The expectations of consumers in the areas of CSR, Sustainability and Environmental performance are nudging higher. Businesses have responded accordingly to act in terms of adopting guidelines and reporting the same to retain consumer confidence in their supply chains. Whilst there is growth in reporting there is also a lack of standardization of information that is presented. These variations can be due to the existing IT systems that were designed for processes where the required information was not collected or that all partners in the supply chain do not have similar information.
The issue of returns on such investment in developing or improving systems also can prove to be a hurdle. Whilst there is some leverage that companies can obtain from showcasing enhanced performance in CSR related areas, it might sometimes be to retain existing goodwill. Supply chain non-performance especially in areas related to CSR have highlighted how the stocks of companies are vulnerable to bad performance in these areas.
The cumulative effect is that the SCM role has become more complex from sourcing, to monitoring performance and reporting. As these issues become mainstream the standards such as ISO 26000, GRI and their adoption across the world will increase. We might also see more and more governments make this a legal requirement than a voluntary one. As supply chain professionals we should be geared to take these new challenges on board and also work with our supply chains to enable better overall performance.