Whether you are a retailer, brand or manufacturer, the need to proactively manage social compliance issues in your supply chain has never been greater. Social compliance matters first and foremost because it’s the moral way to run a company, but the business benefits cannot be ignored either.
These were the sentiments of Gerwin Leppink, Europe representative at Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (Wrap), an independent certification programme operating in the apparel, footwear and textile sector. He was speaking on the topic ‘How responsible sourcing applies to Africa’ at the recent Source Africa trade show held in Cape Town.
“The world is watching. Information moves around the globe in seconds – both positive and negative – and it can impact a business’s reputation,” he said.
Consumers are watching, and so are governments and consumer protection bodies. There are now dedicated organisations helping shareholders understand just how socially responsible supply chains are for companies they’re looking to acquire shares in. Government arms, in Europe and USA especially, have growing concern for what’s occurring in garment and textile supply chains, he noted.
And today’s younger consumers have higher expectations of the ethical side of a product and its production environment.
“For us in apparel supply chains, reputations lie at factory level, retail and brand level but also country level,” stated Leppink.
Working off Africa’s relatively clean slate in terms of responsible sourcing, Leppink believes the continent is faced with the opportunity to build a competitive advantage with strong supply chain systems from the very beginning.
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Photo: © Montian Noowong via 123RF
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