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Responsible sourcing: A progress report

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Givaudan is working as a member of AIM-PROGRESS to update standards for mutual recognition of supplier audits, a critical component of responsible sourcing.

With increasingly complex global supply chains spanning growers and suppliers on several continents, Givaudan is working with industry partners to simplify responsible sourcing through the mutual recognition principle.

Since 2012, Givaudan has been a member of AIM-PROGRESS, a forum of fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) manufacturers and suppliers who promote responsible sourcing practices and sustainable supply chains. As both a manufacturer of key ingredients and a longstanding partner to the FMCG industry, Givaudan has a unique opportunity to share multiple perspectives.

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Challenges for suppliers

In December 2015, we hosted the European AIM-PROGRESS meeting in Seville and invited 30 fellow members and customers on a field trip in deep Andalucía. The group visited Biolandes, one of Givaudan’s key suppliers for the fragrant resin known as Cistus Labdanum. This important natural perfumery ingredient is challenging to process. With support from Givaudan to ensure long-term sustainability and cost-efficiency, our partner recently modernised the way it produces the labdanum gum using automated methods more beneficial to both the environment and workers. The plantation trip helped the delegates to understand some of the challenges that suppliers can face in responsible sourcing, and how solutions can be found together.

Givaudan’s Responsible Sourcing Leader Mickaël:

“Our work with AIM-PROGRESS enables us to better understand the responsible sourcing practices of our key customers and to promote these practices in our supply chains, while allowing our suppliers to put their own transformation processes in place. Givaudan recently introduced its own Responsible Sourcing Policy which was developed in consultation with a number of external stakeholders who are also members of AIM-PROGRESS.” 

> Download Responsible Sourcing Policy

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Supporting suppliers

Givaudan encourages selected suppliers to register as members of Sedex, the largest collaborative platform for sharing ethical supply chain data, and to further sign up to its industry-recognised programme known as SMETA – the Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit. By the end of October 2016, 200 of our top 400 suppliers had onboarded the Sedex programme and had been audited. Givaudan is continuously supporting suppliers to resolve audit issues and to achieve compliance with SMETA.
> About Sedex

“Mutual recognition of supplier audits is one of the key topics we are addressing through our participation in AIM-PROGRESS. The idea is simple: instead of each company performing its own independent audit, we agree to recognise audits performed by others based on a common framework. This represents a huge gain in time and cost for our common suppliers,” says Mickaël.

Mutual recognition can only work if audits are based on equivalent protocols.  The AIM-PROGRESS benchmark is the SMETA four-pillar audit.  In order to meet increasing industry expectations for ethical audits, the group is actively contributing to an enhancement of SMETA to include additional aspects such as land rights, migrant labour, human trafficking, environmental and business integrity. 

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Mutual recognition

Givaudan is part of a dedicated working group on the updated SMETA protocol, which is expected for early 2017. “We want to ensure that mutual recognition is guaranteed over time and that we maintain the principle of ‘an audit for one is an audit for all’,” Mickaël explains.

In October 2016, Givaudan attended an AIM-PROGRESS meeting and supplier workshop in Bangkok to promote responsible sourcing. Present were more than 360 suppliers (representing 150 companies) who worked together to define their own steps in implementing responsible sourcing in Thailand. The group  focused on four high priority issues: forced and migrant labour, overtime working hours, grievance mechanisms and discrimination.