GEMI Publishes Quick Guide on Buyer / Supplier Collaboration on Sustainability

GEMI Quick Guide provides a short, easy-to-read view of how companies can engage with their suppliers in more collaborative ways to create shared value.

Washington, DC – The Global Environmental Management Initiative (GEMI), a global leader in developing insights, networking and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business, today published a Quick Guide on Buyer / Suppliers Collaboration on Sustainability.

The Quick Guide builds on GEMI’s Responsible Supply Chain Guiding Principles, published in 2017, and is intended to offer a simple framework for advancing buyer/supplier engagement on sustainability.

The Quick Guide may be used to support discussion within an organization, and with its suppliers and customers, about how to achieve greater business value from deeper collaboration on sustainability issues and opportunities.

Short case examples have been included throughout the Quick Guide to highlight how thoughtful and strategic engagement can reduce the burden on suppliers and deliver improved sustainability performance for both buyers and suppliers.

“GEMI developed its Responsible Supply Chain Guiding Principles to provide a framework to help guide the process for engaging suppliers regarding sustainability, advancing strategic collaborations and, promoting increased alignment across industry-focused supply chain sustainability initiatives” said Bill Gill, AVP Environmental Affairs, Smithfield Foods and GEMI’s Chair.  “This new Quick Guide builds on that framework established through the Guiding Principles to provide additional context relating to engaging with suppliers along with real-world examples to help companies to put the Guiding Principles into action.”

“GEMI’s Supply Chain Sustainability Work Group sought input from a variety of leading companies, third party providers, and industry associations to inform development of both the Responsible Supply Chain Guiding Principles as well as this Quick Guide,” said Mark Johnson, Senior Vice President and Director of Environmental Compliance, Gannett Fleming and GEMI’s Vice-Chair. “We greatly appreciate all those organizations that have taken the time to engage with GEMI and share their perspectives to help inform our discussions on this important topic.”

GEMI would like to thank the 2017/2018 GEMI member companies and Supply Chain Sustainability Work Group participants for their leadership and engagement in GEMI’s supply chain sustainability efforts, including American Chemistry Council, American Cleaning Institute, American Forest & Paper Association, Ashland, Beverage Industry Environmental Roundtable, Carnival Corporation & PLC, Corn Refiners Association, Dell, Ecolab, ExxonMobil Chemical, FedEx Corporation, Gannett Fleming, Hexion, IPIECA, Merck, Perdue Farms, Plastics Industry Association, Procter & Gamble, Schlumberger, SealedAir, Smithfield Foods, Smith & Nephew, UL Environment, Valvoline, Waste Management.

GEMI would also like to recognize and thank those external organizations that provided input through GEMI Supply Chain Sustainability workshops in 2017 and 2018, including CDP, Ecodesk, EcoVadis, Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, Electric Utility Industry Sustainable Supply Chain Alliance, Environmental Defense Fund, ISN, Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Pharmaceutical Supply Chain Initiative, SupplyShift, Sustainable Purchasing Leadership Council, The Sustainability Consortium, The Coca-Cola Company and Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production.

Special thanks also to Mary Beth Jordan, MBJ Strategies and Kellen Mahoney, GEMI’s Program Manager for their work in supporting the creation of this Quick Guide.

The GEMI Quick Guide may be downloaded at: http://gemi.org/solutions/solutions-quick-guides/gemi-quick-guide-on-buyer-supplier-collaboration-on-sustainability/

About GEMI 
GEMI (www.gemi.org) is a global leader in developing insights, networking, and creating collaborative sustainability solutions for business. For 25 years, GEMI has captured the vision and experience of global corporate environmental, health and safety (EHS) and sustainability leaders from diverse business sectors through the development of a wide range of publicly-available, solutions-based tools designed to help companies improve the environment, their operations and add business value. 

2019 Project Invitation – External Future Forces That Will ‘Disrupt’ the Business of Sustainability

What four or five external future forces are most likely to ‘disrupt’ the business of sustainability for companies, the industry, and society at large—thinking ten years ahead? 

In 2007, Institute for the Future created a 10-year custom forecast for GEMI focused on external future forces likely to disrupt sustainability. The forecast was quite accurate and it gave GEMI project members unusual foresight that contributed to their business strategy. Now, we are looking ten years ahead again at a very different future in a very different world. In this world, it is too late to have just a sustainability strategy. Now, companies must have a strategy that melds sustainability and business.

GEMI/IFTF 2007-2017 Sustainability Map

Opportunity
GEMI is seeking a commitment from organizations wishing to participate in and contribute to a new custom forecast that will point a ten-year lens on external future forces—including both threats and opportunities—that will disrupt sustainability, with a focus on business choices and business strategy.

The goal of the project is to use foresight to awaken, engage, and drive change in the present. Urgent future disruptions are looming and this project will provide the grounding to engage with and win through the most important external future forces.

This project will focus on this research question: Over the next ten years, what four or five external future forces are most likely to disrupt the business of sustainability for companies, the industry, and society at large?

We will focus in particular on the links to digital transformation and the impacts on the business of sustainability. This new forecast will help leaders glimpse and understand the future disruptions in the environment within which they will be required to win. It will help companies heighten their game, and it will give a rigorous, provocative futures perspective to inform business strategy.

Cost
GEMI’s goal is to raise funding for this project from a range of companies / organizations, all of whom are interested in successfully navigating the major future forces that will affect the business of sustainability over the next decade. This cost-shared model allows project partners to receive the map and presentation at a much lower cost than commissioning this foresight individually. Active GEMI member companies will be invited to participate at no additional cost.

The fee per partner company is $15,000 USD and GEMI’s goal is to secure commitments from a minimum of 10 organizations.

Deliverable
IFTF will develop a new custom forecast map for project partners in pdf form to allow partners to focus strategic conversations on the four or five most important external future forces. The 2007 map was a very accurate forecast, but as the speed of business has increased, maps like this are just too busy to engage many top executives. This map will be just as content rich, but more clear and actionable.

In addition to the map, IFTF will create an annotated PowerPoint presentation that summarizes the forecast in a form that can be used easily by the sponsor companies, even when IFTF is not present.

IFTF will offer presentations of the forecast at sponsor location at a cost depending on which staff members are involved in that presentation. The new custom forecast map will be available to project partners first, but then will be public after an agreed upon period.

Timeline
The target kick off for this research project is January 15, 2019, with the final map and presentation delivered six months thereafter.

Action
Please contact Steve Hellem at GEMI to learn more about this project and commitment process for participation in 2019.

External Future Forces That Will ‘Disrupt’ the Business of Sustainability (Webinar)

In this webinar, GEMI and IFTF share a new project proposal to develop a custom forecast that will point a ten-year lens on external future forces—including both threats and opportunities—that will disrupt sustainability, with a focus on business choices and business strategy.  Learn more about this project at gemi.org/newsletter/project-invitation-external-future-forces-will-disrupt-business-sustainability/ 

Chains, levers and webs: supply chain sustainability’s strange mix

GEMI appreciated Scott Nadler sharing his insights on supply chain sustainability strategy at our supply chain sustainability workshop in June of last year, and wanted to share the following blog detailing Scott’s thoughts on this important subject. This article originally appeared on Nadler Strategy LLC.


I was drafted into the corporate environmental world.

One January morning over 25 years ago, I was called up to the executive floor at the railroad where I worked. The Chairman had realized we were 5 years behind our competitors and 10 years behind our customers and that we needed a corporate environmental program. I was it. I was pulled from my roles in marketing, development and real estate to create and run the corporate environmental program.  The Board of Directors was meeting in an hour to confirm my appointment. The only guidance I got was: “Go figure out what you do.”

Ruthlessly, I went out to track down industry leaders (especially from our big customers) and squeeze every bit of insight I could from them. At the time, those leaders were all involved with GEMI. I glommed onto them.

After their GEMI meetings, my new mentors often gathered at the bar to commiserate. They complained about regulators who told them what to do and what not to do, without understanding their business. They went off on NGOs who demanded lots of information without knowing what they would do with that information.

Once I timidly asked these wise men and women how they dealt with suppliers (especially since I was one). They all boasted of their supplier management programs: “We tell our suppliers clearly what they can and can’t do, and we demand a lot of information.”  They didn’t seem to appreciate the irony.

Fast-forward 25 years and a lot has changed – but maybe not enough. Companies like Nike, Walmart and P&G, and industries like electronics and apparel, have put in place major supplier programs that no one dreamed of back then. Emerging platforms like the US BCSD’s Materials Marketplace create innovative new customer-supplier relationships. [Disclosure: I serve as Program Director for US BCSD.] But then I participated in two meetings last year that plunged me deeply back into the world of supply chain sustainability.  Between GEMI’s Supply Chain Sustainability Workshop and US BCSD’s “Expanding the Circle” meeting with Ohio State University, I talked with dozens of companies and trade associations about this.

Concerned with what I saw, I checked in with a colleague who brings a very different perspective. His firm, Ibis Consulting, is based in Africa. [Disclosure: I am a Non-Executive Director at Ibis.]  He works with companies at the other end of the supply chain, as well as firms who have their own supply chains to worry about.

We agreed that there are three competing supply chain sustainability approaches now which can be summarized as:

  • Chains, not much different than 25 years ago, that limit action and impose a burden to be carried by suppliers;
  • Levers which are still linear but open the potential for two-way collaboration; and
  • Webs that recognize and utilize the non-linear nature of many commercial relationships.

We published our thoughts last week.  That article includes a quick test you can take to see if your program is made up of chains, levers or webs – if you’re brave enough.

[Opinions in this blog are solely those of Scott Nadler and do not necessarily represent views of Nadler Strategy’s clients or partners, or those cited in the post. To share this blog, see additional posts on Scott’s blog or subscribe please go to nadlerstrategy.com.]