Leading fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies across Africa yesterday forged a common front to promote and enable adoption of responsible sourcing standards and sustainable production systems.
The forum revealed that manufacturing companies have always focused on the financial gains as opposed to compliance with best practices and business ethics. This the forum attributed to poor leadership and evaluation strategies that have negatively impacted on the industry. Companies are now called upon to ensure they comply with standards and stick to business ethics.
Speaking during the event held at the Coca cola regional offices,, Nestle Equatorial Africa regional head, Pierre Troilhalt and the East African Breweries Limited MD, Seni Adetu said businesses should not only focus on financial gains but they should also brace to maintain their image through compliance with the global standards and ethics of doing business.
“Compliance is not negotiable, Compliance and ethics form an integral part of any business wishing to be benchmarked on global standards. Corporate operations should not lay much focus on financial gain, ethics and standards are there to be met,we want to protect our brand to make it trusted by our customers” they said.
Adetu added that self assessment for companies in areas like business conduct, child labour among others will be dealt with easily if manufacturing companies will comply with Sedex standards. Sedex is a non-profit membership organisation dedicated to driving improvements in responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains. It offers an innovative and effective supply chain management solution, helping in risk reduction, protecting company’s reputation and improving supply chain practices.
Bevarage company, Coca Cola President for East and Central Africa, Nathan Kalumbu said the forum will contribute to the establishment of sustainable companies through ethical responsibility and demonstration of true leadership accountability.
“We want to see companies that will last for long and by so doing, these companies need to uphold purchasing policies and good ethical practices, As a global entity what we do, not only reflect highly on our ethical responsibility throughout our systems and processes but also demonstrate true leadership qualities in the business world.”said Kalumbu.
He added: “As we seek to drive a sustainable business, we cannot underestimate the importance of responsible sourcing in every market in which we operate. And while we are making individual progress as an organization, we recognize that partnerships are the only way to drive scale and impact throughout our supply chain.”
Damaris Kimilu, a representative of Kenya Association of Manufacturers (KAM) said that despite Kenya signing the Global Compact in 2007, issues of child labour and discrimination are still rampant among indigenous companies. She urged such companies to put the issues on focus to align themselves with the multinational companies that have addressed the issues through adoption of global standards.
“Sustainability is about growth and innovation in the future, it will be the only way to do business. This represents a fundamental shift since their 2007 survey when sustainability was ‘just emerging on the periphery of business issues. Indigenous companies need to sign a deal with the global compact to be able to deal with the issues, they should also emulate the multinational companies,” said Kimilu.
According to Kalumbu, More than 10,000 audits have been conducted globally, covering more than 2 million workers. Over 150 cases of malpractices, such as discrimination, forced labor, child labor and hazardous waste dumping have been identified and corrected. Nearly 50,000 violations of applicable law identified and targeted for correction and Resulting productivity savings of Sh10billion ($100 million)
The suppliers forum dubbed, AIM-PROGRESS saw an association of 24 FMCG companies including Coca cola central, East and west, East African Breweries Limited, Nestle, Diageo among others converge to discuss the importance of responsible sourcing, share best practices and agree on a common evaluation strategy to improve performance in the manufacturing industry.
Last year AIM-Progress members organised a joint supplier seminars on responsible sourcing reaching more than 1,000 suppliers and 2,000 participants.