As international supply chains grow longer, it also becomes harder to identify human rights and environmental abuses. Now, a cloud platform is incentivising transparency by helping companies track their suppliers.
In today’s globalised world, multinational corporations have acquired state-like powers. One glaring issue with this is that private actors are not always obligated to respect human rights and the environment in the same way that governments ostensibly are: they are protected by the “corporate veil”.
Even if a company is doing its utmost to be responsible, it may face the daunting task of monitoring a convoluted supply chain. Supply chains are made up of thousands of suppliers and transcend multiple borders. Not only is this a nightmare for regulation, but companies themselves can struggle to map and keep track of their own suppliers. That’s where Sustainabill, a Germany-based cloud platform, comes in.
Sustainabill’s custom-built software helps companies conduct much-needed due diligence and provides transparency to customers and investors, meaning companies now have even less of an excuse to neglect problems in their supply chains.
The Sustainabill platform allows companies to clearly map out intricate supply chains and obtain visualisations of the labyrinthine data. The technology can handle supply chains of any size, and breaks them down into an accessible overview of tiers, facilities and ingredients.
The Shift to Responsibility
The European Commission is currently discussing legislation on mandatory sustainability due diligence for companies, marking a shift away from the “voluntarism” approach that has long hampered change. Many companies exhibit flashy corporate social responsibility (CSR) policies – “greenwashing”, for example – while ignoring grave issues in their supply chains.
While there is a dearth of legislation binding companies to carry out due diligence, the reputational risk of neglecting human rights and the environment is growing, and companies naturally want to avoid public scandals. More and more, investors are demanding sustainable production.
With Sustainabill, companies can engage more easily with their suppliers and identify sub-suppliers. Through template and custom surveys, it is possible to conveniently collect and request data from various supply chain tiers. Of course, not all suppliers want to hand over their data, which could be a red flag. Sustainabill allows companies to identify these knowledge gaps and potential problem areas.
To tackle climate-related problems, Sustainbill helps companies identify CO2 hotspots in their supply chain and adapt appropriately. The platform also allows for risk assessment via the provision of heatmaps and risk statistics.
Overall, the platform helps companies get more familiar with their supply chains – something that should be a given, but isn’t. Tracing suppliers and gathering data is a crucial first step towards transparency. Sustainabill also supports companies by hosting regular webinars on social compliance and providing fact sheets on relevant legal requirements.
The Sustainabill platform currently focuses on four key industries – automotive, chemical, food and drink, and retail – and already its customers include high-profile names such as Volkswagen and Tecnocap. Sustainabill receives investment from BrainWeb Investment and GLS Bank.