Each year on April 22nd, the world celebrates Earth Day. “Events worldwide are held to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It was first celebrated in 1970, and is now coordinated globally by the Earth Day Network and celebrated in more than 192 countries each year.” At Pro QC, we like Earth Day because it’s an opportunity to express our commitment to helping ensure sustainability and social responsibility within the supply chain. Aside from reducing quality risks and cost, ensuring social responsibility improves quality of life and ultimately affects the quality of products being produced as well. 80% of CEOs recently surveyed agree that ensuring social responsibility contributes to long-term success. Environmental leadership is considered compatible with good returns. Standards including SA 8000, ISO 26000 and ISO 14000 are generally incorporated into SR audits. A social responsibility audit can be included in a general systems audit for an added level of assurance. Social Responsibility – These evaluations focus on health and safety, discrimination, disciplinary practices, working hours, compensation, management practices, forced labor, freedom of association and child labor laws. Sustainability – These evaluations combine elements of key standards along with additional elements covering energy usage, renewable energy, greenhouse gas emissions, materials and waste reduction, life cycle management, supplier’s supply chain activities and more. Benefits of ensuring social responsibility include: Human Resources – Recruitment & Retention Benefits Higher employee morale leads to greater rates of retention, which cuts the costs of recruiting and training new staff. In addition, a growing trend in recruitment appears to be concern regarding a company’s corporate social responsibility activities. Increased Product Quality & Safety Reducing defects and accidents enhances product quality. A less fatigued and adult workforce is less likely to cause accidents or defects on the production line. In addition, a supplier that shows little concern over health and safety is more likely to produce poor quality products. Risk Management Proactive corporate responsibility offsets the risks of scandals or accidents that can create unwanted attention from consumers, regulators, government or the media. Brand Development Investing in a socially accountable supply chain benefits a company’s brand by differentiating from competition and building a positive reputation in the minds of consumers. Stronger Management Providing training, defining responsibility and developing manuals will strengthen the management of the company. Government Intervention If businesses take voluntary steps to ensure social accountability, they are more likely to avoid mandated government regulation and taxation. In a late-2010 survey from sustainable consulting group BSR, when asked which areas sustainable companies show the most leadership and which areas will drive ongoing business success, both questions yielded the same top answers: creating innovative products and business models designed for sustainability (40 percent leadership, 66 percent business success); measuring and demonstrating positive social and environmental impacts (39 percent for both); and responding promptly and effectively to accidents, product quality issues and other incidents (35 percent leadership, 39 percent business success). Source: Bottom-Line Benefits of Sustainability We have written several articles that provide more info: Investing in Sustainability & Social Responsibility Why Social Responsibility in Factories Matters Sustainability Audits: An Evolving Process Social Accountability Audits: Benefits & Features Ask us for sample reports! “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” ~Chinese Proverb How will you celebrate Earth Day?