustainability Assessment (FSA) questionnaire from SAI will sit alongside an agricultural Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) from Sedex. The two organisations will then review how the data overlaps and remove any unnecessary duplications.

The collaboration will see companies introduced to new assessment tools and reports that currently operate separately on the SAI Platform and through Sedex’s own operations. Discussions are also underway for Sedex to contribute to the development of a freely available, open-sourced online system that can collect real time data for use by the SAI Platform.

“I am delighted that Sedex and SAI Platform will be collaborating more closely in the future”, Sedex’s CEO Jonathan Ivelaw-Chapman said. “Both organisations were set up by their members in order to support collaboration, reduce duplication of supply chain data and encourage responsible business practices.”

Chained monsters

The announcement of the partnership comes off the back of last weeks ‘Future of Auditing’ debate hosted by Sedex. At the debate, Rachel Wilshaw, ethical trade manager at Oxfam warned that supply chain audits are at risk of becoming ‘Frankenstein monsters’ due to their complex agendas.

It has already been revealed that increasing supply chain traceability and integrating human rights into the adaptation and mitigation of climate change impacts, are among the most significant human rights issues effecting sustainability and CSR professionals.

In a recent exclusive interview with edie, Nestlé UK’s responsible sourcing manager Robin Sundaram explained the unrelenting efforts that are being put in place by the company to ensure that its supply chains become as sustainable as possible. Read that full feature here.

Matt Mace

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