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Ceres Launches Online Supply Chain Sustainability Tool

Ceres has released an online tool to help companies assess supply chain sustainability. The Supplier Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ): Building the Foundation for Sustainable Supply Chains was designed for the industrial goods sector, but can be useful for all companies seeking to strengthen supply chain engagement, according to Ceres. It’s intended to be the first step in developing dialogue between a company and its suppliers in identifying, assessing, managing and disclosing supply chain sustainability risks.

In developing the free self-assessment tool, Ceres says it consulted many existing sustainability initiatives including the Electronic Industry Citizen Coalition, the Global Social Compliance Program and Sedex.

The SAQ asks businesses to collect information on four topics — general company information, environment, social and governance — and then asks a series of questions. On the environmental side, these include, among many others:

  • Does the facility monitor and track energy consumption and conduct on-site energy audits?
  • What is the total annual GHG emissions in the most recent year measured?
  • Does the facility treat wastewater prior to off-site discharge?
  • Does the facility maintain records of off-site transfer, treatment and disposal of waste?
  • Does the facility incorporate packaging reduction, reuse and recycling in its purchasing practices?

Evaluating and managing ESG practices and performance can help companies save money and become more productive, Ceres says.

An August study by Verdantix found only four of the world’s largest food producers — Danone, Heinz, PepsiCo and Unilever — have invested in wide-ranging codes of conduct to guide their suppliers’ environmental performance.

In May, UL Environment, the environmental services unit of Underwriters Laboratories, launched a free web-based tool to help manufacturers assess their corporate sustainability efforts. Its self-assessment tool was developed to help companies determine whether they can meet prerequisite and core indicators within the UL 880 standard’s five assessment areas – governance, environment, customers and supply chain, workforce and community engagement, and human rights.

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