Sustainable Food Trade Association
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Many thanks and congratulations to the 18 members of our supply chain working group who met six times between Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 to develop our Supply Chain Sustainability Questionnaire! In conjunction with the SFTA Code of Conduct, SFTA members now have additional resources that can be used to leverage their supply chains to multiple sustainability impacts globally.

The working group was led throughout the process by its chair Eckhart Kiesel, Vice President of Sustainability and Business Management for Ciranda, Inc.

After initial discussion, the group decided that its mission was to “Develop a simplified SFTA audit form / questionnaire for suppliers in the developing world with an added emphasis on fair trade/ farmer and labor policies.” The final questionnaire provides a tool that SFTA members can use to begin to assess the sustainability culture and efforts in their supply chain around the world.

It is organized into SFTA’s 11 Action Areas; members are free to select the questions they’d most like to ask of their suppliers—whether it’s just one Action Area (i.e. Waste Reduction), or a few questions in each section. With the understanding that the formalization of sustainability programs is still generally uncommon in both developed and undeveloped markets, the questionnaire contains questions that begins a discussion around sustainability. It asks about sustainability practices and education initiatives, and in some cases, does ask about particular metrics to which the company (or your contact) may have easy access.

An introductory letter was also developed and approved by the group, which can be used to explain efforts and intentions to the supply chain. In the next year, the Supply Chain Working Group plans to convene again, to discuss the initial successes and/or best practices that have resulted from its use. The group plans to develop another questionnaire in the future, which asks more specific questions around metrics and practices. The intention is that once a discussion and relationship around sustainability has been established (via a Code of Conduct and the Questionnaire), members can use this new document to begin collecting more specific metric information for their own reporting.

Thanks again to the group for their efforts, and a special THANK YOU to sponsor Wholesum Harvest and Hannah LaLuzerne, Wholesum’s Sustainability Manager, who translated this questionnaire, its introduction letter, AND the Code of Conduct to Spanish.

These documents can be found in the Member Center.

Want to join this group for updates and discussion? Contact lisa@sustainablefoodtrade.org.