From the President

By Diana d’Ambra

As we celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream speech”, many commentators have stepped back and observed how far we have come as well as how far we have to go.  But I would like to focus on how a society changes.  How do we change our values?  How do we change what is important or acceptable?  Fifty years ago, it was acceptable to not serve Blacks in a restaurant. Or refer to Blacks by a commonly used derogatory word that can no longer be written or spoken in public, now referred to as the “n” word.   How did that change occur?

Another example here is smoking.  Twenty years ago, people smoked at their office desks.  Now they are barely permitted to smoke outside the office building.  The number of smokers has decreased dramatically over time.  The social acceptability of smoking has waned.  Many personal ads specify “no smokers” in a way that other traits would not be so distinctly omitted.   This change did not occur overnight, nor was it linear, but it did occur and change the way we think about smoking.

Some of the change reflects new laws, but legality is often a laggard in social movements, catching up with the movement, not leading it although both bounce off of each other.  The media reports on it and with the rise of the Internet, IM’ing, Facebook and social media in general, this is an increasingly important factor.

So, how do we as a society or as a person determine whether it is acceptable to us to buy, especially as consumers?

The news has been abuzz with all aspects of sustainable and responsible sourcing, although sometimes not broached as such.  But it is having an impact on how people think about buying and sourcing.

The fallout from the Bangladeshi factory fire continues although at a slower cadence.  The ability of Bangladesh to respond effectively through legislation as well as the concurrent cultural and financial change is still being followed and reported on.  There is increased emphasis and push for sustainable sourcing, which not only may improve firm’s bottom lines but provide a market differentiator to consumers increasingly aware of the power of their purchase.  And as the media more consistently reports on sustainability and sourcing issues, reputation is of importance too.

Recently, the role of corporate responsibility towards the environment has expanded to not just safe working conditions but fair and equitable pay..  Note, this is not necessarily “legal” boundaries but ethical and moral ones.  Just in the past few weeks, in the United States, hundreds of fast food workers across the country are walking off their jobs to demand higher wages.

But the complexity of these issues as well as their interaction can hardly be understated.  A firm can have a stellar record or reputation in one field, such as sustainable supply chain sourcing, while it is under pressure for hiring at and paying lower, but legally permitted wages.

As we as a society gathers more information and change our behavior accordingly, what will we purchase?  What will be acceptable?  How will we judge it?  What will we be willing to pay for it?  What is our personal and moral judgment?

Diana d’Ambra, President of the Global Sourcing Council, is a consultant at Cortelyou Consulting. She may be contacted at

Global Sourcing Council (GSC) and 3S Awards 2013 Partner with Chrysler Group LLC to Deliver Sustainability & CSR Training

Global Sourcing Council (GSC) and 3S Awards 2013 Partner with Chrysler Group LLC to Deliver Sustainability & CSR Training

3S Awards 2013 – Sustainable & Socially Responsible Sourcing Awards –

NEW YORK, N.Y. (June 28, 2013) – The Global Sourcing Council (GSC) is pleased to announce a partnership with Chrysler Group LLC to collaborate on the organization and execution of the 3S Awards Boot Campin sustainable business practices. This training program is designed for the winners of the 2013 GSC 3S Awards in Sustainable & Socially Responsible Sourcing. (

The training will be conducted at the Chrysler Group World Headquarters and Technology Center in Auburn Hills, Mich. from Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013 through Thursday, Oct. 31, 2013. Its purpose is to train businesses and organizations in best sustainable and socially responsible practices in supply chain management and general business management.

Said Wanda Lopuch, Ph.D., the Chair of the Global Sourcing Council: “Global Citizenship is moving from a side-line of a narrow csr-silo approach, to a main-line of strategy and cross-functional operations in global enterprises. The Global Sourcing Council is delighted to team up with Chrysler Group for its thought-leadership and targeted effort to support initiatives which bring society and environment in the successful global business equation.”

The 3S Awards Boot Camp’s goal is to equip the most ambitious and most forward-looking teams in hands-on skills and networking opportunities, which will enable them to take the winning programs to the next level and scale-up their impact in enterprises and local communities. The GSC is very grateful for Chrysler partnership in this effort to build a global 3S community.

“We are pleased to be working with the Global Sourcing Council to offer this important training to the winners of the 3S Awards,” said Todd Yaney, Manager of Supply Chain Sustainability – Chrysler Group. “It is essential to not only recognize efforts and achievements in corporate responsibility among these organizations, but also to help them progress to the next step by teaching valuable skills to increase their impact in the communities where they do business.”

The winners of the GSC 3S Awards program are organizations and businesses of all sizes that go out of their way to assure that their supply chains are sustainable and their business practices are socially responsible. The GSC 3S Awards 2013 is an awards program that highlights socially conscious sourcing professionals and advocates who can see the difference between doing business and creating business– sustainable business supporting local economies and empowering local communities in various ways. GSC 3S Awards bring to the forefront individuals, start-ups, and companies (e.g. suppliers, buyers and advisory organizations) that have worked to innovate, implement and improve communities through Sustainable and Socially Responsible Sourcing practices. The program features five categories:
➢ Community Engagement Award
➢ Employee Engagement Award
➢ Empowered Woman Award
➢ Out-of-the-Box Award
➢ People’s Choice Award (based on online voting)

3S Nominees for 2013 3S Awards

First Peek at the 3S Nominees 2013!

From five continents, companies and organizations of all sizes are applying for participation in the 3S Awards 2013 program – So far nine were officially nominated and will face off in this year’s challenge to be named the best example of Sustainable & Socially Responsible Sourcing. Steal the first peak at our first nominees this year.

Remember to save the date for the awards gala, during which this year’s winners will be announced:

Oct. 28, 2013

5–9:30pm EDT

New York, N.Y.


Community Engagement Category:

BudgIT –

BudgIT as an idea was both conceptualized and hacked at the Tech-In-Governance, a 48 hour gathering organized by Co-Creation Hub in February 2011. BudgIT as a tool aims to redefine participatory governance.  Many Nigerians, with little or no knowledge of accounting and public financial management, are lost when they see – if they ever get the chance to – the budgets of the different arms of government. BudgIT’s innovation is to show this governmental data creatively by either presenting them in simple tweets, interactive format or Info-graphic displays. We believe that in a democracy, every citizen has the right to know how his or her taxes are expended in the delivery of public infrastructure and services. BudgIT offers mobile and online solution to trigger discussions around the budget and take the budget beyond a news item to a focal point of debate among Nigerians.








X-Runner –

One billion people worldwide live in slums, most without access to sewage systems or improved sanitation. x-runner’s mission is to bring reliable and responsible sanitation to urban households that do not have a toilet. We improve their daily lives and create a cleaner, healthier environment for the entire family.

Read the brochure:






Puo and Tillys Dream –

Tumo Mothudi’s farm is located 15km from the capital city of Gaborone, Botswana  It is a greenhouse project that produces fresh tomatoes. The farm sells the produce to supermarkets and restaurants.

Tumo is currently trying to incorporate the business and change it to a 501 c 3 non profit organization and start workshops aimed at empowering the youth of the country along with empowering the entrepreneurial spirit in the younger generation of the country. The workshops will be focused around sustainable farming, accountability, healthy living, entrepreneurship and empowerment. This will enable schools to come to the farm to learn about the history and the importance of farming within Botswana and equally allow them to engage with the day to day activities and running of the farm. Agro tourism will also be introduced within the structure. Tumo also wants to introduce leadership programs which will be added to the schools curriculum. 








Boond –

The Boond mission is to solve some of the biggest global challenges – adequate lighting, access to clean drinking water and pest control affecting the remote areas of the world – through its innovative environment friendly products and sustainable business oriented approach.

The Boond team is highly motivated and well trained by SELCO and IIM-Ahmedabad Center for Innovation Incubation and Entrepreneurship and comprises mostly of local resources.






Avasant – Empowering global communities via Impact Sourcing

Avasant is a global management consulting firm providing services in the areas of Sourcing Advisory, ICT Optimization, and Globalization Advisory. The company provides services in the areas of Strategic Sourcing, Technology Optimization, and Globalization Consulting. One of the company’s goals is empowering the citizens of developing nations by facilitating business development and local job creation.



Employee Engagement Category:


Vindhya e-Infomedia  –  A BPO by Differently Abled

Our Video shows how an organization which employs only person with disabilities looks and functions as normal as any other organization which is into similar business. So it helps in removing the bias that most people have about the abilities that a Person with disability. 


 McGraw Hill – Corporate social responsibility in practice

Over the past several years, McGraw-Hill Companies has tackled the challenge of retaining low costs while introducing sustainable and socially responsible practices in its global supply chain. The company achieved its goals through innovation and developing its strategy for sustainability and ethical practices with patience, research and multiple consultations. One example of the company’s sustainable innovation is the launch of Staples New Online Catalog of Eco-conscious Products, a new corporate strategy to drive sustainability innovation in product manufacturing, packaging and distribution in 2010.



Empowered Woman Category:


Glocal Connection – Teaching Guatemalan women how to be entrepreneurial

Global Connection is a business platform positioning luxury products made with traditional art forms by companies owned by people from local communities. The company designs innovative supply chain solutions for each business unit, which enables them to offer competitive prices without sacrificing sustainability.


 Source FK

SourceFK, an innovative business with a social mission, aims to end systemic poverty by partnering with Asian women artisans and connecting them to global markets and training. Debuting in January 2012 as a line of exclusive, global-chic, and completely hand-crafted women’s clothing, sourceFK epitomizes true South Asian artisanship combined with timeless style. Our collection is for the discerning customer who recognizes quality and is inspired by the soul behind the work.

Built on the core value of “sourcing for good”, sourceFK collaborates with artisans in Bangladesh to create economic opportunities, improve livelihoods and revive hand-woven craft traditions that are at risk of dying out. Hand weaving is the oldest continuous art form in Bangladesh and for thousands of artisans across the country, this represents their only means of livelihood. The rapid spread of technology and industrialization, however, threatens to make the hand weaving industry obsolete. By linking skilled artisans with new markets, sourceFK helps sustain the traditions of these remarkable craftspeople and generates lasting employment for their communities.



In Defense of Non-Engagement

“Young employees do not care about business these days,” said a panelist at a business luncheon I recently attended. “They only care about their free time, their vacation, and their friends. They are not engaged in business. They are only engaged with online chit-chat.”

I knew I needed to respond, but I needed to get my facts straight first.   I disengaged for a while from the discussion and texted my friend, “Wow, I need data.”

According to the 2009 -2010 Gallup’ State of Global Workplace Study (2010) conducted among 47,000 employees in 120 countries, almost three quarters of global workers are not engaged and 11% of them are actively disengaged.  Gallup determines engagement by series of questions aimed at understanding how employees relate to their workplaces.  Even though there are regional differences, the results reveal the pattern of engagement, or perhaps lack of engagement, employees well being and outcomes of economic activities that holds across geographies.  Why should we care about those who do not show passion for business? Because in the limited pool of global talent, engagement predicts productivity, growth, development, creativity; engaged employees predict success for the business.

Does that panelist have a point about disengagement?

Let’s dig a bit deeper. When it comes to decoding demographics, the subsequent 2011 Gallop survey data offer some insight.

As perhaps expected:

  • Less education is correlated with less engagement
  • Females tend to be more engaged then males (33%/27%)

What is less expected when it comes to engagement is:

  • Analyses by income show no straightforward correlation: both low-earners,  among them young, starting employees,  and high earners are more engaged than their middle-earners counterparts;
  • Analyses by age reveal another non-linear relationship. The most engaged employees are those over 65 years old at 44% followed by the youngest employees, 18-29 years old at 32%. The youngest employees are actually more engaged then their mid-career colleagues.

In response to the panelist, I submit that there is far more than simply the age of employees that determines engagement in business. Younger employees can be and are more passionate in business then their more experienced colleagues. They may express their views in less traditional ways, but they can be far more avid supporters of what matters to them.

A lot matters to these young workers, but perhaps not in a traditional worldview.  Companies as Toyota or Starbucks have figured out what excites young employees, what releases passion and commitment.  And such companies thrive on this energy. These companies grow faster than their counterparts, actually four times faster as well documented by Earning-per-Share analysis of Gallop Global Workplace study.

Among values that matter to employees all around the world are respect, significance of work and dignity. Although results of the Gallop Global Workplace differ somewhat geographically, the trends are the same for developing and developed counties.  The quality of the workplace is often more important than company policies.  A quest for dignity, respect and hope universally define engaged employees.

And yes, young employees care about the big 3S values: about Sustainability, Social Responsibility, Ethical Sourcing.  Business acknowledges that by offering young consumers more 3S-frandly brands such as sustainable fair-trade coffee to electronic gadgets manufactured according to fair-labor practices to environmentally friendly cars.  Academia acknowledges the 3S values: t oday just about every business school has a sustainability program.

Triple bottom line is not any more a synonym of “cooking the books”.  Sustainability classes are being introduced into curricula of engineering, fashion design, construction, liberal arts and just about any field of academic or vocational studies.  Employers, looking for talent and energy, create for young employees working environment that underscores meaning of work, positive impact on person’s well being, on environment and community.

But – watch out, young, sometimes naïve employees, value not the business slogans in the company policy statements, but the actual work experience that reflects these values:  meaningful tasks, authentic concern for the environment, and honesty in dealing with people.   They evaluate daily the real impact of their job on their personal development and on contributions to their communities. As much as pay matters for young employees, their decisions are driven by factors beyond weekly paychecks.  And yes, they disengage at an empty policy statements level.

If we can learn to look past the myth of disengaged young employees, we’ll see the extent of their passions. We’ll be surprised by the strength of the messages in their texts and tweets. Perhaps this generation only appears to be disengaged from the system because the system wants to confine them into rigid structures and behaviors that they do not accept.

There is a wealth of talent and creativity that is waiting to be released from today’s so-called disengaged young employees. There is an abundance of energy that waits to be properly channeled. As this young cadre is assuming management posts in global corporations, they are forcing these corporations to reflect upon how their corporations can make the world a better place.  This slogan has a real meaning for young employees, more so then to those, more experienced, those who have been changed by the system.

We do not want these young people to be changed by the system.  We want them to change the system. Young professionals are just doing that, and we should celebrate their progress.

From the President May 2013

Diana d'Ambra, President of the Global Sourcing Council

Diana d’Ambra, President of the Global Sourcing Council

Last month I this column I wrote about technology creating its own reality and change in perception. And one of the examples I cited is the linkage between inexpensive clothing at major stores and chains linking to factory fires in Bangladesh and accompanying horrific photos.

As we all know, in the time in-between publication and this article, we have had yet another factory fire in Bangladesh. This fire with 1,127 victims is the worst industrial accident since Bhopal. The pictures of this horror jumpstarted a conversation about supply chain, albeit it may not have been labeled as such in the media. But how we buy clothing the advent of “fast clothing”, a view towards building codes, minimum wage in Bangladesh and other countries, the signing of firms to the Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, the positions and reasoning of the 14 North American retailors that declined to participate – all these factors were played out day after day. The concepts of sustainability and corporate responsibility were themes throughout these articles and certainly are now on consumer’s radars as they shop and think about where their clothing comes from and how and where it is made. Whether articles in the New York Times or postings on my local town blog site asking how we can buy clothing responsibility.

Turning to this issue, Randy Lewis, who was our keynote speaker at the 3S Awards, and Joe Tillman, talk about Empowering People and Randy’s experience at Walgreen’s. As part of our program to support our 3SAward winners, the University of Tennessee offered winners its course on Vested Outsourcing. A report on the course including an interview with Ajay Chaturvedi, founder of HarVa, offers insight into how vested applies to non-profits, governmental agencies and NGOs as well as for profit businesses. And an article about the 2013 3SAwards continues our mandate to support and sponsor sustainable and responsible sourcing.