by Diana d’Ambra
To start, I wish to deeply thank those who both nominated and elected me as President of the Global Sourcing Council. It is truly an honor.
As you can see, we have a new design for our website as well as some new columns and features. May I draw your attention to “Ask the Expert” feature? Now our readers can ask experts in their field questions about responsible and sustainable sourcing. Todd Yaney, Manager, Supply Chain Sustainability, Chrysler Group LLC at Chrysler and a board member started off this exciting feature. This month we also have particularly interesting and timely articles, one on Conflict Minerals, namely how the legislation to report on their use will work and another on Social Investments and Its Trends.
Readers interested in sustainable sourcing as both a field and a necessity, how do we engage the interest of the public on these issues? The publicity surrounding conflict minerals definitely was a contributing factor leading to the legislation. But what else can we do and what else has worked?
Here I’d like to share some observations and ideas with you. Sometimes technology, especially those involving pictures, stationary or moving, creates its own reality and change in perception. The reality depicted by technology always can be questioned, for example, the 1963 Zapruder 8MM film of the Kennedy assassination is still being debated while the jury’s interpretation of the 1991 Rodney King video lead to both the acquittal of the police officers and to the riots the next year. But the technology, from film in 1963 to video in 1991, keeps improving, becoming more cost effective and more widely available. Recently, I was watching the first appearance of Pope Francis on the balcony of Saint Peter’s Basilica on television but at a distance. I was stunned by the nearly everyone in the audience seeming to be holding and waving something. I was trying to think of the religious significance when I realized that people were holding their phones, IPads as well as a few camcorders and even old fashioned cameras. Thousands of people were recording this event, each able to create his or her own personal memories that now could be shared not only with friends but online with millions of people. Where 100 years ago, perhaps a few photographs would have been taken in a studio, now thousands of people are recording this event.
How does this relate to sourcing? Videos are inexpensive and powerful. As part of the application submission to the 3S Awards, the Global Sourcing Council requests videos. When Jacob Riis photographed the slums of New York City, he was able to share the reality of what words and even sketches could not portray adequately, namely the misery and squalor of the slums of New York.
Now, Smartphones or at least phones smart enough to have camcorders embedded are ubiquitous. Everyone can not only take videos of the Pope, but the substandard conditions in a factory, the dirty water or the war and results of buying conflict diamonds. And this is fostering greater awareness of the issues related to sustainable sourcing. A person looking an IPhone no longer will just see the phone, but the factory in China that produces the phone. Inexpensive clothing at major stores now has a linkage to the factory fires in Bangladesh and the horrific photos.
As we understanding of the interconnectedness of the supply chain and the consumer, one major result is an increased ability to link and see what beforehand was abstract or theoretical, the human and business side of sustainable and reliable sourcing.
[author image=”http://gscouncil.org/main/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Diana-dAmbra.png” ]The newsletter editor is Diana d’Ambra, President of the Global Sourcing Council. She is consultant at Cortelyou Consulting. She may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org[/author]