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Top 5 tech solutions driving social sustainability in supply chains

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Enhancing social sustainability in supply chains is a complex challenge for manufacturers. Throughout every tier of an ethical supply chain, they must commit to upholding social welfare considerations, ensuring sustainable labour practices, community engagement, and human rights preservation. While challenging, this approach is critical to upholding ethical standards, improving operational efficiency, minimising risks, and enticing top talent, consumers, and investors.

By prioritising social responsibility in the supply chain, manufacturers must undertake thorough vendor screening and unwavering commitment from manufacturers, making the journey towards environmental, social, and governance (ESG) excellence a challenging yet crucial endeavour in today’s business landscape.

In a recent article, McKinsey and Company shed light on “The case of the fair banana,” illustrating how even a seemingly ordinary product like a banana undergoes an arduous journey before reaching the consumer’s hands. From the farmers who cultivate it to the workers at the store who sell it, every step in the banana’s value chain contributes to its story. This example reminds leaders that each stage of production, distribution, and consumption must be scrutinised through the lens of social sustainability.

Application of the fair banana within supply chains

Taking the example of the fair banana, manufacturers must observe that sustainable labour practices, fair wages, safe working conditions, and ethical sourcing are a part of every step of their value chain to combat risk. Not a small feat considering the nuance and challenges managing supply chain transparency in today’s ESG-focused climate requires; however, Gartner asserts it is worth it for enterprises that push forward.

Businesses investing in the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to streamline their processes boost their organisation’s performance by over double the rate of low-performing competitors. AI’s transformative potential extends to the supply chain domain, where leaders are preparing to harness it for critical efficiency and social responsibility insights. In fact, Gartner asserts that 95 per cent of data-driven decisions within the supply chain will be automated, demonstrating a substantial shift towards AI-enabled decision-making processes.

To capture the benefits of technology in supply chains, manufacturers must ask the pivotal question: Which technologies best foster transparency and ethical practices within the supply chain?

Top 5 technologies to enhance social justice in ethical supply chains

Emerging technologies introduced by Industry 4.0 offer leaders the opportunity to leverage the latest advancements to achieve real-time visibility and supply chain transparency. These technologies can detect anomalies and risks such as low wages, forced labour, and workplace safety issues. To navigate the integration of ethical policies within supply chains, leaders can harness the power of the following innovative tools.

An infographic titled "5 innovative tech tools for ethical supply chains" lists the tools as blockchain, AI, IoT, predictive analytics, and geospatial technology, and provides statistics on their impacts on modern supply chains.

Looking through an ethical lens to pinpoint ESG priorities

By applying an ethical perspective and emphasising productivity over cost savings, leaders in supply chain management, aided by emerging technologies, are trailblazing the path toward designing modern supply chains, surpassing their peers. When manufacturers opt to prioritise ethics and productivity within their supply networks, joining the ranks of other enterprises demonstrating ethical supply chain excellence, they can uncover a competitive edge and shift closer to future-proofing their operations.

Leveraging cutting-edge tools, such as AI, ML, IoT, and sustainability maturity solutions, such as Consumer Sustainability Industry Readiness Index (COSIRI) framework, can enhance precision and accountability, empowering leaders to ensure that products, even something as commonplace as the humble banana, are sourced, produced, and marketed ethically.

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