New Sustainable Supply Chain Map Targets Major Chinese Manufacturers
How can consumers determine the real sustainability successes of their favorite brands? That’s the perennial question for many Western shoppers these days, who often want to know whether the items and the brands they support are really as environmentally and socially benign as companies say.
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A variety of industry-specific scoring systems have emerged in recent years to aid in that effort. Greenpeace’s recent evaluation of electronics manufacturers, the Sustainability Consortium’s many reports on specific industries and the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index all provide a means for evaluating companies and supply chains within their respective markets.
Now in its fourth year, the Corporate Information Transparency Index (CITI) has amassed a list of 267 brands and 3,292 suppliers. Its list, developed jointly by the Institute of Public and Environmental Affairs (IPE) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC),rates brands that have manufacturing centers in China according to their sustainable practices. The group conducted more than 1,400 audits with real-time assessments of companies’ green manufacturing processes, publishing the track record of those that have worked hard to ensure their suppliers are just as environmentally conscientious as they are.
The importance of IPE’s approach of course is that it harnesses supply chain data for some of the biggest global manufacturers there are. And like other rating systems, the CITI doesn’t just look at the inner-workings and testimonies of the brand’s factories, but evaluates the corporations’ environmental impact where it really shows: in the supply chain.
This year the IPE and NRDC took another step toward improving the environmental track record of the world’s largest manufacturers. Their Green Supply Chain Map, now on IPE’s website, is a visual, real-time mapping of companies that are willing to support supply chain transparency.
The supply chain map is IPE and NRDC’s broadest effort to elicit the participation of manufacturers and suppliers to upgrade their environmental records, by keeping consumers updated as well.
The map has one other less-touted benefit: It provides a visual representation of all of the physical features that are affected by pollution in China. That includes not just rivers that have been exposed to industry discharge, but cities as well. According to these maps, China has a long way to go to improve its environmental health record. The IPE Green Supply Chain Map offers a compelling incentive for consumers and companies to actively support that goal.