I’m starting to think that it is detrimental to hold these companies up in the way that we do. I can’t think of one of those ‘leaders’ who couldn't be doing more, especially at pace and scale. Sure, they will do more in the future as responsible sourcing is not dropping off their agenda any time soon, but by referring to them as ‘leaders’ is it slowing them down and then in turn slowing the responsible sourcing industry down as well?
The reality in supply chains - actual job quality for example - often seems very different to the glossy reports and magazines published on company performance (even if it is verified externally). It leads me to wonder have brands and retailers developed more of an interest in self-promotion and marketing (sophisticated 'greenwash') than actually creating good jobs and stronger, more resilient supply chains? – or at least they are at risk of this.
As a passionate consultant who wants to drive change I am genuinely not saying that these companies are ‘bad’, but I would like to have a sense check on this ‘Journey’ we talk about so that we can highlight to leaders that there could be quite some way to go and not to ‘rest on their laurels’ just yet!
3shifts has recently done some thinking around the responsible sourcing journey for AIM Progress members and created a journey that is realistic and clear, and at the same time, stretching the boundaries, but not too progressive that it becomes scary.
The journey as we see it is split into two different ways of thinking:
Mind-set 1 - most beginners start here and it is all about Risk, Remediation and Assessment. As companies travel through 3 different phases of sophistication they start to see that there is another way of thinking….
Mind-set 2 which focuses on Opportunity, Prevention and Impact. We have currently laid out two Phases in mind-set 2 and as it stands to date there isn’t one company we believe that could show they have truly mastered this top level. The journey is left open (for future development) so that more levels and phases can be added
Why is this new journey important for you?
1. Knowing where you are on this journey helps you to see the bigger picture, even if you are a beginner, could you skip through mind-set 1 and even possibly start mind-set 2 first?
2. The Journey enables you to check in with your own strategy, and think about your next steps - helps you to see what your peers are doing. It is currently written in a ‘one size fits all’ way which enables you to see what corporates are doing in a general way.
3. We set out to create this journey and map all the available learning materials against it, to make it easy for AIM Progress members (and their suppliers) to see what learning they need to progress, for example what paper they need to read, what training they need to go on etc, and this will become a key advantage of having the journey in place for them.
4. One key aim of this journey is to foster collaboration. Knowing who is in your peer group (or in the one above) will enable much better peer to peer learning
5. Communicating to your suppliers – you can benchmark where you are and where your suppliers are. This could help you to identify the difference in your journey to theirs and support them to see things the way you do.
How can 3shifts help?
3shifts is uniquely placed to help you adopt this journey, it is ‘one size fits all’ at the moment but potentially this could be adapted to your own personal journey. We can work with you to identify how this can be useful for your strategy and help you fill in any of the gaps that might be missing from your programme, you might need help to locate where you are on the journey and what you need to do to move forward? We can mentor your personnel/suppliers through the journey signposting them to other service providers for upskilling – we can also connect you and start collaborations with your industry peers or connect you to other industries. However you think the journey could be useful, please do get in touch….
Say hello at firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Dr Anna Harvey