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The world's supply chains have a long way to go to be sustainable.

Many of you will have heard in recent days about the press story on the apparently exploitative supply chain for the ‘This Is What A Feminist Looks Like’ T-shirts that Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg have worn in support of women' rights charity the Fawcett Society.

If you didn't, the allegation – since refuted by the charity – is that the supply chain for the T-shirts is not what it should be. The suggestion is that the living and working conditions endured by migrant women working in Mauritius making the garments are awful – long hours, meagre pay and prison-like living conditions.

But whether or not this particular supply chain is properly ethical, I want to touch on the wider picture here.

Today a great many of the world's supply chains don't work – whether measured on environmental or social terms. It's terrible wherever workers are exploited, and it's terrible when the world's finite natural resources are exploited in an unsustainable way too.

Sustainable circular economies

When we talk about sustainability and the development of true, sustainable circular economies, there's much at stake. It's not enough to have a goal to get a bit better at ensuring that the waste and exploitation in the current systems is improved. We need to set our sights high and aim for radical change wherever we can. 

That's what we are committed to at ecosurety. Day in and day out we are making sure we get the small things right, but we also take big steps too – and strive to take things to the next level. Why? Because we want to participate in supply chains that work on every level, and that deliver for all involved and for the planet. It's happening already, but it's not widespread, and there's always more to do.

The good news is that radical change is possible and can and does make a radical difference. This week Rhett Butler, founder of the Mongabay.com website that tracks the world’s tropical forests, said he was more optimistic than ever before about the future of the rainforests, mainly because of the actions of some major multinationals in recent years, committing themselves to sustainable business practices and to ending their involvement in deforestation.

Holding people to account

One of the great things about today's interconnected and ever-more-visible world is that it's easier to make people accountable than ever before. That might be a cause for some concern when it comes to protecting our personal privileges and freedoms, but when it comes to ending unethical and unsustainable supply chains it really is a boon to be able to shine a light on actions and hold people to account. 

There's absolutely no room for triumphalism or back-slapping just yet, however. There is way too much to do for that. But we are all at the start of something big here – and we intend to play our part.


Steve Clark

Non-executive director

Steve established Ecosurety (originally Budget Pack) in 2003 in response to the lack of flexibility, innovation and customer-focus in the compliance scheme market. He took inspiration from the mobile phone market, which continues to provide a diverse range of pick-and-mix options for the customer, and built the original business on a commitment to provide flexible, friendly and tailored support for all clients.

He is passionate about bringing the latest business concepts from other markets and industries and applying them to the environmental sector for the benefit of clients.


Written by
Steve Clark
Published
07/11/2014
Topics
Sustainability

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