ESG is a major focus for companies, especially for retailers who are increasingly conscious of their performance across its three key pillars: Environmental, Social and Governance.
Environmental, Social and Governance
A recent survey from Morningstar revealed that 90% of businesses either have or are developing a formal strategy to manage ESG and ensure that they are keeping up with competitors.
Consumers are making more conscious purchasing decisions, with growing evidence that they’re willing to pay more for sustainable, ethical products. It’s a trend perhaps best demonstrated by the growing number of retailers putting their brands through the rigorous B-Corp accreditation process. We have seen a mix of different retailers and consumer brands proudly announcing their B-Corp status, including the likes of The Body Shop, Wolf & Badger, World of Books, Finisterre, and Patagonia. In October 2022, direct-to-consumer kitchenware brand ProCook became the first London Stock Exchange listed retail brand to attain the coveted accreditation.
Administered by B Lab, a non-profit organisation, B-Corp says it is committed to seeing business used for environmental and social good. Since launching in 2006, it has built a network of over 4,000 B-Corp brands in 70 countries and 150 industries. Its rapid growth demonstrates the increasing importance of reassuring consumers about a brands’ ethical and sustainable credentials – a trend that certainly shows no sign of slowing.
For any retailer, given the size and complexity of the supply chain and operational systems that often stretch around the globe, monitoring and measuring ESG can be complex. As an international supply chain provider, we help retailers address this challenge through enhanced supply chain transparency.
Retailers measuring their ESG performance must be able to ‘see’ a product’s entire journey. Any business that doesn’t have this level of visibility will not only find it very difficult to produce the metrics required to substantiate ESG objectives, but it can also leave organisations open to significant reputational risk in the event of, for example, an ethical issue somewhere within the supply chain.
At ASCG, we take a tech-led approach, underpinned by modern software and smart data, to ensure that supply chains are completely transparent. Software and solutions are developed bespoke to each retailer’s set-up, ensuring we can help them easily access accurate data about what is happening throughout their supply chain. It provides the ability to track and trace stock inventory and build records that support auditing and reporting. However, there’s much more to this than simply providing retailers with valuable visibility. A clear and informed view of supply chain management also plays an important role in helping to boost efficiencies – a foundation for improving sustainability.
Vector, our specialist supply chain software, combines information from each of a retailer’s sales channels, warehouses, and order fulfilment sites, as well as tracking freight status. This creates a ‘control tower view’ of the supply chain to enable fast, informed, and effective decision making. Errors and wastage can be quickly reduced, and salvage rates of consumer returns optimised. This can mean less products going to landfill.
It also plays a major role in supporting retailers to limit their carbon emissions and meet increasingly robust sustainability goals. Route planning for transportation is much more efficient, cutting mileage and helping to better manage vehicle capacity to limit emissions and improve customer experience.
ESG will continue to be a priority for retailers throughout 2023 and beyond. And for those businesses striving for best practice, an agile, transparent supply chain underpinned by rich data and real-time insights is essential.
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Published in, Internet Retailing An agile, data-rich supply chain is an essential part of any ESG strategy – Internet Retailing