Capability Building – Regional focus and furthering knowledge through supplier events and the supplier business toolkit

AIM-PROGRESS Regional hubs

Our AIM-PROGRESS Asia-Pacific hub was set up last year to provide our regional colleagues with a network to address responsible sourcing issues particular to the Asia-Pacific region. We have contracted ELEVATE to manage it as an independent third party. So far, the hub has held three physical meetings and agreed on the following areas of focus: responsible recruitment, collaboration on commodities of common interest and local supplier knowledge/capability building.

There are discussions ongoing with Partner Africa and interested member companies to investigate the opportunity for setting up a regional hub in Africa.


AIM-PROGRESS supplier events

Furthering knowledge of responsible sourcing among our common supplier base through learning events continues to be focal activity of AIM-PROGRESS. On 19 September 2018 AIM-PROGRESS convened a supplier forum in Shanghai, co-sponsored by five of our members: AB-Inbev, McDonalds, Nestlé, RB and Unilever; the event was attended by over 280 supplier representatives. The programme covered brands’ responsible sourcing expectations, an overview of the China legislative context, a focus on anti-bribery & corruption, and featured workshops on key labour challenges such as health and safety, contract labour management, working hours and social security.  

The morning plenary kicked off with an overview of AIM-PROGRESS member responsible sourcing programs, followed by a special session on corruption as a global issue, and an obstacle to economic and social development around the world. The session also explained relevant Chinese legislation environmental protection, compared it to the global context, highlighted enforcement trends and the need for collaboration and collective action.

Deep-dive interactive workshops were organised in the afternoon, covering health and safety practices within manufacturing facilities, contract labour management, working hours and social security. These workshops were designed to help factories identify steps to ensure the rights of contract workers and to proactively monitor and control working hours. The intent is to create a culture shift from overtime being ‘normal’ to overtime being an exception.

Feedback was positive, with suppliers expressing satisfaction at learning from a collective of brands about expectations. Presentations from the supplier event can be accessed here.

AIM-PROGRESS will continue to organise supplier events in geographies where there is joint interest from our member companies. We have now contracted ELEVATE to help us organise three primary supplier events each year – covering Brazil, China and India. In addition, AIM-PROGRESS will also organise supplier events in other regions where there is sufficient member interest.


AIM-PROGRESS business toolkit for suppliers

A further tool to encourage suppliers to incorporate responsible sourcing requirements into their day-to-day business is the AIM-PROGRESS business toolkit for suppliers. The guide explains in simple terms how good management practices, which our members require through their responsible sourcing policies, are an essential part of ensuring a sustainable and resilient business model. This publication was put together by Partner Africa, in collaboration with AB-Inbev, Diageo and The Coca-Cola Company, on behalf of AIM-PROGRESS.

The toolkit provides practical assistance on how to improve Productivity, Quality and Workforce Management – areas which are inextricably linked. People are a core and valuable asset for every business and in order to have an efficient, productive business, employees need to work in good conditions. Good working conditions go hand in hand with productivity, quality and efficiency as essential elements of building a sustainable and resilient business. The toolkit will enable them to understand each issue and why it matters for your and their business, what is required, what that means in practice, and will also enable suppliers to assess their current situation and provide them with practical tools to make the necessary improvements.

The toolkit is focused on production suppliers of all sizes and locations. Although it will be particularly useful for manufacturing sites, the principles within it may be applicable to other non-manufacturing businesses.

Each chapter is available as a separate document with a brief introduction and endnotes and an action plan (so that the chapters can be communicated separately on a single issue to a supplier struggling with a particular topic). It is also available in Mandarin, Spanish and Portuguese via our AIM-PROGRESS website.