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Sustainability education for supply chain industry

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Hayley Jarick, CEO at the Supply Chain Sustainability School, talks about its work informing the industry on sustainability practices through partnerships with organisations like ASCI.

Hayley Jarick, CEO at Supply Chain Sustainability School, says that the top two areas where Australia can up its game in supply chain sustainability are climate change and circular economy.

“In the absence of strong national government leadership on climate change in Australia, I think companies have already started to set climate-based targets and look for ways to reduce emissions,” Hayley says. “And it’s not just a matter of philanthropic enterprise or corporate social signalling. Businesses understand there are real market drivers at work, and if they don’t change and adapt to a real-world problem, the world is going to change around them.”

Hayley says that businesses must engage in sustainable practices to preserve the sustainability of their long-term business operations.. And if setting those targets and agendas are the first area for improvement, the second is closely related. 

“I think there is a push towards returning to a circular economy,” she says. “In a way, it’s common-sense economics – don’t waste assets and see where unwanted assets can be onsold or recycled. Instead of only sourcing virgin raw material supplies, businesses should continue to explore ways to source recycled supplies. There is a clear financial opportunity for companies to onsell their unwanted resources to progressive organisations to use, preventing them from becoming waste.”

Hayley says the Supply Chain Sustainability School works for people in supply chains in Australia and New Zealand. Supported by organisational Fellows, the School researches in collaboration with industry to produce information and accessible educational materials – free for all – that enable better business practices and sustainable solutions towards social, environmental, and economic outcomes.

“We’ve got over 600 resources available to educate yourself and your business,” Hayley says. “The way we can offer this for free is that we have a membership model whereby our Fellows step up to pay annual fees to keep it going. Then, they collaborate with us to create resources that are industry-relevant. That means we stay relevant because it’s people from the industry asking for resources to be created.”

While the resources are free for all, she says that the School always welcomes more Fellows and Members, because there might be topics of importance that new perspectives can bring to the table and help educate the industry.

“And by having a single point of information, with educational experiences tailored to different learning stages and styles, it means organisations have to do less of the uphill work in educating industry themselves,” Hayley says. “And because we focus on topics that are in the best interests of industry – eliminating modern slavery from our supply chains, for example – our Fellows and Members want to contribute to an ecosystem that raises awareness. You don’t want potential supply chain partners not living up to best practice standards because, through the chain of responsibility, that can negatively affect your business.”

The Supply Chain Sustainability School has benefited from ASCI’s exposure, networks, and advocacy. 

“To take just one example, throughout COVID ASCI has done a great job boosting the profile of procurement as a viable profession,” she says. “ASCI’s accreditation programs are industry treasures, and by boosting the profile of procurement professionals, they’ve shone a light on an unjustly underpromoted yet essential  profession for sustainability.

“There are immense sustainability opportunities in procurement, from procurement with a circular-economy mindset through to social procurement – integrating a diverse range of suppliers into networks such as innovative eco-friendly businesses, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses, women-owned businesses and social enterprises.

“We’ve been proud to work with ASCI because ASCI’s work complements and amplifies our own.”

For more information on the Supply Chain Sustainability School, click here

For more information on ASCI, click here

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