Sustainabill: The Cloud Platform Making Supply Chains More Transparent

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.

Author Ciannait Khan:

Translation Ciannait Khan, 09.13.21

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.

Tareq Salahuddin

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. 

Blockchain-Based Platform Textile Trust Aims to Make Industry Supply Chains More Transparent

Consumers are rarely given information about where their clothes come from and how they were made. In Germany, a new platform aims to bring more transparency into textile supply chains.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – Prioritising Positive Societal Impact

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a mechanism by which companies hold themselves to a set of legal, ethical, social and ecological standards. It is a form of business self-regulation that has developed alongside greater public awareness of ethical and environmental issues. But is it always a force for good?

OONI’s Free Software Detects Human Rights Violations on the Internet

Freedom of expression and access to information is a basic human right, but in some countries it's restricted, limited and sometimes blocked altogether. A free software project, OONI, is tracking down internet censorship around the world and shining a spotlight on a crucial issue.

Interview: How MineSpider is Using Blockchain to Keep Conflict Minerals Out of Our Supply Chains

MineSpider, a Berlin-based startup, is using distributed ledger technology to tackle the tricky problem of how to track where minerals come from and where they end up.

Fairify: Rating the Sustainability Winners and Losers in the Fashion Industry

Which clothing brands are really doing their bit to make the fashion industry greener and fairer? The online platform Fairify aims to offer consumers reliable and objective information on different brands - to help consumers spot the greenwashers from the real innovators.

Interview: The SustAIn Project Developing a Sustainability Index for Artificial Intelligence

Within the SustAIn project, criteria are being developed to assess the sustainability of AI-based systems. We spoke with Friederike Rohde, who coordinates the sub-project at the German Institute for Ecological Economy Research (IÖW).

Donate Phones and Save Lives: “Wir Packen’s An” Collects Old Smartphones for Refugees

Instead of lying in a drawer, your old mobile phone could help people on escape routes. The "Wir packen's an" association reveals how this works.

Torge Peters
Digitalisation Can Advance Sustainable Agriculture – Under Certain Conditions

Digitalisation has long since arrived in agriculture. But how do these developments contribute to environmental and climate protection? We present solutions.