I am pleased to introduce to you Track Record Global’s (TRG) new monthly newsletter. It is through this that we will offer you industry insights and TRG’s perspective on important developments and discussions in the areas of compliance, supply chain management and sustainability. We will also periodically include updates on what is happening here at TRG.
Things are changing fast for us – we are expecting further rapid growth over the next 12-18 months, and have just opened a new marketing & sales department. We believe that commercial environments, especially international structures like supply chains, are constantly changing and evolving – and we don’t plan on sitting around while this process happens. We have a vision of the future of the management of product risk and quality, and are systematically adapting our range of services to reflect this.
The management of product quality is at the beginning of an arc of transformation that begins with the management of technical quality, and ends with the overall management of product supply chain quality – the core components of which are intangible (non-measurable but qualified by production that is legal; sustainable; socially acceptable, traceable etc.) and linked to the component raw material sources (conflict free minerals, no civil war, no child labour etc.).
All the indicators point to the fact that the demand for traceable, responsibly sourced products is becoming ever more important to global consumers as well as corporations. Apple has responded to the allegations made against its tin supply chain vociferously, declaring not only its pre-existing concern for responsible sourcing and business practices, but also its intention to do more to improve its sourcing performance, particularly in the areas of human rights and minerals. According to a 2009 Havas Media study, 48 percent of consumers surveyed across nine countries expressed a willingness to pay a 10 percent premium for goods or services produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way. Furthermore, there are indications that China, the nation with the world’s largest population, is seeing a slowly increasing level of market demand for responsibly sourced products. China consumes a huge amount of soy (consumption of the crop has doubled there in the last decade). The figure in 2009 was 55 million tons, 41 million of which was imported. In recent decades, pressure from European consumers and environmental groups has helped to check the spread of soy agriculture into some vulnerable ecosystems, but similarly motivated pressure from China has traditionally been weak or non-existent. However, according to Sibyl Anwander, Executive Director of the Pro-Terra Foundation, domestic demand for certified soy is increasing among the new urban middle classes. She told feednavigator.com that “some consumers [in China] are beginning to cast a critical eye over the way the feed ingredient is being sourced”.
TRG has a wealth of experience in responsible sourcing and traceability through our background and ongoing involvement in forestry and European Union Timber Regulation compliance. We intend to use this to enhance our current product compliance services to offer our customers a more holistic approach to supply chain compliance. Product compliance, safety and technical performance will remain important, but we believe the two approaches can be married into a more meaningful whole. Being able to demonstrate (in a transparent manner) the ethical and environmental quality of the supply chains that produced products will provide a crucial advantage in minimising reputational and regulatory risk.
There are 3 key linked themes for TRG’s future services that form the cornerstones of our future approach to the assessment of compliance through:
1. Viewing product compliance from the supply chain standpoint;
2. A high degree of transparency of supply chain information;
3. The level of inherent supply chain risk determining the level of mitigating documentary evidence required to ameliorate risk.
I am also very pleased to announce our inaugural compliance workshop on ‘the management of own brand product risk’, which will be hosted at Lady Margaret Hall College, Oxford, towards the end of September 2015. This will be a great opportunity for participants to network with experts and individuals involved in retail and general product compliance, as well as to learn more about important regulations, and the process and benefits of commercial supply chain risk management. More information on this event will be forthcoming in future newsletters.
MD, Track Record Global.