Maria Alejandra Gonzalez-Perez
Professor of Management | Department of Management , Universidad EAFIT, Medellin, Colombia
"The importance of the responsible global value chain has been central in my research that focuses in the intersection between sustainable development and internationalization of firms from emerging markets.
The name of my PhD -awarded in 2008 by NUI Galway, was “Social Responsibility Networks in the banana industry: The role of Corporate Social Responsibility and the International Civil Society in improving working and living conditions in the banana industry".
Responsible global value chains involve setting long-term sustainability goals, aligning corporate strategy of the sustainable development agenda, going beyond your direct operations, ensure transparent traceability of social, environmental, labour and economic impacts in each stage across the supply chain. Responsible global value chains involve to define indicators and measure impacts (CO2 emissions, clean water usage, job creation, positive effects on local communities, workers health and safety, etc.). It also means making explicit commitment across the value chain to contributing to the 2030 sustainable development goals (SDGs). Responsible global value chains also imply to assume responsibility and to guarantee sustainable production. Responsible global value chains lead to adopting environmental management systems and social accountability mechanisms.
Furthermore, links of the chain should include in their production cost all sustainability-driven upgrades. It also means to increase eco-efficiencies and adoption of reverse logistics and circular economy principles. For all of these, strengthening relationships with suppliers (less diversified) to have shared social and environmental responsibility is a plus. Responsible global value chains include providing training and other incentives to implement sustainability actions across the value chain, ethical alignments amongst links (B2B and B2C). It also entails better communication of corporate sustainability-related values, and moving brand positing from only reliable, and efficient, to sustainable sourcing mindset.
For supply chains, this means identifying adopting a sustainability strategy, identifying critical sustainability issues across the entire chain; focusing on critical environmental, social and economic impacts, reduce ecological footprint, increase resources eco-efficiency; improved product and packaging performance, better distribution optimization."