5 steps to fostering supply chain transparency in reality

Supply chain transparency for chemicals in your products is a great idea, but what about really making it happen? Here are some ways to begin engaging your suppliers. 

As most of us know, the theory and practice of creating chemical transparency in the supply chain are entirely different. In fact, collecting chemical data from suppliers is one of the largest challenges our clients face in building out their sustainable chemistry strategies. So how can you begin to implement better supply chain transparency?  

With more than a decade of working on this, we’ve assembled some best practices to help you get started:

1. Ask the first question.

Successful supply chain transparency starts with Why. Define what you want out of your supply chain transparency program. To protect your business, consumers and workers? To develop safer products from the start? To meet sustainability goals and regulations, like the European Green Deal? Whatever the answer is for your business, it’s helpful to know what the end goal is before you get started.

2. Find your foothold.

Based on your why, does it make sense to get started with new materials, existing materials, or creating an encompassing chemical inventory? There are many ways to get started, and we’ve had clients implement one or more of these strategies to get to their end goal.  

Want to learn more? Read our case study with Under Armour.

3. Create clarity.

Depending on what path you take, you have to set completely clear expectations with your supply chain, as misunderstanding is one of the leading reasons for not getting the information you need. Consider:  

  • What level of disclosure do you require? 
  • What are you doing with the information? 
  • How are you using it? 
  • How will the suppliers be impacted; are your expectations reasonable? 
  • What exactly are you looking for? 
  • What is your timeline? 

4. Implement your process.

Based on your clarity analysis, perhaps taking a top-down approach with your own proactive RSL makes sense, like Beautycounter does. Or maybe you want a more collaborative process that allows you to approve prior to new innovations like Nike. Or perhaps signing up for a certification program, like Screened Chemistry, would best meet your needs.

5. Empower your suppliers.

Consider engaging your suppliers in co-developing an innovative process that works for everyone. Doing so can: 

  • Help suppliers understand your why 
  • Build clear requests for information 
  • Set expectations for an adequate response 
  • Provide further clarification as needed 
  • Enable access to tools to help them proactively meet expectations

Get a better look at the chemicals in your supply chain

To learn more about how the Enhesa Sustainable Chemistry team can assist you with chemical transparency in your supply chain, contact our talented team.