Technology Is the Future of Supply Chain Sustainability, says UNGC Report

Technology Is the Future of Supply Chain Sustainability, says UNGC Report

Companies are facing challenges in managing sustainability across the supply chain, according to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC)’s Decent Work in Global Supply Chains report.

The report, which was unveiled on September 24 at the UNGC Leaders Summit, outlines a six-tiered commitment from companies participating in the Action Platform — including Assent Compliance.

The report was written after interviewing Action Platform companies to produce a summary of issues and provide a baseline for supply chain sustainability. A second round of interviews will be conducted at the end of the platform’s two-year span to monitor progress.

The report identified a lack of data and the absence of automated systems capable of monitoring and transferring information between companies and suppliers as key challenges in gaining visibility into the supply chain.

The report found that companies cannot gain insight beyond the first tier of the supply chain without engaging a significant amount of internal resources — a difficult task when there are competing business priorities. One company reported that nearly 100 percent of last year’s supply chain sustainability efforts were dedicated to updating and streamlining an internal platform for data sharing.

Even within the first tier of the supply chain, various levels of traceability, based on region and commodity, have been seen. Companies reported difficulties in receiving supplier responses to the due diligence questionnaires they send.

Technology can assist with data collection and management. However, many companies managing supply chain data with financial software, which is inefficient at gaining a full view into the supply chain. Data and technology were a prominent theme throughout the report’s key findings, which included:

  • Technology enables transparency and oversight across supply chains beyond the first tier.
  • Companies experience internal challenges when managing sustainability across supply chains, including lack of resources, data, technology and buy-in.

The report cites technology as having the greatest impact on future supply chains. Supply chain technology has played a critical role in allowing companies to effectively and efficiently manage supply chain data for sustainability.

According to the report, technology enables better visibility, collaboration and communication into the supply chain, and can give executives the insight needed to make more informed risk management decisions.

Companies interviewed for the report said cloud-based data management tools which provide features such as analysis and visualization of data beyond data tracking will have “a significant impact on future supply chains.”

In addition to participating in the Action Platform, Assent’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) solution was one of the technology solutions mentioned by stakeholders interviewed for the report. The report highlights Assent’s involvement in multi-stakeholder industry initiatives to improve human rights throughout global supply chains, such as collaboration on the Social Responsibility Alliance’s Slavery & Trafficking Risk Template.

Assent’s supply chain data management solution leverages regulatory expertise to identify and mitigate third-party risks, educate stakeholders on regulatory and data program requirements, and increase transparency between businesses.

To learn more about Assent, and how we can help your company, email