United Nations guide targets traceability to advance sustainability in global supply chains
A Guide to Traceability: A Practical Approach to Advance Sustainability in Global Supply Chains provides an overview of the importance of traceability for corporate sustainability objectives, outlines the global opportunities, the challenges it represents and summarizes practical steps for implementing traceability programmes within companies.
Ursula Wynhoven, who is the UN Global Compact’s General Counsel and Chief of Governance on Social Sustainability, has outlined what companies need to bear in mind for the future.
She said: “With corporate supply chains growing in scale and complexity globally in recent decades, it is critical for companies to think beyond short-term financial considerations and build capacities to deliver long-term value along the entire supply chain,
“Traceability systems offer an unprecedented opportunity for companies to improve transparency throughout the supply chain and fulfil their wider sustainability promises.”
Supply chain traceability is the process of identifying and tracking a product or material’s path from raw material to finished good. It has become a key topic for companies around the globe in response to increasing regulatory pressure and consumer demand for responsibly-sourced and produced goods and services.
Food safety related issues, conflict minerals and deforestation have highlighted the need for traceability and increased demand for organic, fair trade and environmentally and socially-friendly products and materials.
Building on the landscape of existing traceability schemes, the Guide provides guidance about and points to areas of collaboration and alignment for 10 commodities that are widely associated with traceability for sustainability purposes – beef, biofuel, cocoa, cotton, fish, leather, minerals/diamonds, palm oil, sugar and timber – while noting that many other commodities could benefit from a traceability approach.
Tara Norton, Director of Advisory Services at BSR, said: “In writing this guide, we aim to de-mystify traceability, to show companies clearly what it is all about, who the key players are, and how they can approach it”The Guide defines traceability using the widely accepted definition of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), with the added key component of a sustainability focus:
Launched in 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. For more information, visit www.unglobalcompact.org
Elon Musk's Boring Co. planning wider tunnels for freight
Elon Musk’s drilling outfit The Boring Company could be shifting its focus towards subterranean freight and logistics solutions, according to reports.
A Boring Co. pitch deck seen and shared by Bloomberg depicts plans to construct wider tunnels designed to accommodate shipping containers.
Founded by Tesla CEO Musk in 2016, the company initially stated its mission was to offer safer, faster point-to-point transport for people, particularly in cities plagued by traffic congestion. It also planned longer tunnels to ferry passengers between popular destinations across the US.
The Boring Co. completed its first commercial project earlier this year in April. The 1.7m tunnel system is designed to move professionals between convention centres in Las Vegas using Tesla EVs. It says the Las Vegas Convention Centre Loop can cut travel time between venues from 45 minutes to just two.
Boring Co.'s new freight tunnels
The Boring Co.'s new tunnel designs would allow freight to be transported on purpose built platforms, labelled as “battery-powered freight carriers”. The document shows that, though the containers could technically fit within its current 12-foot tunnels, wider tunnels would be more efficient. Designs for a new tunnel, 21 feet in diameter, show that they can comfortably accommodate two containers side-by-side, with a one-foot gap between them.
The Boring Co.’s new drilling machine, dubbed Prufrock, can tunnel at a rate of one mile per week, which is six times faster than its previous machine, and is designed to ‘porpoise’ - mimicking the marine animal by ‘diving’ below ground and reemerging once the tunnel is complete.
Tesla’s supply chain woes
Tesla is facing its own supply chain and logistic issues. The EV manufacturer has raised the price of its vehicles, with CEO Musk confirming the incremental hike was a result of “major supply chain pressure”. Musk replied to a disgruntled Twitter user, confused as to why prices were rising while features were being removed from the cars, saying the “raw materials especially” were a big issue.
Car manufacturing continues to be one of the industries hit hardest by a global shortage in semiconductor chips. While China’s chip manufacturing levels hit an all-time high in May, and the US is proposing a 25% tax credit for chip manufacturers, demand still outstrips supply. Automakers including Volkswagen and Audi have again said they expect reduced vehicle output in the next quarter due to a lack of semiconductors, with more factory downtime likely.
Top Image credit: The Boring Company / @boringcompany