Definition of supply chain transparency

This captures the extent to which information about the companies, suppliers and sourcing locations is readily available to end-users and other companies in the supply chain.  Transparency has become increasingly important for supply chains, as consumers want to know the origin of products and services.  Organic foods and “conflict-free” diamonds are some of the items that require all supply chain partners to ensure traceability of goods.

Non-governmental organisations are actively educating consumers on the production processes behind the goods they buy. For instance, there is much consumer interest in corporate social responsibility (CSR) and sustainability leading to a demand for responsibly sourced tea and coffee. [1]

Example

If you do not make information about your supply chain publicly available, the chances are increasing that consumers will do it for you. They are being aided by technologies such as GoodGuide, an online database of qualified information about the health, environmental and social impact of 65,000 common products.

GoodGuide was founded in 2007 by Dara O’Rourke, a professor of environmental and labour policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

It uses a team of scientists and technologists to vet products in four categories: food, toys, personal care, and household products. Each of these products is rated and ranked on numerous criteria ranging from the harmfulness of its ingredients to its manufacturer’s record on working conditions, diversity and reporting. The information is accessible via a website or an iPhone application, which can be used to scan the barcode of an item in the shop for instant feedback. [2]

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