Blog Series Wrap-Up: Takeaways & Learnings

KnowTheChain reviews the highlights and key takeaways from guest bloggers during our series on the changing landscape for businesses.

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September 23, 2015
LinkedIn

In case you missed our summer blog series Supply Chains: A Changing Business Landscape, you’ll find some highlights below. At KnowTheChain we strive to be a resource to help companies transition to more transparent and responsible supply chains. Bringing this group of people together was just one step forward towards sharing the information that matters.

All of the insights below have been pulled directly from our contributors posts. We hope they will help you consider how you can contribute to a culture of corporate transparency. More announcements from KnowTheChain are coming soon, so check-in often.

1. Legislation is on the rise.

Aggregating the intentions of Dodd-Frank, California’s Supply Chain Transparency Act, UK Modern Slavery Act, and current legislation in Congress, it is clear that legislation is being used to compel companies to take accountability for their supply chains. By the end of 2016, nearly every multinational company will be required to comply with at least one transparency regulation, either in the United States or Europe.

2. Threat or Opportunity – you decide.

As governments and consumers become increasingly aware of forced labor, a trend towards supply chain transparency is changing the business landscape. Whether this change is a threat or an opportunity depends on how corporations choose to respond.

3. Partnering has never been a better (or more profitable) idea.

Supply chains offer a unique opportunity to engage in public-private partnerships because the desired outcomes of the public, private, and nonprofit sectors are often aligned.

Companies are in a great place right now to evaluate partnerships that will help them move beyond a specific issue area such as cotton, or a specific geographic location such as the Great Lakes Region, to instead focus on the process that is used regardless of location or industry. A great example from Natalie Pregibone’s post highlights how without the government and nonprofit partners, Hershey would not have had the reach, technical expertise, or public trust to successfully execute a core program.

4. Now is the time to protect your reputation.

When your reputation is impacted, your sales, earnings, profits, and memberships are instantaneously impacted as well. Businesses are now held responsible for the actions of their suppliers and partners.

5. Brand loyalty opportunities abound.

Opportunity is the flip side of risk. Companies who value their consumers can, and should, be promoting their positive record and commitment to being the kind of company that people can feel good about.

6. Investors are watching.

How these human rights issues are handled matters to investors looking to avoid companies with messy reputation issues and operational inefficiencies. Investors were strong supporters of the California Supply Chain Transparency Act, as well as supporters of the legislation recently introduced in Congress because it helps them more clearly identify risks.

7. Know your investment risks.

The companies you own—and may consider owning—are coming under a brighter, and at times, harsher spotlight than ever. And investors need to understand, share, and address those risks to be successful.

Companies spending time and money relocating operations to avoid legislation, are not spending the time and money to address the broader implications of legislation and mainstream their own human rights operations.

8. Use resources to keep your company ahead of the curve.
  • Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC)
  • Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) for example.
  • OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas.
9. This is what support looks like.

Supported, rather than confronted by governments and nonprofits, companies will increasingly view engagement on this issue as an opportunity to improve their bottom line while simultaneously having a positive social impact.


One of KnowTheChain’s goals is to promote greater dialogue around the issue of slavery in supply chains. This blog series is one of the many ways we are working to elevate this conversation. We’d like to thank our contributors. Without their commitment to this work, this series wouldn’t have been possible. Special thanks to (appearing in order of their post date):