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BRC Ethical Trade - what's the interest?

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Sharon Xuereb

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 10:33 AM

I now that BRC are issuing the Ethical Trade and Responsible Sourcing standard. What do people think the uptake will be?

We have a gap analysis software for the Food Safety standard, and soon the Packaging one. So wanted some feedback re whether the Ethical Trade one will be worth investing in.

 

Thanks in advance!

Sharon



LesleySR

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 10:49 AM

Hi Sharon

 

I think this is a good idea - depending on a user's customer base.

 

Some of our larger customers demand we have SEDEX  approval for all our sites & also that we audit our suppliers, some of whom are in developing countries.

 

By doing this we can show our customers the traceability, and that we comply with their requirements for our suppliers.

 

Anybody dealing with the retailers or large customers (Kelloggs, Nestle, General Mills)  would probably be very open to this idea.

 

Sustainability & ethics look like they are here to stay!!



pHruit

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 11:19 AM

We certainly aren't planning to rush into it.

There is understandably some overlap with SMETA, so we would prefer to see which way our client base goes before adding anything further.

Sedex is already mandatory for most of our clients, with many pushing for SMETA, so I currently feel that this will continue to be the prevailing preference in the UK. If one or two of the major retailers get behind the BRC version then that could change, but I wouldn't expect it to happen quickly.

And in fact it's probably more likely that we'll end up in a worst-case situation of some parties mandating one scheme, and some another - perhaps some sort of GFSI-style benchmarking process is required for these growing numbers of ethical standards... ;)

 



zanorias

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 11:27 AM

Personally I think uptake will be modest to begin with, perhaps mainly larger companies and retail providers obtaining it as a condition of supply to the customer. Though I imagine as compliance becomes more commonplace, it will be easier for customers to source from compliant manufacturers and enable them to reasonably request it as part of their supplier approval, thereby putting pressure on others that don't hold the compliance.

 

Consumers seem to be becoming more increasingly aware of environmental and ethical factors (from my observations at least) which I guess will help push this along.

 

The Consultation Draft is linked below for those interested:

 

https://www.brcgs.co...cember-2018.pdf



pHruit

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 11:57 AM

Consumers seem to be becoming more increasingly aware of environmental and ethical factors (from my observations at least) which I guess will help push this along.

I definitely agree with this.
The challenge we have as an industry is the variety of options and lack of consistent agreement about what works, what is acceptable etc., and indeed what people actually want beyond nebulous buzzwords.

For example we're getting more questions than ever to the effect of "is product x sustainable?", but none of the customers who have asked us this have been able to tell me what "sustainable" actually means to them...

 

Should we as food businesses be looking at Sedex/SMETA, the new BRC thing, the SAI platform, BSCI, ISO14000, ISO26000, ISO27000 (tenuous, but section 6.2 of the BRC draft seems to think that IT security belongs here?!), ISO50001, OHSAS18001, Ecovadis, other schemes that are very specific to industry sectors, some of all of the above etc?

These bits often fall into the lap of technical/QA teams in smaller businesses, as it's viewed as being systems-related so everyone else runs a mile from it ;)

I certainly support the aims of the schemes, and have gradually pushed our supplier base in the same direction to the extent that we now have 95% on Sedex, but am not at all keen to have to run 723 different schemes in parallel in order to satisfy different requirements from customers - hopefully the increasing awareness will lead to a more joined-up discussion within the industry. GFSI (mostly) proves it can be done!



QAGB

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Posted 30 July 2019 - 01:13 PM

I definitely agree with this.
The challenge we have as an industry is the variety of options and lack of consistent agreement about what works, what is acceptable etc., and indeed what people actually want beyond nebulous buzzwords.

For example we're getting more questions than ever to the effect of "is product x sustainable?", but none of the customers who have asked us this have been able to tell me what "sustainable" actually means to them...

 

Should we as food businesses be looking at Sedex/SMETA, the new BRC thing, the SAI platform, BSCI, ISO14000, ISO26000, ISO27000 (tenuous, but section 6.2 of the BRC draft seems to think that IT security belongs here?!), ISO50001, OHSAS18001, Ecovadis, other schemes that are very specific to industry sectors, some of all of the above etc?

These bits often fall into the lap of technical/QA teams in smaller businesses, as it's viewed as being systems-related so everyone else runs a mile from it ;)

I certainly support the aims of the schemes, and have gradually pushed our supplier base in the same direction to the extent that we now have 95% on Sedex, but am not at all keen to have to run 723 different schemes in parallel in order to satisfy different requirements from customers - hopefully the increasing awareness will lead to a more joined-up discussion within the industry. GFSI (mostly) proves it can be done!

 

I agree with the above. Consumers are merely aware of buzzwords, but don't have much of a clue as to what they mean. I can't tell you how many times I had a customer ask for "GMO" products when they meant "non-GMO". I feel it makes the job harder because as an industry, we start jumping to get additional certifications for products, even though the customer base has no idea what these even mean. It just makes the customer feel better about their purchase.

 

If your company is looking to get in on the "green revolution" and you have products where this won't be a significant challenge, this could be a good standard to work towards. Also, if you are working with some of the major players LesleySR mentioned, you might wish to consider it as well. I wouldn't get too excited though in the prospects of having reduced ethics audits (from customers) in the future because you're certified (the same as what's happening with BRC for food). 

 

I personally feel that managing food safety by itself is a full time (plus some) responsibility. It would be nice if companies started looking at hiring people for ethics/environmental roles. I'd personally not be looking to get certified to this standard, since I've only been involved in a couple ethics audits over the last few years. However, every subset of the industry is different. 



egonwie79

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Posted 24 September 2021 - 01:45 PM

We certainly aren't planning to rush into it.

There is understandably some overlap with SMETA, so we would prefer to see which way our client base goes before adding anything further.

Sedex is already mandatory for most of our clients, with many pushing for SMETA, so I currently feel that this will continue to be the prevailing preference in the UK. If one or two of the major retailers get behind the BRC version then that could change, but I wouldn't expect it to happen quickly.

And in fact it's probably more likely that we'll end up in a worst-case situation of some parties mandating one scheme, and some another - perhaps some sort of GFSI-style benchmarking process is required for these growing numbers of ethical standards... ;)

Hi there, we are preparing for a smeta audit pillar 4 and I need help with sample programs template. Is this something you can share?





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