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Supply Chain Monitoring Competitors To Collaborate

Posted on June 8, 2016 at 9:15 PM

If there is one word that business is crying out for in 2016 - apart from 'humanity' (think BHS, think Tata Steel, think Sports Direct, more on that one very soon) for me it would be 'collaboration.'

When it comes to the supply chain - a topic I have covered repeatedly on Forbes (if you Google Dina Medland Forbes, this one appears to have had the most views) in the pursuit of better answers for corporate governance, it is extremely topical.

So it is very good to note that Sedex – the non-profit organisation working with buyers, suppliers and auditors to improve global supply chains – and BSCI – the business-driven initiative supporting retailers, importers and brands to improve working conditions in supplying factories and farms worldwide – have agreed to work together.

“After months of discussion, it is with great excitement that we announce the collaboration between Sedex and BSCI”,said Jonathan Ivelaw-Chapman, Sedex CEO.

Jonathan Ivelaw-Chapman Sedex CEO

“While the two organisations have historically been competitors, both recognise that simplification and collaboration – core values of Sedex and BSCI – are absolutely crucial to the development of the responsible supply chain industry as a whole.”

The two organisations will remain separate entities with separate memberships, goals and objectives. "We are looking forward to leveraging the considerable market size of both BSCI and Sedex to effect positive change in the industry”, commented Christian Ewert, Director General of the Foreign Trade Association (FTA).

“The partnership between Sedex and the BSCI is an important step forward for our industry and for the world of social compliance in general. Two of the largest monitoring organisations working together provides opportunities for members of both organisations, as well as thousands of supplier factories, to simplify their processes and send a more uniform message about what we are trying to do" said Lary Brown, Vice President- Head of Global Social & Environmental Sustainability, Esprit (a member of BSCI).


 "The co-operation emphasises" he said, "that the multiple organisations in this field are, indeed, all working toward the same goal of seeing ILO standards implemented in workplaces around the world." 

Within the overall aims of reducing duplication of effort, driving scale and setting the grounds for an active collaboration, the two businesses will immediately focus on:


Human trafficking: BSCI and Sedex will collaborate to align global brands and retailers on best approaches to tackling the issue of human trafficking.

Shared capacity building: BSCI will explore opportunities to include Sedex members in BSCI capacity building activities.

Continuous improvement of labour relations: BSCI and Sedex will work together on a common approach to implementing a process of continuous improvement of labour relations at the workplace.

Audit quality metrics: Working in alignment with the Association for Professional Social Compliance Auditors (APSCA), BSCI and Sedex will develop and launch shared auditor metrics for the management of audit quality. This common approach will help drive a common view of audit quality for suppliers, brands and retailers across the globe.

Data collaboration: BSCI and Sedex will explore opportunities to collaborate on the outputs of data from both systems that would better support their membership organisations track, manage and predict social and environmental issues in the global supply chain.

Working group collaboration: Members of the leadership teams of BSCI and Sedex will be given a role on each other’s working groups to explore further opportunities to collaborate.


Sedex has recently launched ‘Sedex Advance’, which it says is "the world’s largest collaborative platform for sharing data on supply chains", as its membership continues to expand beyond 38,000 members in over 150 countries.

BSCI has launched its upgraded BSCI 2.0 system - a holistic model fostering responsible business practices - and the FTA Academy, a new online service providing over 1,800 companies and 28,000 producers worldwide with access to exclusive learning material and courses.


“As a founding member of Sedex, Marks & Spencer welcomes the announcement of its collaboration with BSCI. Both organisations have been instrumental in driving an improvement of standards and continue to innovate in this space. We look forward to seeing the outputs of this new cooperation and how this pooling of resources will increase impact on shared industry issues and development of supply chain improvement opportunities” said Louise Nicholls, Head of Responsible Sourcing, Packaging and Plan A, at Marks & Spencer.

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Louise Nicholls, M&S on Plan A - Responsible Sourcing


Categories: Supply Chain, Investors, Risk