On May 10th we held our first supply chain due diligence conference in Germany together with Mayer Brown. Finally we got to meet people again.
Under the leading question “Can doing good and doing business go together?” we discussed what we do and why we do it. Will EU Supply Chain Due Diligence legislation and the Lieferkettengesetz be a burden and a check box exercise OR will it set a level playing field for retailers and brands and should we see it as an opportunity?
It was a day with insightful conversations moderated by our founder and Co-CEO Marjan De Bock-Smit and Stephan Tromp from the HDE.
We started off with the overarching state of play at national and European level; draft EU directive and Lieferkettensorgfaltspflichtengesetz and the personal perspectives of Alexandra van Selm from the Sociaal-Economische Raad (SER) and Johannes Weichbrodt from our partner Mayer Brown. His colleagues shared the legal implications of the due diligence legislation and the ESG reporting requirements coming up.
We took a deep dive and heard from Jordy van Honk from IDH – The Sustainable Trade Initiative how living wages need to be at the forefront of the discussions and risk assessments, as closing the living wage gap is where impact can really be made. Leon Mol from Ahold Delhaize continued to explain how their decade of work on supply chain risk management helps to take the next steps necessary for a proper due diligence approach. Walter Stiers helped us to take a step back and shared his insights on the role technology can play in the daunting task of creating end-to-end visibility in global supply chains and collecting high quality data.
One of the largest food wholesalers METRO AG and one of the largest producers Vion Food Group as well as a very prominent NGO Oxfam also took the stage. Nina von Radowitz explained how audit and certification programs continue to play an important role in preventing and mitigating Human Rights risks and help with the obligations under the LkSG. Bert Urlings showed how a company like Vion can take a leadership role in setting standards for a sector and how important multi-stakeholder collaboration is.
In a panel discussion around “Can doing good and doing business go together?” between retailers, IDH and our Co-CEO Leontien Hasselmann-Plugge, Kristina Areskog Bjurling from Axfood shared the need to define a non-competitive level-playing field and differentiate by different focus areas. Leontien made it clear: “It must – as consumers we are all ImpactBuyers! That is even more so for buyers of retailers, brands, producers and traders; they have the power to change our current way of doing business and transition to a sustainable economy!”)
We are grateful for our long term partners who joined us on stage as well as we are for the interested group of participants.
We for sure will do this again next year.