The Retailer Winter Edition 2022
THE RE TA I L ER
BUILDING TRANSPARENCY INTO RETAIL SUPPLY CHAINS
Dr. William Pease Chief Scientist UL Enterprise & Advisory
T ools and best practices retailers can use to strengthen product safety and sustain ability efforts Retailers face mounting pressure to provide greater transparency into their supply chains in terms of both product safety and sustainability. Collecting and analyzing pertinent data from suppliers is necessary not only for compliance purposes but also to address questions from customers and investors related to sustainability. Chief among them: How responsibly are product materials sourced? Are products free of materials potentially harmful for health or the environment? Can products be disposed of in an environmentally responsible manner? Retailers are not the only node in the supply chain dealing with an increasing consumer and non-governmental organization (NGO) demand for more transparency and sustainable products. Still, retailers are at the forefront of this trend and are aggressively ramping up their product compliance and sustainability programs to meet these challenges. In this article, UL experts share tools and best practices to help retail organizations keep pacewith changing regulatory needs and build scalable product sustainability programs. This summary will review how best-in class organizations areworking to complywith regulations, develop clear sustainability goals and programs, building supply chain transparency.
Transparency means more than product compliance For many retailers in the UK and worldwide, ongoing efforts to meet regulatory requirements now overlap with the need to address sustain ability concerns. In many cases, the same product attribute data that retailers use to generate accurate regulatory classifications for product compliance can also help evaluate product sustainability attributes and establish sustainable product curation programs. Drivers for greater sustainability efforts among retailers include emerging regulations, NGOs and investors, stronger consumer preference and evolving market opportunities. These all create a cumulative effect in terms of retailers boosting their supply chain transparency. Increased product transparency can yield benefits for retailers, such as: • Meeting complex regulatory requirements to maintain product compliance • Building out product compliance to develop sustainable product curation programs • Boosting environmental, social and governance (ESG) programs and sustainability profiles via more sophisticated and responsible product curation programs However, building transparency into complex global supply chains is not without significant challenges, especially when dealing with multiple suppliers, product lines and regulators. Relying on unverified claims of product safety and sustainability can increase a retailer’s reputational risk and drive consumers more and more interested in sustainable goods elsewhere, as manufacturers’ product claims have not always proven reliable.
of about 30% on average.” ‘‘
Products participating in the program have experienced an increase in sales
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