AIM-PROGRESS - Program for responsible sourcing
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05 October 2016

Brands host joint supplier workshop in Bangkok to promote responsible sourcing

„The Journey of a thousand miles begins with one step“. This quote by Lao Tzu was echoed by the six member companies of AIM-PROGRESS co-hosting the organisation’s latest supplier training event in Bangkok on 5 October, in urging the 360+ attending suppliers (representing 150 companies) to define their own steps in implementing responsible sourcing in Thailand.


The AIM-PROGRESS Responsible Sourcing Journey, a roadmap for brands and suppliers towards establishing robust programs for socially, ethically and environmentally sustainable supply chains, will help companies on their path.


A selection of host companies presented key features of their responsible sourcing programmes showing that ethical supply chains and certified commodity sourcing are becoming the norm in the FMCG brands sector. Two NGOs – CARE and OXFAM -, as well as BSR, highlighted the need for companies to engage with workers, especially women; to make public commitments to improving supply chain conditions and to show they are making progress.





Whilst the morning session provided a rationale for why responsible sourcing is part of doing business with brands, the afternoon was an opportunity for a practical deep dive into four high priority issues to help suppliers define their own next steps:

·        Forced and migrant labour, which has been very much in the news in the Thai fishing industry lately. About half of Thailand’s 3.25 million foreign workers have an irregular status and are therefore particularly prone to labour exploitation, already starting at recruitment, depriving them of freedom of movement and withholding payment.

·        Overtime working hours, which lead to absenteeism, accidents at work, high workforce turnover, with recommendations on how to reduce occurrence.

·        Grievance mechanisms: 54% of companies in the conference said they still on the anonymity of suggestion boxes, not nessecarily very effective though.

·        Discrimination, where it occurs, the legal context and how to remedy incidences of discrimination.


In workshops, run with the help of audit house SGS, participants could discuss in more detail the problems which are plaguing supply chains in the Thai labour market, and to identify their own relevant actions.


David Lawrence, Executive Director of AIM-PROGRESS, expressed his delight at seeing “so many suppliers to major brands eager to engage and find collaborative solutions to these issues”.


AIM-PROGRESS organizes regular supplier events across the globe in markets where member companies see a need for addressing responsible sourcing. This event was co-hosted by ABF, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, PepsiCo, SC Johnson and Unilever.


The next event is scheduled for 1 November in Sao Paolo, Brazil, and will be co-hosted by Britvic, Heineken and Reckitt Benckiser.




12 September 2016

Managing third party risk - New protocol on anti-bribery and corruption

AIM-PROGRESS members can now benefit from a new tool to enable a methodical approach to the management of 3rd party bribery and corruption risks.  This is different from other publicy available white papers in that it is focused on what to do, how to do it, and who should be responsible; it is therefore a practical method that can be followed


The work, which AIM-PROGRESS carried out with the company Consulting Ethic, was based on an in-depth survey of the membership to understand better FMCG companies' requirements in this area. The deliverable consists of a protocol and a supporting guidance paper on how to use the protocol.


The plan going forward is to assess the possibility of running a pilot to understand and report on the use of the protocol in real life and to provide an opportunity for refinements and additions. 


AIM-PROGRESS members can access the protocol and guidance document on the member zone of our website










26 July 2016

18,000 audited supplier sites available for mutual recognition

One of the main drivers for setting up AIM-PROGRESS was to enable mutual recognition of ethical audits with the objective of reducing audit costs and fatigue. A simple spreadsheet through which member companies share supplier sites they have audited over the last three years - duly anonomysed by the Secretariat - provides a central resource for participants to check whether a supplier they wish to audit has already undergone an assessment by another company, and which they might be ready to recognise. We are pleased to report that the latest list contains over 18,000 supplier sites which are available for mutual recognition of audits.

Of course, mutual recognition can only work if audits are based on equivalent audit protocols - the AIM-PROGRESS benchmark is the SMETA 4 pillar audit. Given the increasing member expectations for ethical audits AIM-PROGRESS is actively contributing to an enhancement of SMETA to include more checkpoints, such as land rights, migrant labor, human trafficking, increased environmental and business integrity expecations. The updated SMETA protocol is expected for the end of 2016.

To learn more about how AIM-PROGRESS enables mutual recognition you can go to the relevant page on our website.






06 July 2016

Latest AIM-PROGRESS survey on Responsible Sourcing in FMCG

AIM-PROGRESS members continue to demonstrate progress on responsible sourcing reveals the latest responsible sourcing survey by the initiative, now in its 5th edition. 27% of partlcipating companies report their programmes are ‘Mature’ or ‘Advanced’ in 2015, an 11% increase over 2014. To support this progress, members are resourcing programmes with increasing budgets and more employees, and report more senior-level oversight than in previous years. Most members have commitments or targets, and track input metrics such as the number of supplier assessments completed. More mature members also track impact KPIs.


In 2015, AIM-PROGRESS members were doing more to integrate responsible sourcing (RS) expectations into procurement processes: the number of members that have RS expectations as part of supplier authorization has increased by 16% to 32 companies. More mature programs are more likely to integrate RS expectations into buyer or supplier incentives.


Companies are conducting more supplier ethical audits and report higher rates of effective remediation in 2015. Over 17,700 audits were conducted in 2015, an increase of 26% compared to 2014. Members plan to conduct more audits in 2016. More suppliers required corrective action in 2015 as compared to the previous two years, but closure rates are higher in 2015, with 86% of suppliers closing their corrective action plans by the end of the year. Over 350,000 workers were impacted by corrective actions implemented in the workplace, which is slightly less than in the previous year, but may be due to a different reporting base .

Responsible sourcing continues to be strongly influenced by the international Human Rights agenda. 76% of members indicated that they are currently implementing or planning to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, a 10% increase over 2014. In addition to the influence of new regulations, such as the UK Modern Slavery Act, companies highlight forced labor and human trafficking as emerging areas of concern in their supply chains. About half of members integrate human trafficking content in codes of conduct and offer suppliers access to a grievance mechanism.
Members continue to derive value from AIM-PROGRESS membership, and programme maturity correlates with the number of years a company has been a member of AIM-PROGRESS. Members cite opportunities to share best practices, benchmark against peers, gain external credibility, and access the mutual recognition programme as the most valuable aspects of AIM-PROGRESS.
On the downside, challenges remain for supply chain capability building - a key to increasing maturity on RS - with companies still concentrating on internal training, rather than on supplier education. Also, more engagement is necessary to drive the human rights agenda, in particular the fight against human trafficking and supplier access to grievance mechanisms. Impact KPIs should be established not only by more mature companies but by all AIM-PROGRESS members. AIM-PROGRESS is conducting a project to equip members with the necessary methodology and tools.
An executive summary of the survey findings is available to interested readers.






01 July 2016




The new APSCA (Association of Professional Social Compliance Auditors) Executive Director has been appointed. We are pleased to report that longstanding AIM-PROGRESS member Rona Starr, formerly with McDonald's will officially take the position on August 1st 2016. 



APSCA is an initiative launched in 2015 to enhance the professionalism and credibility of the individuals and organisations performing independent social compliance audits. “The Association is aiming to bring a vital level of quality and credibility to the industry and this is the right time to drive this agenda forward." says Starr. 


We are happy to see Rona in such an important role for our industry and looking forward to working closely in the future.


To read the detailed announcement, please click here.

To read the full press release, please click here.






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