On October 5, RILA’s Responsible Sourcing Committee Meeting had its first in-person meeting since 2019. Held in New York City and co-located with ELEVATE’s Leadership Series the day before, over 25 RILA Responsible Sourcing Committee members participated in expert discussions and peer benchmarking. The committee meeting covered a wide range of topics, including insights from abroad, the evolving role of responsible sourcing, building the business case for responsible sourcing, women’s worker empower, and supply chain transparency.
The following are some agenda highlights:
INSIGHTS FROM ABROAD WITH ELEVATE
This session, led by Dingxiaozi Ding (DingDing) of the ELEVATE Hong Kong office and Andrew Savini, from the ELEVATE California office provided a rich discussion on key trends in Asia. DingDing and Andrew built on themes from the ELEVATE Leadership Series the day prior and dove deeper into recent traceability customs challenges in Malaysia and China.
THE EVOLVING ROLE OF RESPONSIBLE SOURCING WITH UL SOLUTIONS
Andrew VanHagen, Global Business Manager of UL Solutions, facilitated a discussion examining the role responsible sourcing plays relative to connected areas like environmental sustainability and ESG overall, spotlighting consumer and investor trends. Between COVID, forced labor concerns and legislation, supply chain disruptions, and continued momentum around all things ESG, many retailers are looking to evolve their responsible sourcing teams. RILA members shared their experiences and Andrew spotlighted other takeaways from a series of private, offline interviews conducted with several RILA members.
BUILDING THE BUSINESS CASE FOR RESPONSIBLE SOURCING USING THE RETURN ON SUSTAINABILITY INVESTMENT (ROSI™) FRAMEWORK WITH NYU STERN CENTER FOR SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS
NYU Stern Center for Sustainable Business briefly presented a session on the Return on Sustainability Investment (ROSI™) Methodology as a potential tool for quantifying the benefits of investments in responsible sourcing, including examples of its retail applications for other sustainability topics. Chisara Ehiemere, Senior Research Lead and Chana Rosenthal, Consultant to NYU, led an interactive session on challenges and opportunities for quantifying the benefits of investments in responsible sourcing for retailers, ending with some potential next steps to collaborate with companies or the industry on applying ROSI to responsible sourcing.
EMPOWER@WORK UPDATES WITH BSR
This session provided an overview of Empower@Work, a new initiative founded by BSR HERproject, CARE International, ILO Better Work, and Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E. program, bringing together the apparel industry’s leading women’s empowerment programs to create a new independent organization. In this session, Chhavi Ghuliani, Director of Partnership Development at BSR and a RILA member shared an overview of what Empower@Work is and why it was formed, as well as update on what the initiative is working on in advance of Empower@Work’s official launch in early 2023.
ENABLING SUPPLY CHAIN COLLABORATION WITH OPEN SUPPLY HUB
This session, led by Natalie Grillon, Executive Director of Open Supply Hub, walked through potential steps for retailers to lay the groundwork for and find the highest potential partners for collaborative supply chain improvements. The session highlighted that collaboration is growing to become one of the most vital elements of a successful sustainability strategy and focused on what role the Open Supply Hub, set to launch in November, can play in supporting brands and retailers’ responsible sourcing programs.
The day wrapped with a peer benchmarking discussion, touching on topics ranging from traceability/transparency approaches to ensuring safe working conditions in high climate risk manufacturing regions.
Our sincere thanks to the Walgreens Boots Alliance team for hosting us!
For more information on Responsible Sourcing-related topics and RILA’s Responsible Sourcing Committee, contact Erin Hiatt, Vice President, CSR at email@example.com or Moni Adeyi, Coordinator, CSR & ESG at firstname.lastname@example.org.