What is responsible sourcing? When businesses talk about this as part of their environmental, social and governance strategies, they are referring to all parts of the value chain that ensure stakeholders and the environment are catered for in the product lifecycle. Ethical sourcing applies to the treatment of individuals who provided goods and services to turn raw materials into shelf-ready consumer products.
Since the onset of Covid-19, consumer and business mindsets are changing and more are conscious of the impact that products and services have on the environment and communities around the world. The harsh reality of climate change is reflected in the drastic increase in engagement and awareness, particularly in Asia. According to a report by The Economist, sentiment towards nature and the climate has increased by around 190%, in Pakistan, it is around 88%, and 53% in Indonesia.
Digital transformation to drive ESG initiatives
The use of digital technology has increased drastically with near-endless use cases in various industries. ISN provides world-class data-driven products to almost 700 Hiring Clients and more than 75,000 contractors and suppliers. Speaking with Brittany Surine, Vice President at ISN, she explains more about how mindsets are shifting towards social and environmental causes, and how ISN and digital technology can make a great impact.
Do you believe there has been a shift in mentality regarding climate change?
‘This year alone, there’s been a huge uptick in attention to climate change, as well as ESG initiatives across the board. Despite the lack of regulatory compliance pertaining to environmental efforts, many businesses are still implementing technology to track their emissions and creating programs with goals for reduction in the future’.
What caused that shift?
‘One reason behind the shift in mentality regarding climate change is the mere urgency of the climate change crisis and its tangible impacts. Climate change continues to fuel issues across the globe, such as environmental degradation and food insecurity. As the consequences of climate change have grown increasingly severe in the past years, people are realising the gravity of their actions and making active efforts to slow the rate of climate change.
‘Another cause is that businesses are a huge contributor to climate change. Today, managing sustainability and environmental risks are simply good business [practices] regardless of a company’s size or maturity. In addition, more consumers are driven to be responsible global citizens. They are quick to turn to the competition when unsustainable sourcing or unethical labour practices emerge from businesses they interact with.
‘Investors, stakeholders, and consumers alike continue to demand greater transparency and action when it comes to environmental initiatives aimed at countering the climate crisis. The public influence and risk of reputational damage continue to push businesses to go above and beyond when developing their ESG initiatives’.
How does digital technology enable positive change?
‘Leveraging digital technology, such as a contractor management platform, can help bring positive change by allowing businesses to track their environmental and social impacts. Technology can enable the accurate tracking of sustainability-related items, like Scope 3 emissions or human rights policies. This allows organisations to have concrete metrics that demonstrate progress in their initiatives and develop new ones’.
Is there potential to further the impact of digital technology?
‘Organisations should not simply be collecting data, but ultimately how they analyse and utilise data will further the impact of digital technology. Data should be analysed to recognise and view trends and identify specific areas for improvement. Digital solutions can help ensure that progress is being made as a result of implementing sustainability initiatives and steer organisations to take further action when the goals of their programmes are not reflected in tracked data. Additionally, digital technology allows for simplified reporting of sustainability metrics for both investors and consumers, reducing both time and resources on sustainability-related data gathering’.
For more ESG insights, check out the latest issue of Sustainability Magazine.