GSK partners with Schneider Electric to manage online supplier forum

Global chemicals giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has confirmed that energy management specialist Schnieder Electric will lead its online community that enables suppliers to share best practice on energy efficiency and environmental performance.

GSK, which sells healthcare products like Nicorette, Sensodyne and Panadol, established the information-sharing platform in 2014 in a bid to slash emissions by 25% by the end of the decade.

The new partnership will see Schneider Electric serve as the community manager for the GSK Supplier Exchange, which has more than 700 members representing 360 of GSK’s biggest suppliers.

“GSK recognises that reducing our carbon footprint requires action across our entire value chain,”
said GSK environmental sustainability centre of excellence head Matt Wilson.

“We found that many of our suppliers may not be entirely sure where to start when it comes to identifying resource conservation opportunities. We have partnered with Schneider Electric to develop sustainability expertise that will help our suppliers expand their knowledge on sustainability topics and practical solutions.”

The Exchange delivers informative content and provides a forum for collaboration and networking, helping accelerate sustainability and efficiency projects. Schneider Electric will create and curate content including webinars, case studies, newsletters and Q&As — covering topics from sustainability reporting to renewable energy opportunities.

Removing the headache

GSK works across 190 countries with 100,000 suppliers to research, develop, manufacture and distribute the medicines, vaccines and other products needed by the company’s patients and consumers.

Speaking at the edie responsible procurement and supplier engagement event in London earlier this week, Wilson admitted that the pharmaceutical sector is generally behind more consumer-facing brands in the management of risk within supply chain practices.

In a bid to catch up, GSK has launched a third-party oversight programme which aims ensure that all third parties are risk assessed against corporate risks, such as anti-bribery, labour rights and pollution, by the end of 2017. Wilson explained that by building knowledge, understanding and accountability, the programme has empowered procurement teams to integrate sustainability into buying decisions.

He said: “How as a procurement person are you supposed to find the supplier, work with the supplier, get a good price and be an expert on all of these things? It’s almost impossible, so we set up this system to try to remove that headache for procurement. We’ve raised the profile of all the risks, we’ve made them visible and we’ve helped support the procurement organisation uncover all of this and engage in dialogue with these risks.

“This is a really interesting tool for us. It’s changed the conversations we’ve had with procurement. Procurement is still managed on costs, but they are also supportive of the minimum standards and the process, to the point where they can now say ‘we can’t use this supplier… You can beat me up as much as you want on price but we can’t use this supplier because it doesn’t meet our expectations’.”

George Ogleby

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie