Ceres Software has released a Supplier Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) designed as a ‘conversation starter’ for companies to use with their suppliers as they begin to assess the sustainability risks in their supply chains.
Though the questionnaire was designed with the industrial goods sector in mind, the company says it will be useful for all companies seeking to strengthen their supply chain as well as those starting to address sustainability issues. It should help companies identify, assess, manage and disclose supply chain sustainability risks.
Ceres sees the SAQ as a means to move supply chain sustainability beyond simply requiring suppliers to meet some minimum standards.
The SAQ can be downloaded here.
Review: Implementing supply chain sustainability is a big challenge, and while some aspects of sustainability, such as reducing carbon emissions, are increasingly embedded in legislation, they generally don’t apply to a company’s supply chain. But the growth of CSR reports detailing a range of governance standards is putting pressure on companies to ensure suppliers meet standards and this questionnaire can help open discussions.
But while Ceres talks a lot about sustainability ‘risks’, as far as I can tell, the questionnaire doesn’t consider the risk of a break in the supply chain. Extended supply channels are increasingly vulnerable to disruption, particularly through extreme weather conditions, which will increase as our climate changes. A supply chain is hardly sustainable if it can’t adapt, so it would be worth asking suppliers whether they, or companies that supply them, have already suffered and how they might prevent disruption in the future.