B4IG tells Supply Chain Digital Show of ESG goals & plans

Marie Basso of Business for Inclusive Growth tells the Supply Chain Digital Show of the progress it is making on promoting inclusive and fair workplaces

Marie Basso is a Project Manager with Business for Inclusive Growth (B4IG). B4IG is a coalition of multinational companies that was launched at the G7 Summit in 2019 to fight against inequality. Coalition members are committed to advancing human rights and promoting more-inclusive workplaces and strengthening supply chains. This is an edited version of an interview she gave to the latest Supply Chain Digital Show, now available to view on-demand on LinkedIn.

Tell us more of B4IG’s work

We are a partnership between the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and a CEO-led coalition of companies, who fight against inequalities of income and opportunities. Coalition members are committed to advancing human rights and promoting more inclusive workplaces. 

We have 30 members, with an annual  turnover of US$1.3tn and 14.3mn employees from sectors as diverse as finance and construction. We also include diverse partners, international organizations, academics, and non-governmental organisations.. We are co-chaired by the OECD secretary general Mathias Cormann, who is our strategic partner, and Emmanuel Faber, the former CEO of Danone, and chair of the International Sustainability Standards Board, who is our ISP chair. 

What is B4IG’s strategic vision?

“To build a more sustainable and inclusive economy through equitable work environments and strengthening practices in value chains and ecosystems.

To this end, we created a working group on inclusive sourcing in November 2020. We thought it was important to address the fact the most vulnerable members of society rarely benefit from job creation or progress towards fair wages to the same extent that others do.

It’s our goal to pave the way for more-inclusive growth by encouraging organisations to implement inclusive principles in their sourcing programs and living wages at every step of their supply chains. 

Tell us more about the B4IG Working Group 

We brought together the working group under the leadership of L'Oreal, because they had a solidarity sourcing program for at least ten years. Other companies that are involved include BNP Paribas Bank, Danone, Dr. Pepper, Keurig, Mars, Pret A Manger, Morrison and Veolia. Together we developed an inclusive sourcing methodology to equip procurement teams with practical and operational tools to embed inclusive sourcing principles in their procurement practices.

Over the course of eight months, we tested this methodology with a core group of companies to ensure it was usable, practical and useful. We build on their experiences and efforts to implement inclusive sourcing programs. 

This is online. We published it in June, so it's accessible, open-sourced knowledge.

What is B4IG’s biggest achievement to date?

Gathering 35 global corporations around a table to discuss commitments and actions and emerging topics is a huge challenge. We brought those companies together, and gathered the most interesting and transformational practices they've been piloting and implementing. 

The working group was particularly proud to develop guidance that is practical, and also adaptable across different sectors, and that really takes the user by the hand along the journey.

We're also really proud and happy to have developed several tools this year. It took time to draft them and to refine them. We’ve published various guidelines on responsible transformation, recommendations for ethnic diversity and inclusion, and of course, a methodology to build those tools.

What are the biggest barriers to ESG compliance?

We find that often companies start working on a certain topic but don't make a public commitment to it because they don't feel ready. The challenge for organisations is to make a bold commitment publicly, and to be held accountable for it, by sharing transfer deadlines and goals.

There are other barriers that are difficult for companies to overcome, such as economic and political crises. Right now inflation is a big topic, for example, and it's not always easy to convince top management that ESG is a priority. 

Marie Basso, Project Manager, B4IG

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