You may remember a blog I wrote some time ago to highlight the work Forum has been doing with the Shell Foundation. This collaboration is focused on understanding and sharing success lessons from SF’s experience in setting up sustainable business models – or ‘ethical agents’ as SF calls them - that work to transform supply chains for the better.
We are now going live with the outputs of that work! But more importantly, we want to expand the debate around ethical agents as a pathway to more sustainable supply chains.
That doesn’t mean that stuff hasn’t been happening behind the scenes: the ethical agents continue to make enormous headway, proving the success of their models day in and day out. CottonConnect now has an office in China, as well as a new batch of customers who it’s working with to improve cotton supply chains; Haygrove Heaven is kicking off the second round of the Bright Futures programme, with another cohort of workers, having successfully graduated the first round of on-farm entrepreneurs; and The Better Trading Company is working with high-profile brands like Marks & Spencer, Waitrose and Woolworths South Africa, connecting them will small-scale producers and improving livelihoods in African farming communities.
To help articulate some of the success lessons for scaling successful ethical agents, we have put together a brief toolkit, as well as a short film (below). Have a look. Play around. Give us a call! We need collaborators interested in having a conversation, and experimenting with the ethical agent approach.
This work has also been instrumental in Forum’s recent push to explore practical solutions to supply chain problems. Ethical agents are an example of one such solution, but there are no doubt others as well. This is why our September Network Event is going to take the shape of a practical ‘clinic’: we invited our partners to come and hear the likes of Veja, Tata Global Beverages, Shell Foundation and Sainsbury’s talk about their own experience in creating sustainable supply chain practice. We will be sharing the highlights of this event soon so watch this space.