Many smaller and medium-sized companies, like larger companies, are already engaging with social responsibility in their business practices. At the same time, they are being asked to live up to their social reponsibilities when it comes to their supply chains and are motivated to do so, as supply chains are the origin of a large share of environmental impacts. Supply chains also hold great potential for reductions, and provide opportunities to avoid or at least decrease considerable risks to the environment, those impacted, and the companies themselves. The catastrophic impact of suppliers’ insufficient security and occupational health and safety standards, as the collapse of the Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh revealed, shows how important and urgent it is for companies to address the social impact of their activities within their supply chains as well.
This publication is geared towards medium-sized companies that have already built a solid foundation of environmental and/or sustainable practices in their factories and offices and now want to take their first steps towards sustainable supply chain management. It provides support for the development of more sustainable supply chains. For those companies that have already introduced an Environmental Management System (EMS) in accordance with EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) or ISO (International Organisation for Standardisation) 14001, this practical guide provides starting points for the management of indirect environmental aspects and the analysis of the life life cycle of products and services.