Cleaning up your supply chain

By Freddie Pierce
The Ceres Supply Chain Conference in Oakland wrapped up this week, with key representatives from Disney, Hewlett Packard and others taking part in offe...

The Ceres Supply Chain Conference in Oakland wrapped up this week, with key representatives from Disney, Hewlett Packard and others taking part in offerings tips to clean up the global supply chain.

According to Assheton Stewart Carter, who helped moderate the panel, “if you can tell where something is coming from, finding out whether it was obtained ethically and responsibly is extremely difficult.”

That offers another challenge for supply chains around the world, with illegal and irresponsible trading becoming an increasing problem for global companies.

“In the past five years, the risk has been shifting up and down the value chain,” Carter said. “What was once just an issue for the manufacturing company is now an issue for an OEM company or food manufacturing company.”

Adding to supply chain ethics and risk is the fact that supply chains must remain intertwined with other company supply chains.

“Acting in isolation is no longer an option,” Mark Spears of Disney said.

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So what can companies do to clean up their supply chain? Zoe McMahon of Hewlett Packard thinks the first step has to be doing your due diligence on your suppliers.

"We would like our products not to have conflict minerals and be made of conflict-free materials, and there has been significant due diligence in our supply chain," said McMahon. "Our policy on regular supply chain materials is to not walk away,” and "We have a dual role as a commercial company and as an advocate."

You can read the full report on the Ceres Conference by clicking here.

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