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Why has the CGF created the Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative?

Choosing from the many existing compliance schemes can be challenging for organisations who strive to work with suppliers that provide decent working conditions, respect the environment, and align with industry-approved CGF resolutions.

The Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) promotes good social and environmental practices in global supply chains by benchmarking third-party auditing and certification schemes and recognising robust schemes. By providing an open-source list of recognised schemes, the SSCI delivers clear guidance on which schemes cover key sustainability criteria and apply robust verification practices.

Key goals of the SSCI are to:

  • Support companies, independent of their size, in their supply chain risk management by facilitating an informed choice of third-party audit or certification schemes.
  • Allow companies to dive deeper into the issues facing their supply chain.
  • Contribute to the continuous improvement of sustainability auditing and certification schemes and encourage them to reflect CGF resolutions in those schemes worldwide

 

Who is involved in the set-up of the SSCI?

The SSCI is led by a high-level Steering Committee that reports directly to the CGF Board. The Steering Committee is parity-based and brings together CGF members from the retailer and manufacturer colleges. The Steering Committee is co-chaired by Ahold Delhaize and Nestlé. Two Technical Working Groups are currently working on the draft benchmark criteria. Input from stakeholders is a crucial element in the process. The Technical Working Groups take stakeholder comments into account through informal consultations and a public consultation phase.

 

How does SSCI relate to the CGF Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) benchmarking and recognition process?

Since its inception in 2000, GFSI has brought together stakeholders representing the global food industry to collaborate on advancing food safety. An essential part of that goal is to create a common and widely-accepted understanding of what constitutes a good food safety system. The GFSI Benchmarking Requirements have become the world’s most widely accepted benchmark document for food safety requirements. 

The SSCI benchmark structure and methodology is aligned with the GFSI benchmark and recognition process wherever feasible, whilst taking into account the specificities of the social compliance sector.

 

How can I contribute to the development of the SSCI?

CGF members can join the Steering Committee and the Technical Working Groups to help shape the benchmarking and recognition process. Stakeholders interested in providing input to the development of the initiative are invited to contact the CGF for further information. Public consultations on the benchmark criteria will be open to all interested parties throughout the development process.

 

Will SSCI set another social compliance standard?

No. The SSCI will not create another social compliance standard and suppliers can not be audited directly against the SSCI criteria. SSCI will provide a benchmarking and recognition tool for third-party auditing and certification schemes and deliver clear guidance on which schemes cover key sustainability criteria and apply robust verification practices. 

 

Will SSCI provide a platform for audit sharing?

No. The SSCI will not provide a database for the sharing of supplier information or audit reports. SSCI will provide a benchmarking and recognition tool for third-party auditing and certification schemes and deliver clear guidance on which schemes cover key sustainability criteria and apply robust verification.

 

I am a company and would like SSCI to recognise my in-house audit process, is that possible?

No. The SSCI will only be benchmarking third-party auditing and certification schemes.

 

Will I be able to access audit reports from suppliers through SSCI?

No. The SSCI is not a platform or database for audit sharing, neither can suppliers be audited directly against the SSCI criteria.

 

Can an audit firm be accredited to audit against SSCI?

No. The SSCI is not a social compliance standard and suppliers can’t be audited directly against the SSCI criteria. SSCI does not provide accreditation of audit firms.

 

What is the relationship with ITC Sustainability Map?

The SSCI and the ITC Sustainability Map team are currently evaluating the possibility to potentially enable data exchange on sustainability schemes between ITC Sustainability Map and SSCI in order to facilitate the Self-Assessment against the SSCI benchmark criteria for scheme owners.

 

What is the difference between SSCI and GSCP?

The Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP) was set up in 2009 with the aim of harmonising existing efforts and deliver a common, consistent and global approach across sectors for the continuous improvement of working and environmental conditions in global supply chains.

Following the full integration of the GSCP into The Consumer Goods Forum, a strategic review process that included an extensive member and stakeholder consultation was conducted. Following this input, the CGF Board decided in June 2017 to set up the SSCI to provide the market with a tool that will bring clear guidance on which third-party auditing and certification schemes cover key sustainability requirements and apply robust verification practices. SSCI will develop a streamlined approach to benchmarking and recognition under the roof of the CGF, aligning benchmarking criteria and processes with the CGF Global Food Safety Initiative, wherever feasible.

The GSCP Reference Tools remain available for download, but the overall activities of the GSCP have ceased. The GSCP Equivalence Process will now enter its next phase through the SSCI.

Key differences between the SSCI benchmark and recognition tool and the GSCP Equivalence Process benchmark are:

  • Formal CGF recognition of schemes that meet all essential benchmark criteria
  • An integrated approach to benchmarking that embraces both content and system criteria
  • New benchmark criteria on scheme management that follow a process-oriented approach, based on the GFSI scheme management criteria
  • Open-source access to the list of SSCI-recognised schemes.

The GSCP Reference Tools, while available for download, will not be the basis for the SSCI benchmark.

The Equivalence Process will not accept any new applications for benchmarks from June 2018.

 

What will the SSCI benchmark and recognition process look like?

The benchmark methodology is streamlined with the benchmark methodology of the CGF Global Food Safety Initiative that is based on a Self-Assessment, followed by an independent expert review.

The SSCI benchmark criteria will consist of two main parts:

  • Social Criteria: Criteria that are typically found in codes of conduct (e.g. child labour, forced labour, working hours, discrimination, etc.)
  • Scheme Management Criteria: Criteria that ensure the robust performance of schemes and the effective implementation of the schemes’ procedures and policies (e.g. standard-setting mechanism, independent oversight of audit firms, auditor competence requirements, etc.)

In order to be recognised, all essential SSCI benchmark criteria will have to be met.