Beautycounter Partners with Sourcemap for Mica Traceability

Mica is a little-known mined material that adds shimmer to everything from eyeshadow to car paint. Opaque and overlooked, the mica supply chain is thought to harbor serious issues including child labor and dangerous working conditions. That's why we're thrilled to help Beautycounter in its effort to trace mica and verify that's it's produced in ethical conditions. From their responsible sourcing page:

The level of transparency we’re seeking in this industry is unprecedented, and in a super-secretive industry, this information isn’t easy to come by. With the help of Sourcemap and participation from our suppliers, we hope to share a traceable mica supply chain with you in the future. Eventually, we’ll be able to tell you exactly where the mica in your favorite eye shadow comes from.

Stay tuned as we update you on our journey to make the mica supply chain traceable and transparent with Beautycounter.

Managing Deforestation Risk Across the End-To-End Supply Chain

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Deforestation is at the forefront of supply chain issues: forest fires are raging in the Amazon, there is public outcry on social media, and brands are committing to stop sourcing from Brazil in response. Consumers, businesses, governments, and investors are all looking to find out who's to blame. The conversation has put a massive spotlight on the role the private sector can play in environmental responsibility and halting the deforestation of the world’s largest rainforest. The first question every company has to ask is “Do we source from the Amazon?” It’s a simple question, but not one to which everyone has a clear answer. That's because agricultural supply chains are fragmented, with multiple tiers separating brands from the soy farms and cattle ranches that contribute directly to deforestation in the Amazon. The good news is that there is an established process for ensuring that deforestation isn't a problem in your supply chain. There are three steps every responsible brand, manufacturer, and investor should take to make sure we're not contributing to global deforestation: discovery, benchmarking, and verification.

Discovery
Who supplies your raw materials? Where do they source them? There are the necessary first questions to assess your exposure to deforestation, and the only way to open the door to a productive collaboration with suppliers to tackle any issues as they come up. With Sourcemap, the process is as simple as inviting colleagues to Linkedin.

Benchmarking
Now that you’ve identified who is in your supply chain you can begin asking them questions about how they operate, their environmental policies, and the commitments they have made to mitigate the risk of deforestation. Engage and benchmark these suppliers against each other and work directly with those underperforming or those that don’t provide enough information to satisfy your supplier code of conduct. Our supplier benchmarks automatically calculate scores to provide useful feedback for buyers and suppliers alike. 

Verification
It's not enough to get supplier self-reported data: ensuring a deforestation-free supply chain means verifying that the data you collected from around the world is authentic. Sourcemap verifies transactions down to the farm using built-in algorithms that ensure complete and accurate reporting. Geo-data is compared against the latest satellite imagery and known biodiversity hotspots. The outcome is a risk scorecard for each supplier that drives more efficient and effective audits.

Maintaining an ongoing supply chain discovery, benchmarking and verification process is the only way to manage the risk of deforestation. The good news is that you can manage the entire process in software with Sourcemap. Now is the time to ensure your supply chain does not contribute to deforestation, and build a supply chain you can be proud of. Contact us for a demo.

Interview with Rebecca van Bergen, Founder & Executive Director of Nest

Source: Nest

Source: Nest

Apparel and textile products pass through the hands of many workers throughout the world: harvesting, extracting, processing, and transforming materials into the goods we buy. Products that require a certain skill set can have work subcontracted out to additional factories and even to homeworkers. It is in this informal sector that issues regarding wages, labor practices, and environmental sustainability become harder to identify and fix. Nest is working to change that by building a network of artisans and craftspeople that work directly with brands and retailers to stabilize incomes, promote crafts, and grow sustainable livelihoods in remote communities. We had the chance to discuss the work Nest does throughout the world with Rebecca van Bergen, Founder & Executive Director of Nest.

What is Nest and how did it begin?

Nest is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) building a new handworker economy to increase global workforce inclusivity, improve gender equity, and help preserve endangered cultural traditions around the world. I founded Nest in 2006 right after graduating with my Master’s Degree in Social Work from Washington University - I was 24 years old at the time. Muhammad Yunus had recently won the Nobel Prize for his work in microfinance, fueling my interest in economic development as a tool for social change. Having encountered craft in my personal life and through my travels as a means of both employment and personal empowerment, I was motivated to help make this global sector more economically viable in a way that would not create debt for women and families.

What type of brands are working with artisans and why?

Nest works most closely with brands in the fashion, apparel, accessories, and home decor industries. While many artisans fill these supply chains, handworkers can be found in other industries, as well. In fact, we’ve recently uncovered interesting applications for our work in tech industries that are exploring circularity and upcycling. Motivations for working with artisans are both social impact driven as well as product driven. There is an increasing body of data letting retailers know that consumers are interested in transparency, authenticity, and handcraft, more specifically. A 2018 American Marketing Association study found that consumers will pay up to 17% more for a handmade item. Craft is [also] a huge employer of women in developing economies. When these women work, they are better able to provide for their families, and entire communities stand to benefit. Brands are increasingly interested in connecting their consumers to the opportunity to do good by purchasing ethical handcraft.

Can you tell us about the artisans and homeworkers you are working with, how many there are and what they are working on?

We currently support our Nest Guild, a network of more than 650 artisan businesses across over 100 countries, with core programs that focus on both business development and business ethics. These businesses are eager to scale and find new points of entry to the global marketplace, but they are equally focused on improving their communities. All Guild members have a social mission embedded in their work, whether it be women’s employment, cultural preservation, or poverty alleviation.

How do you identify and/or select an artisan to be part of your guild?

What’s great about the Nest Guild is that there is absolutely no fee associated with it, and the application process is very simple. Our goal is to make the community as accessible to as many artisan businesses as possible.

How do you ensure an artisan or homeworker is following your standard?

Nest’s Ethical Handcraft Program is designed to help artisan businesses adopt the Nest Standards across their business operations. In many cases, artisan businesses are set up to operate ethically, but they lack a standardization and documentation of procedures that will allow for external validation to a prospective sourcing partner. Nest’s program begins with training - meeting with artisan business leaders in person to walk them through the Standards and making recommendations for how they can standardize processes to better meet them. Assessments are conducted with 1-2 Nest team members, the artisan business leadership, possible subcontractors, and artisan workers themselves. Most artisans work out of homes or small workshops, so our program is unique in that it is tailored to this type of work environment. Through interviews, observation, and document review, we assess how the businesses’ practices match up against the Nest Standards. Those businesses who show a high level of compliance with the Nest Standards become Nest certified, giving the artisan business, and brand partners who may source from the business, access to the Nest Seal of Ethical Handcraft.

Nest is growing (Congratulations!) How do you approach scaling your network?

Thank you! We have scaled our operations rather significantly over the past 4 years or so and have seen our reach to artisans triple as a result. Our team itself has more than doubled to support this growth. Scale is important in our line of work, because there are so many handworkers in the world who are unaccounted for, unprotected, and without access to tools for economic empowerment. The International Labor Organization estimates more than 300 million homeworkers, many who are artisans. Nest has pursued a couple of concerted strategies that have allowed us to dramatically scale our reach and impact. One is our use of technology. Our Guild engages over 650 artisan businesses because we deliver so much of our programming remotely with the assistance of webinars, WhatsApp, and email. A second road to scale has been created through our Ethical Handcraft Program with which we are partnering with brands to access artisan producers within expansive existing supply chains.

How do you go about retaining your relationships and managing data from artisans and homeworkers?

Artisan production mostly takes place in the informal economy - it’s called “informal” for many reasons, but the name is apt in the sense that that this type of work is often very relational. Craft is tied to family and culture, so these relationships need to be respected when you enter an artisan community. We conduct our data collection with sensitivity and transparency, and this makes all of the difference. Our artisan partners also understand that poor data on the handworker economy is inhibiting investment and innovation that is desperately needed to push this sector forward. There are also ways that technology can aid data collection to make it more efficient and less intrusive. We recently signed on tech company, Ulula, to help us streamline our supply chain monitoring process, utilizing new innovations in mobile surveys and data aggregation and visualization, to make these enhancements.

What are the notable changes you noticed on how brands approach artisans since you started Nest?

There is undoubtedly a greater interest in global handcraft and gaining access to rare techniques with stories behind them. There is also a deeper awareness of the fact that artisan craftsmanship and home-based work are inextricably linked. So if brands want to increase their sourcing from artisans and to do it in an ethical way, they need to make sure they have a program in place to assess this. Unfortunately, some brands just aren’t there yet. They will tell you it’s not possible to assess homework, or they will tell you that they have no homeworkers in their supply chains. One thing we have learned, is that many (if not most) large fashion, apparel, and home supply chains do have homeworkers. While “no homeworker” policies can be created with the best of intentions, they tend to increase artisan invisibility and vulnerability by pushing this work further underground, where it’s more likely to continue illicitly. Nest and our brand partners feel it’s more important to acknowledge homework’s important role in our supply chains, and in the lives of women limited in their ability to work outside the home, and to put standards in place that will ensure it’s happening ethically.

What kind of changes have artisans experienced since partnering with some of the brands Nest works with?

A big order from a major brand or retailer can have a transformative impact on an artisan business and the individual lives of the artisans it employs. We’ve seen this happen many times (it happened recently for a group we work with in Rwanda) and the level of human transformation is rewarding for everyone - for brands and artisans alike. This is the meeting of social good and economic viability that we are striving for - and more and more successful partnerships between brands and artisans are proving that the combination is possible.

What's next for Nest?

Nest has hit our stride. What’s next is continuing to do what we do, but better. I’m excited to see how technology can play a role in this - in fact the intersection of craft and technology will be the subject of Nest’s 2019 New Handworker Economy Convening.

We are particularly excited to reach consumers more directly with the Nest Seal of Ethical Handcraft, which is continuing to grow its reach in market in places like West Elm, Pottery Barn and Target.

For more information about Nest: https://www.buildanest.org/

Texworld USA Transparency and Traceability Panel - What we learned.

Panelists from left to right: Maggie Kervick (GCNYC Director of Strategy & Integrated Partnerships), Juliette Barre (Director of Business Development and Marketing, Sourcemap), Leslie Ferrick (Senior Manager of Fabric R&D/Sourcing Dept., Athleta), Karen Newman (United Nations Consultant), and Louise Claughton (Senior Director, PVH Corp.)

Panelists from left to right: Maggie Kervick (GCNYC Director of Strategy & Integrated Partnerships), Juliette Barre (Director of Business Development and Marketing, Sourcemap), Leslie Ferrick (Senior Manager of Fabric R&D/Sourcing Dept., Athleta), Karen Newman (United Nations Consultant), and Louise Claughton (Senior Director, PVH Corp.)

Customers and investors are looking for answers: they want brands to provide data about where products come from, how they are made, and other key sustainability facts. It sounds simple, but supply chains can be complex in the age of international trade and a single item can be made of materials from hundreds of suppliers. 

This week Sourcemap was at Texworld USA to meet and discuss with textile brands and manufacturers. Our Director of Business Development and Marketing, Juliette Barre participated in the panel: Transparency and Traceability, Challenges Facing Major Brands. Juliette joined moderator Maggie Kervick (GCNYC Director of Strategy & Integrated Partnerships) with panelists Karen Newman (United Nations Consultant), Leslie Ferrick (Senior Manager of Fabric R&D/Sourcing Dept., Athleta), and Louise Claughton (Senior Director, PVH Corp.).

Some key takeaways from the panel: 

  • Understanding your supply chain from end-to-end benefits a brand’s bottom line:

    • Companies can better anticipate and adapt to disruptions when they know who is in their supply chain

    • Marketing departments can use transparency to back up commitments and avoid greenwashing

    • Suppliers are partners; understanding where they are and opening dialogue around transparency strengthens business relationships

    • Investor increasingly care about the supply chains of their portfolio companies - after all, it’s their supply chain too

  • There’s no need to reinvent the wheel: use open-source resources to gather information on what other industry peers or goal-oriented groups are doing to tackle a specific objective. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals act as a framework, detailing what issues and targets can be achieved in specific areas.

  • If your brand isn’t doing anything about transparency, get started:

    • Don’t be afraid to communicate the good things your company is doing - if you don’t share, you won’t get the credit

    • Be transparent about where you need to improve. No one expects companies to be perfect. Acknowledging gaps and communicating on your action plan will help avoid backlash from third-party organizations. 

The discussion highlighted many ways in which sustainability and traceability can drive operating efficiency. By exploring the supply chain and problems/opportunities within, business functions can be more efficiently used to tackle important issues. But all of the panelists agreed that the journey to sustainability is not linear or clear-cut, it is full of trial, error, reflection, and action. 

The Responsible Mica Initiative Gets Serious About Supply Chain Mapping [Interview]

Source: Reuters 2016

Source: Reuters 2016

Sourcemap’s mission is to map the world’s supply chains, and as part of that mission, we engage with leading practitioners of supply chain transparency to bring attention to their issues and approaches. We start this series with Fanny Fremont, Executive Director of the Responsible Mica Initiative (RMI). RMI is a non-profit organization committed to establishing a fair, responsible and sustainable mica supply chain in the states of Jharkhand and Bihar in India that will eliminate unacceptable working conditions and eradicate child labour by 2022. RMI currently has 55 members including companies like L’Oreal, Merck, Shiseido, Coty, BASF, LVMH, PPG and many more.

Mica has rightfully earned the nickname ‘nature’s glitter’ because it’s a natural mineral used to add sparkle to everything including paints, furniture, automobiles, plastic, electronics, and cosmetics, among others. Despite the mineral’s gleaming properties, the dark side of Mica begins at the source. As much as 25%(*) of the world’s mica is extracted from informal mines in India where working conditions are harsh and systemic problems endure, including child labor. Sourcemap’s Director of Business Development Juliette Barre sat down with Fanny to shine some light on the issues facing the mica supply chain.
 

JB: Can you tell me how the Responsible Mica Initiative came about?

FF: The RMI was officially created in January 2017, building on several existing individual initiatives regarding mica mining in India, with the ambition of aligning the efforts of all the stakeholders, building common standards and programs and scaling up impact from the mines to the end-users. The RMI uses a multi-stakeholder and holistic approach that engages companies, civil society organizations, industry associations, and governments to develop and implement three integrated program pillars that will establish responsible workplace standards, empower local communities and establish a legal framework for the mica sector. That’s to us the only way to leverage a positive impact on local communities, children and their environment, and to drive a long-lasting change.

JB: Issues around Mica aren't new, but lately we’ve been hearing more about them in the news. Why do you think that is?

FF: I guess it’s a combination of growing public awareness versus issues linked to mica sourcing and request for increased transparency; of development of hard and soft regulations focusing on respect of human rights within supply chains - including of minerals supply chains; and - I hope - of our efforts as Responsible Mica Initiative to raise awareness and federate different stakeholders around our mission and activities.

JB: Based on your experience and work with your members, what do you think are the three biggest challenges regarding Mica traceability at the moment?

FF: The 3 main challenges we are facing are (i) the mapping as a pre-requisite, (ii) the lack of clear legal framework regarding mica collection in India, and (iii) the cost. For mica-using industries like automotive or electronics, components using mica can be numerous and supply chains complex. Finding out who are the exact tiers 1, 2, 3… suppliers till the mica mines is already a challenge. Then, to date, feedback from the field indicated that no single mine in Jharkhand and in Bihar (India) can be considered legal, meaning with a valid government license. Based on this, our assumption is that it would be very complicated to have very upstream actors entering identification and volume information into a shared tool. And finally, mica is a low-value mineral in comparison to gold or even other minerals. Bearing the costs of new traceability technologies could represent a barrier to some actors if the ROI is unclear.

JB: What are the frameworks and/or best practices available to the private sector at the moment?

FF: Right after its creation in January 2017, the RMI started work to develop responsible workplace standards which provide a central resource for preventing child labor and improving overall working conditions at mica processors and mines in India. Workplace standards address five dimensions of operations at mines and processors: legal requirements, social obligations, Occupational Health & Safety (OHS) provisions, economic requirements, and environmental standards. To my knowledge, there is no other equivalent standard focusing on mica.

JB: What first step(s) should any company using mica start implementing?

FF: The first step would be to map their mica uses, and right after that, take action. Risks linked to mica sourcing and processing activities have already been identified and assessed, and there is an urgent need for action. We are talking about the worst forms of child labor and globally harsh working conditions. I would, of course, encourage joining forces with the Responsible Mica Initiative through active membership.

More information about RMI can be found at their website: https://www.responsible-mica-initiative.com/

For information about tracing mica in your supply chain, find out how Sourcemap can help: https://www.sourcemap.com/traceability-1

References:

(*) https://www.responsible-mica-initiative.com/the-mica-issue.html

https://www.somo.nl/beauty-and-a-beast/ 


 

Sourcemap 2019 Summer Reading List

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In a world with supply chains as complex as these, it can be hard to stay up-to-date on the latest news. We’ve got your back. Before leaving for summer vacation be sure to read up on this year's most popular articles on supply chain mapping, traceability and transparency:

Fashion Transparency How-To

Learn how cutting-edge companies are automating the process of radical transparency to answer consumer and regulators calls for increased accountability in the apparel and footwear industry. >

End-to-End Supply Chain Visualization

Most companies lack visibility into where all their materials come from, and this lack of visibility leaves rooms for a multitude of issues throughout both large and small supply chains. Here’s a classic white paper on how companies can start to manage their indirect supply chain through modern visualization. >

Smallholder Traceability

The new frontier in traceability is connecting nearly one billion smallholders with international markets through advanced accounting. Download this white paper to see how traceability is already a reality for more than 200,000 smallholders thanks to our software and design services. >

What is the difference between supply chain mapping, traceability and transparency?

Our most popular blog post so far this year - a must-read for all transparency fans. Get the facts straight on the lingo revolving around global supply chain accountability. >

If you breeze through all these, check out even more at our blog.

Sourcemap Partners with Patrick Duffy and Global Fashion Exchange to Bring Supply Chain Transparency to Brands and Consumers

Patrick Duffy, Leonardo Bonanni CEO of Sourcemap and Lan Vy Nguyen Founder & Managing Director of Fashion4Freedom discussing supply chain, sustainability and empowerment at Nasdaq

Patrick Duffy, Leonardo Bonanni CEO of Sourcemap and Lan Vy Nguyen Founder & Managing Director of Fashion4Freedom discussing supply chain, sustainability and empowerment at Nasdaq

NEW YORK, July 9, 2019 -- Sourcemap is thrilled to announce its new strategic partnership with Patrick Duffy and Global Fashion Exchange (GFX). Sourcemap is the leading developer of software for supply chain transparency and traceability. Global Fashion Exchange is a pioneering media consultancy focused on sustainability, design, and supply chains for the fashion, jewelry and cosmetics industries.

Sourcemap's groundbreaking software solutions are transforming the way that brands such as Vans, Timberland, and The North Face communicate about their global impact through radical supply chain transparency. GFX's global network and outreach will expand Sourcemap's relationships with the luxury industry's most influential brands and experts. GFX will also provide content creation services for Sourcemap’s clients to engage consumers with compelling storytelling content. By joining forces, Sourcemap and GFX will provide a true end-to-end solution for brands seeking to make their supply chains transparent and gain the trust of consumers.

Patrick Duffy: “Sourcemap is a truly remarkable way for brands and companies to make a positive impact. By making the supply chain a visual experience it allows people to connect to what’s happening on a deeper and more granular level, allowing them to really pinpoint areas for improvement and to help them make clear steps for transformation into a healthy supply chain.” 

Juliette Barre, Sourcemap Director of Business Development: “Sustainability in fashion is a huge challenge, in part because of the complexity of these supply chains and in part because the story is so hard to get right. As pioneer in branding and engagement around sustainable fashion Patrick brings an enormous competitive advantage to Sourcemap’s customers as they differentiate themselves in the space.

About Patrick Duffy: Patrick founded the Global Fashion Exchange (GFX) in 2013 with the mission to challenge the fashion industry to create a more sustainable world through inspiring forums, educational content and cultural events, including fashion swaps and consulting. As an expert in developing networks and activating ideas, Patrick guides creative teams for GFX in 30+ countries where GFX has taken place at institutions like V&A in London, Federation Square Melbourne, Madison Square Garden in NYC and more. Patrick’s experience producing events and creating marketing campaigns for some of the world’s most recognized brands across the art and fashion space include HM, Moët Hennessy, Microsoft and spans 15 years, hundreds of events in 5 continents. In addition to his work with GFX, Patrick also manages global partnerships for Common Objective (CO), an intelligent business network for the fashion industry, has launched “Mr Duffy” a 100% circular and sustainably focused clothing collection with partner Fashion 4 Freedom in Vietnam and is a partner at Design Pavilion, NYC’s Largest public interfacing event with over 7 million visitors in partnership with Times Square and NYEDC during NYCx Design week each May.

About Sourcemap: Sourcemap was launched in 2008 at MIT as a supply chain management platform rooted in transparency. Since 2011 the New York City-based startup has been developing software and services needed to take companies on the journey to radical transparency. Today Sourcemap software runs the most powerful platforms for transparency and traceability on the market, including Open Sourcemap, the world’s largest public repository of supply chains, and Sourcemap Enterprise: a suite of software for companies to manage their transparency trajectory in-house. Sourcemap Enterprise was the first platform designed to manage multi-tier supply chains, including advanced database technology that traces individual products from raw materials to end customers, and award-winning visualizations to make sense of it all.



Making Sense of the New French Vigilance Law

2019 brings the most comprehensive end-to-end supply chain accountability legislation: the Droit de Vigilance , a statute requiring large companies operating in France to monitor and remediate human rights and environmental risk across their global operations, and their suppliers'. With multinational supply chains typically counting tens of thousands of facilities it's a task that can't be achieved manually - and with new technology, it doesn't even require added internal resources. It's all part of a culture shift toward transparency across supply chain industries. We've packaged our enterprise and reporting solutions into a solution that's perfect for managing the Droit de Vigilance today and as standards evolve. To find out more download our latest brochure (available in English and French!)

Evolving Tech for Supply Chain Transparency [Sustainable Brands 2019 Panel]

Vans on Sourcemap

Last week I had the pleasure of participating in Sustainable Brands 2019 as part of the panel moderated by Mia Overall of Overall Strategies, and with Pete Girard of Toxnot, Tara O'Shea of Planet, David Potere of Indigo and Jamie Tomkins of Oritain. Altogether the panel provided cutting-edge insight into the future of supply chain transparency powered by technology. Here are some of my takewaways:

  • Supply chain transparency and traceability are different things - and they're both becoming business as usual across industries including food and agriculture, apparel, electronics, beauty, and more…

  • Satellite monitoring, especially using a new generation of micro-satellites, is enabling global coverage for issues that include deforestation - on a daily basis!

  • It's now possible to monitor every chemical in every product every day to make sure there are no prohibited substances in any consumer goods

  • Farm-level data is being collected via satellite, drone, and whatever means necessary to ensure the most efficient use of farmland - and pesticides, herbicides, and other advanced inputs - in real time

  • The ultimate assurance is possible for supply chain audits through proprietary DNA tagging of agricultural commodities including cotton

Find out more on the Sustainable Brands webpage and by staying in touch through the Sourcemap Newsletter!

How To: Validate Supply Chain Sustainability Claims … And Avoid Greenwashing

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Companies regularly make sustainability claims about their supply chains, from ethical and organic to deforestation- and child labor-free. These claims were traditionally supported by audits and certifications, which only validate a sample of suppliers, but new legislation requires accountability for the full end-to-end supply chain. With companies sourcing from thousands of suppliers and new technology that enables end-to-end traceability, audits and certification are no longer best practice: it’s time for comprehensive supply chain due diligence. That’s where supply chain transparency comes in. Here’s how it works:

  1. Know your suppliers, down to the last one. That means discovering who supplies your suppliers and their suppliers, and building up an extended database of every farm, every mine, every factory and distribution center, until you can trace each product from raw material finished good.

  2. Understand your risks: benchmark your suppliers to make sure that they live up to your codes of conduct, and incentivize them to improve performance year over year. This includes collecting data on their practices and comparing that self-reported data with trusted third-party sources.

  3. Verify the authenticity of your supply chain: make sure that your suppliers are actually who they claim to be by tracing and reconciling every transaction. Anything less than traceability means you’re exposed to smuggling or adulteration, which means your supply chains isn’t what you think it is.

  4. Validate the supply chain: this is the most important part. Make sure that there is a clear, well-documented business process in place to validate the data through buy-in from internal and external stakeholders and a secure tracking repository.

At Sourcemap we empower companies to take 100% control of their extended supply chains through software that supports best-in-class business processes, all while saving time and money. Get in touch and find out how easy it can be. Your general counsel will love you for it.

SPLC Panel: Important Trends In Disclosure, Traceability, Big Data, And New Value Creation

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Last week Sourcemap CEO Leonardo Bonanni participated in a panel at SPLC 2019 with MIT Center for Transportation and Logistics researchers Alexis Bateman and Suzanne Greene.

While everyone acknowledges the future of supply chains is transparent, few can agree on what transparency is and how it should be achieved. The three speakers presented on the journey to supply chain transparency, starting with Alexis, who introduced the journey, to Leonardo, who presented case studies from early adopters of end-to-end transparency, and concluding with Suzanne with ideas for future areas where transparency can go. Here are some of the takeaways from the conference:

  • Supply chain transparency is here to stay, and in many instances it’s already law:

    • EU and US conflict minerals due diligence acts

    • California Supply Chain Transparency act

    • French and Swiss supply chain vigilance laws

    • UK and Australian modern slavery laws

  • Supply chain transparency requires new business processes including communications and IT infrastructure, and as such it follows an innovation adoption curve:

    • The Majority of companies have implemented codes of conduct and audits over their own facilities and direct suppliers

    • An Early Majority have begun to identify and benchmark their second-tier suppliers

    • Early Adopters are implementing traceability across their end-to-end supply chains

    • Innovators have begun communicating the end-to-end supply chain transparently with customers and consumers

  • There are many industries where supply chain transparency has yet to become adopted, including the mining and metals sectors, which are becoming increasingly important to high-tech industries including semiconductors and electric cars.

For more information on the panel, Sourcemap and MIT CTL feel free to contact us: info@sourcemap.com

Responsible Jewelry = Traceable Jewelry

When the Kimberley Scheme for conflict-free diamonds was introduced in 2003, it was one of the earliest traceability programs in ethical sourcing. But bagging and tagging rough stones is no longer the best practice: today some producers laser-etch polished stones with unique serial numbers. What about rough and colored stones? Old-fashioned record-keeping is still the norm for much of the jewelry industry: paper ledgers, spreadsheets, proprietary databases. These systems are so shoddy some shipments are being turned away from US ports for missing proof of origin. Without a digital supply chain, there are few ways to verify the source of stones. Add that to the complexity in tracking precious metals from areas at risk of conflict, and it’s clear the time has come for the jewelry industry to adopt mine-to-retail traceability for every gem, every metal ingot it purchases.

Using technology that's already proven in remote supply chains, Sourcemap is able to track and trace any number of transactions across the end-to-end supply chain. A new workflow management platform allows the data to be automatically analyzed for anomalies, approved and audited. It can even provide item-level traceability to the end customer. Sourcemap is the all-in-one due diligence solution for the jewelry sector. Click below to download our free resource on implementing responsible sourcing.

What is the difference between supply chain mapping, traceability and transparency?

Ever since Patagonia published its supplier map in 2007, the terms ‘supply chain mapping’, ‘traceability’ and 'transparency’ have been used interchangeably. To a consumer, there is little difference: at the end of the day, they enable you to see where a product came from. But to a brand, it’s the difference between making a claim, verifying it, and publicizing it. They’re related, but the underlying processes and technologies are completely different.

Mapping = Discovery

Supply chain mapping is the process of engaging with direct suppliers to discover indirect suppliers, resulting in an understanding of the end-to-end supply chain for a material, a product, or a brand. It is usually the only time a company gets in touch with indirect suppliers, so it’s a good time to collect data on quality control, social and environmental performance and make sure the indirect supply chain lives up to the brand’s standards. Supply chain mapping is also the foundation for risk planning, conflict minerals reporting and modern slavery / EU vigilance due diligence.

Traceability = Assurance

Many companies are eager to publish their supply chains once they’re mapped. Your legal department will ask for more: that’s because supply chain mapping is only based on supplier disclosure. Supply chain traceability is the process of tracking every commercial transaction in the end-to-end supply chain to account for the time and place where every step occurred in the supply chain of a unit, batch or lot of finished good. Traceability offers a number of advantages, from real-time chain of custody reports to verification that products are authentic and vendors are certified. It's also becoming law, from pharmaceutical serialization to US FDA food safety.

Transparency = Disclosure

Having mapped your supply chain and made it traceable, you're ready to share the results with stakeholders. Supply chain transparency is the process of disclosing suppliers to private customers and/or public consumers. Committing to supply chain transparency is usually the most effective way to drive the new business processes needed for mapping and traceability. It's also the right thing to do.

Want to learn how to implement supply chain mapping, traceability, and transparency? Get in touch to schedule a demo:

Sourcemap at the 13th Forum on Responsible Minerals

Responsible gems and minerals are a hot topic, with over 80,000 artisanal miners being registered into responsible supply chains in the past two years alone. But some reports have claimed that shifts in regulation have had an overall negative impact on miners’ earnings and on the commercial viability of some local traders and exporters.

Eight years ago the OECD published its Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals, an international framework for companies to avoid contributing to conflict through their mineral purchasing practices. The Dodd Frank Act (US) and the new EU regulation on conflict minerals refer to the OECD's guidance as a best practice in responsible minerals sourcing.

Last week, the Sourcemap team joined more than 900 attendees at the OECD's 13th Forum on Responsible Minerals in Paris. Here is what we learned:

  • The London Metal Exchange introduced mandatory responsible sourcing requirements that will be implemented by 2022.

  • The World Bank launched the first annual report on the State of ASM: 2019 State of the Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining Sector.

  • The Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) revised its Code of Practices to include due diligence requirements based on the OECD Guidance.

  • The World Jewellery Confederation (CIBJO) announced a new Blue Book providing guidance for responsible sourcing in the jewellery sector.

  • Ulula and the International Peace Information Service (IPIS) published a report assessing the impact of due diligence programmes on mining communities in the eastern provinces of the DRC.

  • Several companies announced their transparency and traceability goals for gems and minerals.

The OECD was an important event for Sourcemap too, as we introduced our new Responsible Mineral Platform to help companies implement supply chain due diligence when it comes to responsible mineral sourcing. The platform lets companies track any mineral down to the mine through an automated online process. It works by connecting the entire supply chain down to the smelters and mines, verifying transactions, monitoring performance and managing improvement plans toward corporate and regulatory targets. The Responsible Minerals Platform even lets companies monitor worker livelihoods and the impact your responsible sourcing programs are having on local communities (access to education, miner wages, child labor etc.) To find out more, visit Sourcemap's free responsible mineral sourcing resource here.



Keep up with the new OECD guidance on Conflict Minerals with Sourcemap's Responsible Minerals Platform

Dodd-Frank conflict minerals disclosure ushered in supply chain transparency law, and now it's been superseded by the new EU requirements. What's changed? Transparency isn't enough: companies have to show that they perform due diligence on their extended conflict minerals supply chain, ensuring that risk is monitored and improvement plans are put in place. The best practice is to follow the OECD's guidance - something Sourcemap can do out-of-the-box. Download our free brochure and get in touch to implement best-in-class due diligence practices, for now and for the future. Click the link below:

Investing in a Sustainable Supply Chain Now Could Save Brands’ Future [Footwear News]

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The shopping habits of millennials and Gen Z have changed the way brands sell their products; experiences, e-commerce pop-ups and personalization are dominating retail. But these consumers also value sustainability and ethical business practices, which many brands have been slower to address at the risk of lowering margins.

Read the rest on Footwear News

Last Week, IBM Traced 28 Tons of Oranges Using Blockchain. Also Last Week, Sourcemap Traced 1,000 Tons of Cocoa - No Blockchain Required.

The First Step to Traceability: Stenciling Batch Numbers on Bags of Cocoa at a Depot in Ghana

The First Step to Traceability: Stenciling Batch Numbers on Bags of Cocoa at a Depot in Ghana

There’s a lot of hype around using blockchain to trace supply chains. How does it stand up in the real world? The most widely publicized blockchain pilots involve shippers and retailers - the ‘last leg’ of a global supply chain. What happens when you want to trace a product from the source, and that source is halfway around the world?

Global supply chains include people from every walk of life, from smallholder farmers to corporate executives. The challenge with traceability is finding a solution that can handle the complexity of global trade while being easy to adopt each step of the way. Sourcemap uses proven technology, including the graph databases that power social networks and mobile apps that work on the most common devices. And of course, spreadsheets.

You can trust the data. Everything that’s uploaded to Sourcemap is encrypted and changes are tracked, so there is no chance of someone altering a record without being detected. And the app is lightweight, so it’s used to capture lots of additional data: farm areas, workforce statistics, indicators for safety and hygiene. You can rest assured, not only that the source of products is authentic, but also that important risks such as child labor and deforestation are minimized.

Traceability isn’t about blockchain, it’s about digitizing the supply chain. Once paper- and spreadsheet-based records are uploaded to the cloud, the savings are immense: no more document handling, better quality control, fewer delays and disruptions, less risk. To learn more about the agile ways that end-to-end traceability is being implemented in supply chains around the world, get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.

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Sourcemap Included in Spend Matters’ latest SolutionMap Analysis

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Sourcemap’s technology solutions are among those ranked in the Spend Matters’ Q4 2018 SolutionMap Analysis posted this week. This quarter marks the first time Sourcemap has participated in the SolutionMap. We are proud of how Spend Matters’ analysts rated our services, and we look forward to users having an impartial view of how Sourcemap matches-up against other providers.

 Through powerful technology and intuitive software, Sourcemap brings radical transparency to industries that have long-struggled to track the origins of their ingredients, materials and parts. We follow supply chains around the world, down to the exact farm, mine, or factory where it all starts. Our customizable platform then handles the data collection and modeling for any operational, risk, compliance, or sustainability goal.

Spend Matters’ SolutionMap analysis is a comprehensive and highly detailed process. To participate, Sourcemap completed an extensive survey about our company, customer demographics, and solutions. Our customers submitted wide-reaching references to validate our performance.  The Sourcemap team also presented a 90-minute demonstration of our services and what they are able to achieve.

 “We set out to develop a more useful approach to ranking solution providers to reflect customer experiences, market developments and innovation. SolutionMap is the culmination of our efforts,” said Jason Busch, Founder of Spend Matters and Lead Solution Analyst.

 Through SolutionMap, procurement professionals are empowered with information to identify the best potential providers for their needs. Customizable “buying personas” allow users to search vendors based on criteria that match their procurement challenges.

 As a globally-recognized innovator in supply chain mapping, Sourcemap expects to stand-out among other providers. Our end-to-end supply chain traceability enables brands to manage risk and leverage opportunity, even in the sub-tiers of their supply chains. Sourcemap’s software can be quickly deployed without concerns about interoperability. And our service-oriented approach helps customers measure gains in sustainability and impact in raw materials that are impossible to manage in conventional systems.

 Our team is confident that through Spend Matters’ expert analysis, Sourcemap will find its way on many customers’ shortlists, and ultimately be selected as their provider of choice.