Director of Standards and Assurance, Rainforest Alliance
The jury is still out on how severe and lasting the economic damage will be from COVID 19, or whether the pandemic will spur urgently needed action on climate change, rising inequality and sustainable development. But clearly ‘normal’ will look different going forward.
The pandemic has focused attention on the interdependence of all parts of the world for products we use every day. As businesses look to reinvigorate their operations after the crisis, current innovations in sustainability certification can help build more resilient supply chains through a stronger focus on continuous improvement, transparency and shared responsibility.
The clock is ticking: the time for ethical supply chains is now
In recent years, hundreds of companies have committed to cleaning up their supply chains by eliminating deforestation and human rights abuses associated with the products that we all consume.
Many companies are failing to address fundamental environmental and social issues such as climate change or child labour
But progress toward these commitments remains slow. And, as highlighted in a recent report from the Economist Intelligence Unit, many companies are failing to address fundamental environmental and social issues such as climate change or child labour, and are even reducing their investment in supply chain responsibility.
Be transparent and accountable: what you see is what you get
COVID-19-related disruptions to global supply chains have focused the attention of consumers and businesses on where their products come from. Traceability systems are being strengthened to show where products originate and how they move through the supply chain so that sustainability risks can be continuously identified and investments made to address them.
Stronger accountability systems: more resilient supply chains
The Rainforest Alliance 2020 Sustainable Agriculture Standard is raising the bar for sustainability certification, moving from a pass-fail approach to focus on continuous improvements to address changing sustainability risks, and leveraging new technologies to better monitor risks and performance.
At a broader level the Accountability Framework provides a clear roadmap to achieve ethical supply chains that protect ecosystems and respect human rights. It helps to align existing tools including certification and guide action so companies can follow a single, harmonised approach to manage and report their progress.
It’s time to act and make ethical supply
chains the new normal.