The state of responsible sourcing among AIM-PROGRESS members – Annual benchmarking survey results 2018 (Data 2017)

There has been a steady evolution of members’ responsible sourcing capabilities over the years, and the 2018 report (data 2017) shows again that AIM-PROGRESS membership is progressing, even if at a lower rate than previously: 66% of members cited at least one area of updates to their program, and the data show more suppliers are being audited, assessed by third-parties, or undertaking self-assessments. In 2017, 64% of in-scope suppliers were assessed by one or more of these approaches compared to 51% in 2016 and 33% in 2015. More companies are also auditing tier 2 suppliers, with 13 members conducting 303 audits in 2017—a significant increase compared to the 9 companies who conducted 112 audits of second-tier suppliers in 2016.

Over a five-year period, the number of audits mutually recognized has increased to comprise about 12% of the total number of audits reported by members in 2017; this represents approximately US$2.3 million in collective savings, assuming a conservative audit cost of US$2,500.

More members are actively working to implement international frameworks in 2017, including human rights regulations (92%), the Sustainable Development Goals (56%), and the Paris Agreement (53%). Members have been actively working on forced labor and human trafficking throughout 2017, and currently only 6% of members lack an approach to address forced labor and human trafficking.

Member progress is supported in part through senior-level oversight as one-third of members report that the highest level of oversight for their programs is an individual within one level of the CEO or is the CEO. Furthermore, 90% of member budgets either stayed the same or increased from 2016 to 2017. The majority of these budgets is spent on headcount and companies reported a 22% increase in FTEs, while the count of part-time employees has decreased.

Members continue to derive value from AIM-PROGRESS membership, and most members cited mutual recognition of audits as AIM-PROGRESS’ biggest achievement of the last ten years. Other key achievements centered around the sharing of ideas, experience and best practice and the supplier capability building program. In the future, members would like to see human rights topics integrated in the supply chain and Responsible Sourcing Journey. They wish to continue to learn from best practice sharing in areas like beyond compliance and see greater collaboration between members and with other sustainability organizations.

Excerpt from our Annual Benchmarking survey report 2017.