Sedex has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with BSCI – the leading business-driven initiative supporting retailers, importers and brands to improve working conditions in supplying factories and farms worldwide – to co-develop projects and programmes that enhance the sustainability efforts of both organisations’ memberships.
The partnership will see the two organisations working more closely together, leveraging their joint strengths to drive scale within the responsible sourcing industry and creating numerous benefits for the memberships of both. This will establish a firm base and mutual understanding which can be further built upon to continue the collaboration in future.
“After months of discussion, it is with great excitement that we announce the collaboration between Sedex and BSCI”, commented Jonathan Ivelaw-Chapman, Sedex CEO. “While the two organisations have historically been competitors, both recognise that simplification and collaboration – core values of Sedex and BSCI – are absolutely crucial to the development of the responsible supply chain industry as a whole.”
“Although both organisations will remain separate entities with separate memberships, goals and objectives, we are looking forward to leveraging the considerable market size of both BSCI and Sedex to effect positive change in the industry”, commented Christian Ewert, FTA Director General. “We are confident that this MoU will be the start of a long and fruitful relationship for BSCI, Sedex, and the companies that make up our global memberships.”
Within the overall aims of reducing duplication of effort, driving scale and setting the grounds for an active collaboration, the MoU outlines a number of focus areas for immediate attention:
- Human trafficking: BSCI and Sedex will collaborate to align global brands and retailers on best approaches to tackling the issue of human trafficking.
- Shared capacity building: BSCI will explore opportunities to include Sedex members in BSCI capacity building activities.
- Continuous improvement of labour relations: BSCI and Sedex will work together on a common approach to implementing a process of continuous improvement of labour relations at the workplace.
- Audit quality metrics: Working in alignment with the Association for Professional Social Compliance Auditors (APSCA), BSCI and Sedex will develop and launch shared auditor metrics for the management of audit quality. This common approach will help drive a common view of audit quality for suppliers, brands and retailers across the globe.
- Data collaboration: BSCI and Sedex will explore opportunities to collaborate on the outputs of data from both systems that would better support their membership organisations track, manage and predict social and environmental issues in the global supply chain.
- Working group collaboration: Members of the leadership teams of BSCI and Sedex will be given a role on each other’s working groups to explore further opportunities to collaborate.
This new partnership comes at an exciting time for both organisations. Sedex has recently launched ‘Sedex Advance’, the world’s largest collaborative platform for sharing data on supply chains, as its membership continues to expand beyond 38,000 members in over 150 countries. Meanwhile, BSCI has launched its upgraded BSCI 2.0 system – a holistic model fostering responsible business practices – and the FTA Academy, a new online service providing over 1,800 companies and 28,000 producers worldwide with access to exclusive learning material and courses.
Q: Why have you decided to collaborate?
A: We believe that by acting together, BSCI and Sedex can provide clarity to the sustainability space and drive significant value for our Members and their supply chains.
Q: What is the added value of this partnership for each initiative?
A: Both Sedex and BSCI Members will gain from this work equally. Each organisation will be able to bring its members much larger and richer programmes than either BSCI or Sedex could launch individually. From a shared Sedex and BSCI anti-human trafficking programme to our shared vision to explore opportunities to enrich member’s sustainability data, we see this collaboration as a way to bring substantial benefit to the industry, our members and their supply chains.
Q: Are you merging your organisations?
A: We are not merging our organisations. Rather, we are collaborating on projects where we can leverage our shared strength to clarify the sustainability space and bring value to our members. Each initiative will remain independent and free to pursue work to enrich their individual membership bases.
Q: Are there different phases in the partnership and what is the timeline?
A: There are no phases to this work. Rather, Sedex and BSCI are collectively and individually looking for ways to maximise value to our members and associated manufacturers on a continuous basis. This work will begin in May 2016 and will continue as long as we can provide added value to our members.
Q: Will there be any changes for members of BSCI and Sedex?
A: Yes, we are confident that the collaboration is a positive change for the industry and will bring many benefits to our over 2500 members and their more than 60,000 suppliers: from improved access to more in depth supply data analytics to pioneering new sustainability forecasting methods to richer audit quality programmes.
Q: Will you share audits?
A: No, we are not looking to share audits. Both BSCI and Sedex are looking for opportunities to work together to improve sustainability across several different parts of our organisations.
Q: Do Sedex and BSCI have plans to align code or audit methodology?
A: Sedex & BSCI have no plans to align on code or audit methodology. Whether suppliers chose a SMETA or BSCI audit is still 100% driven by their own or customers choice. Any mutual recognition of these audit types is purely at the discretion of individual Sedex/BSCI members. The Sedex/BSCI collaboration will focus on mutual industry challenges and subjects such as supply chain capacity building, aggregated data reporting and forced labour. This collaboration will not include subjects relating to governance, membership, code alignment or audit programmes.
Q: What does this mean for BSCI and Sedex collaborations with other stakeholders?
A: We believe it is important to keep discussions with stakeholders open, and to bring clarity, simplification and collaboration to our respective communities. Both organisations partner with many initiatives, each partner organisation providing a different perspective.