Context and description
Suppliers are responsible for manufacturing the products or by-products marketed by a company. They therefore play an essential role in reducing the company's environmental footprint. Their implication within the environmental initiative of their instructing parties, and more precisely within the context of product eco-design efforts, is essential.
In spite of this, brands (even major and proactive brands) can encounter difficulties in giving momentum to sustainable development initiatives with suppliers. To maximise their influence it is possible to intervene with respect to the following factors:
- The degree of formalisation of the commitments requested of suppliers and their management;
- Arbitration between economic price requirements and environmental standards (in a logic of pure compliance or environmental competitive bidding) ;
- The nature of the commercial relation between stakeholders (which can be based on an economic power balance within a strict compliance approach or, conversely, more geared towards trust, and a "win-win" partnership) ;
- Raising awareness among suppliers with respect to the benefits associated with the implementation of the environmental initiative. For example: savings made thanks to eco-efficiency measures, anticipation of the rapid evolution of international standards, responses to the expectations of increasingly ambitious instructing parties etc.
Within this context, the brand can choose to progressively commit its suppliers, firstly with respect to the global improvement of their environmental practices then more gradually within a product eco-design approach, co-developed with the most mature partners at an environmental level.