With growing customer awareness and sensitivity to environmental and social issues, there is an increasing need for brands to manage the compliance of their supply chains with coherent standards of responsibility. Current top down approaches, depending on third-party audits and certifications, have proven only partially effective in ensuring compliance. In addition, suppliers who adopt responsible business strategies in earnest do not feel adequately represented by the certification system.
To address this issue, TCBL has reached agreement with two leading retail brands – Leroy Merlin and Conforama – to jointly launch the “TCBL Radical Transparency” initiative. This builds on a the TCBL approach of bringing together companies working in a competitive environment whose value proposition includes adherence to a set of shared principles, beyond minimal compliance with industry and government regulations.
Concretely, the initiative consists of a checklist compiled on the Thela Supply Chain management service operated by Cleviria Srl, one of 22 partners in the EU-funded TCBL project. The checklist includes information on:
- The size and scale of the company
- Production and distribution certifications (quality, environment, etc.)
- Localisation of facilities and normative frameworks
- Applicable regulations (e.g. EUTR, Reach, CLP)
- Provenance of raw materials
- Employee regulations, safety and accidents
- Environment: energy, waste, pollution
- Legal aspects (penalties, violations)
Participating brands – the initiative is open to other brands, including those more directly involved in clothing and fashion – distribute the checklist to their main suppliers who are also asked to engage their (second-tier) suppliers to compile the questionnaire on a voluntary basis. In parallel, TCBL is offering the opportunity for all its Associate Enterprises, who have already compiled a more generic questionnaire relating to innovation and values, to compile the same checklist, with the opportunity of gaining visibility within the brands’ supply chain networks.
The multi-brand dimension is an important part of the TCBL Radical Transparency approach, in that while maintaining the strong influence brands have on supply chains, it shifts the emphasis from control to collaboration. TCBL Radical Transparency does not aim in fact to meet all the certification requirements of a single brand, but rather represents a collective effort among several brands aiming to benefit in efficiency, effectiveness and quality from the promotion of a community of suppliers that are proud to declare their responsible business practices.
TCBL will also carry out monitoring and evaluation of the processes sparked by the TCBL Radical Transparency initiative. Data gathered, such as links between participating companies, timeliness of consignments or product quality, will be compiled to better understand the impact of the value-based community approach on business competitiveness.