This guide outlines practical steps to build a sustainable supply chain and provides examples that encourage action. The recommended actions summarized below are based on the Global Compact Management Model, a flexible framework for continuous improvement that helps companies to take greater account of the Global Compact in their strategies and operations.

The steps described below and in the remainder of the guide are non-linear but complement each other to help build a more sustainable supply chain. In addition, there are three principles for successful supply chain management – corporate governance, transparency, and commitment – that are necessary for each step of the model.

Businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights. The basic duty is not to violate the rights of others. In addition, companies can take action to support and promote the realization of human rights.

This can also prove useful from a business management point of view. Working conditions in offices and factories, on farms and in mines and other facilities where raw materials are mined are significantly below international standards and national legal requirements, especially in developing countries. This can lead to considerable human rights violations. Businesses should therefore ensure compliance with international labor standards within their supply chains. This applies in particular to the right to choose a job freely, the prohibition of child labor and discrimination, as well as freedom of association and bargaining.

Workers often suffer in addition from other breaches of labor standards, such as excessive working hours, degrading employer treatment and limited freedom of movement. In order not to be complicit in such infringements, undertakings should ensure that their activities do not infringe the rights of workers and other participants in the supply chain (in particular the right to freedom of movement, the prohibition of inhumane treatment, the right to equal pay for equal work as well as the right to breaks and free time).

The right of all people to work in a safe and healthy working environment is also very important. Businesses can drive the realization of human rights on their own or together with partners,
for example by promoting equality between men and women or access to education and health services.

How to use this guide

This guide describes a holistic approach to sustainability in supply chains. It shows companies the key aspects and challenges critical to a sustainable supply chain in line with the ten principles of the Global Compact.

The guideline is aimed at those responsible for corporate responsibility and purchasing. The approaches described here are suitable both for companies dealing with the topic of sustainability in the supply chain for the first time and for companies that have already gained experience in this area. Practices for advanced companies are described in highlighted boxes entitled “Outlook”.
Chapter is dedicated to the reasons and business drivers who speak for a sustainable supply chain. It also highlights the importance of understanding a company’s external environment and developing an enterprise-specific vision of sustainability in the supply chain.

This chapter contains recommendations for the design, implementation and application of a Supplier Code of Conduct based on the ten principles of the Global Compact and other recognized international standards. In addition to the factors to consider when deciding on the scope of a sustainability program, chapters also describe various tools such as supplier segmentation, risk assessment and prioritization. Chapter is devoted to the various ways in which a company, together with its suppliers, can achieve a sustainable supply chain. This involves strategies for communication with suppliers, methods for measuring performance, measures for capacity building and initiatives for establishing management systems for supplier sustainability.

Chapter provides practical guidance on internal responsibilities and performance management of sustainable supply chains. Concepts for in-house coordination are presented and recommendations for the distribution of tasks between the management and the specialist departments responsible for the
supply chain are given. The two chapters provide useful guidance on defining goals and metrics that can help determine how companies and suppliers meet their sustainability expectations. In addition, this section deals with the central theme of “public reporting”.

The chapter explains how the impact of sustainability programs in cooperation with industry and multi-stakeholder partnerships can be enhanced and what opportunities and risks are associated with them. There are still many things to learn about sustainable supply chains. That’s why we look forward to receiving your comments and comments on the content of this guide and other materials, because we want to continue to develop the tools that we provide to companies to promote sustainable corporate governance.