5.5 Monitoring Implementation

When implementing a sustainable sourcing strategy, it is crucial to monitor progress at farm and/or supply chain level(s) so as to ensure continuous improvement, and be credible about it.

How do you monitor and/or evaluate implementation?

What to monitor and who is responsible for monitoring again depends on your company’s targets and sourcing model. In the case of direct sourcing from farmers and/or farmer organisations, a company can more directly monitor implementation at farm level than in cases where it sources from processors or traders. In the latter case, the company can, apart from monitoring its suppliers, provide support for the suppliers to monitor progress at farm level. When too many smallholder farmers deliver to the company or to the company’s supplier, though, it is generally not feasible to monitor the progress of each and every producer. Companies may thus choose to use a mix of self-assessments and audits (by the company and/or by external parties - see 4.9).

Self-assessment by farmers and other suppliers can be a powerful tool in implementing sustainability requirements. Many methodologies are in use, some of which are open source and available to any company that is interested. Interesting examples are:

  • Muddy Boots’ Software Tools:
    for farmers to record and communicate their field activities.[1]
  • Keystone Alliance’s Fieldprint Calculator:
    to help US growers benchmark their own economic performance and sustainability with an internet-based tool. See also example 18 below.

Example 18. How Sustainable is my Farm?

Field To Market®, The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, was launched by the non-profit Keystone Center - a diverse US-based initiative that joins producers, agribusinesses, food companies, and conservation organisations seeking to create sustainable outcomes for agriculture. Members include major food companies, food traders/processors, input providers, farmer associations and major retailers.

Field To Market® is developing indicators to estimate the environmental, economic, social, and health outcomes of agriculture in the United States.

Fieldprint Calculator®

The Fieldprint Calculator®, first launched in 2009, is an interactive online tool for education and awareness, which explores relationships between management practices and outcomes. The Fieldprint Calculator helps growers assess corn, wheat, soybean, cotton and rice operations in terms of land use, biodiversity, soil conservation, soil carbon, water use and water quality, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

Using the tool requires the following steps:

  1. Login;
  2. Enter field information;
  3. Test scenarios;
  4. View your fieldprint;
  5. Analyse your economics.

Understanding Economic and Environmental Benefits

Using the Fieldprint calculator, The Coca-Cola Company and conservation partners are helping 50 corn growers in the Paw Paw River watershed (Michigan) measure and ultimately improve production and natural resource management practices for profitability, farm resource efficiency, and ecosystem services such as groundwater recharge. The web-based educational tool allows growers to compare their farm performance against regional averages in land use, soil conservation, soil carbon/organic matter, irrigation water use, energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.

“Using the Fieldprint Calculator has been eye-opening. The tool allows me to rethink how we do specific tasks on our farm. Looking at graphs of our farm’s data helped me recognise where we could improve our sustainability,” said Brian Marshall, a corn and soybean grower in Maysville, Mo. “As a grower, I know my farm is being compared to the average for farms in our county which makes the data more relevant to us. It is easy to get started and I encourage all growers to take advantage of the economic and environmental benefits this tool provides.”

[1] http://en.muddyboots.com/on-the-farm

  • Sedex Information Exchange (Sedex)
    Sedex is a unique and innovative supply chain management tool, helping companies to identify, manage and mitigate ethical risks in global supply chains. A not-for-profit membership organisation that operates the world’s largest collaborative platform for sharing ethical supply chain data, Sedex was founded with two main goals: to ease the burden on suppliers facing multiple audits, questionnaires and certifications, and to drive improvements in the ethical performance of global supply chains. (See Example 19 below).

Example 19. The Case for an Information System for Data Exchange

Sedex: Supplier Information Exchange

Sedex Information Exchange is a unique and innovative platform helping firms to manage ethical supply chain risk and streamline the challenging process of engaging with multi-tier supply chains.

As the largest collaborative platform for managing ethical supply chain data, Sedex engages with all tiers of the supply chain with the aim of driving improvements and convergence in responsible business practices.

Through a secure online platform, Sedex members can share and manage information related to Labour Standards, Health & Safety, The Environment and Business Ethics. Members also have access to a range of resources and reports, including industry specific questionnaires and market leading risk analysis tools, developed with global risk experts Maplecroft.

For buyers, Sedex offers an online system for collecting and analysing information on ethical and responsible business practices in the supply chain. The system enables buyers to run reports on a variety of ethical supply chain data and track suppliers’ progress on key issues. In addition, a Risk Assessment tool helps companies to identify the likelihood of risk in their supply chain and prioritise resources to effectively manage this risk.

For suppliers, Sedex provides an efficient way of sharing ethical information with multiple customers. This helps to cut down on unnecessary paperwork, saving companies time and money. Suppliers complete a self-assessment questionnaire and can choose to share this with multiple customers on Sedex, along with any other relevant ethical information, such as audit reports, certificates and corrective action plans. By allowing suppliers to share the same data with many customers, Sedex helps reduce the need for multiple audits, allowing both parties to concentrate on making improvements.

“Sedex is a vital business tool for Tesco. Dialogue with our industry peers also helps us ensure our systems and activities don’t duplicate work that is already taking place.” Giles Bolton, Tesco (A member)

Sedex members span over 150 countries and many sectors, ranging from small independent farms to some of the world’s largest retailers and consumer brands.



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