Full Product Transparency (Guest Post by Ramon Arratia, Interface)

In his new book, Full Product Transparency, sustainability pioneer Ramon Arratia argues that we have to move from corporate to product sustainability. I am happy that Ramon followed my invitation to contribute to my blog:

The conventional approach to exercising corporate responsibility in a company’s supply chain is to draft a company supplier standard and then audit for compliance using that document. Positive and usually well-intentioned, the impact is inherently limited by the narrow scope of the dialogue and the teacher–student nature of the relationship. The typical 700 questions questionnaire sent to suppliers usually asks meaningless things such as: “Does your organisation have an environmental policy in place?” Or: “Does your organisation have an environmental management system (EMS) in place?” This is just bureaucracy for the sake of it, taking lots of time from both parts and adding little transformative value to the real environmental impacts of the products. The ideal question for suppliers is: “Send me the environmental product declaration (EPD) of your product and your plan to radically improve it”. After all, you are not buying the whole company. Besides, around 80% of the environmental impacts of products are not in the manufacturer’s realms but in their supply chain.

Ramon Arratia is a sustainability director at Interface and has previously been employed in similar roles at Vodafone and Ericsson. Interface is the winner of the International Green Awards 2012. Ramon is also a blogger of Cut the Fluff.

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About Andreas Wieland

Dr. Andreas Wieland is an Assistant Professor of Supply Chain Management at the Department of Operations Management, Copenhagen Business School. His current research interests include supply chain risk management and international logistics strategies.

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