Innovations in Sustainability: EcoVadis & Avery Dennison

Posted: 08/26/2019 - 06:18
Innovations in Sustainability: EcoVadis & Avery Dennison

This October, the Future of Sourcing Awards will celebrate organizations and individuals that have shown innovation, leadership and transformation in categories that are critical to the sourcing industry. Interviews with the finalists provide helpful insight about their projects, the problem they sought to solve and the impact to their organizations. Below, read about how EcoVadis worked with Avery Dennison on an innovative sustainablility project.

Can you outline why your team embarked on this project and the problem that needed to be solved?

Avery Dennison recognizes that its environmental and social impacts extend beyond its own walls. Led by Mitch Butier, President and CEO, Avery Dennison sets high standards and goals for responsible purchasing practices as part of its overall sustainability vision. Its business philosophy originally started with “first, do no harm,” but then quickly evolved to “become a force for good.”
As an industry leader, Avery Dennison has a responsibility to encourage improvement in the social and environmental practices of its supplier partners. This is why it has partnered with EcoVadis to operate a collaborative program to review the sustainability and corporate social responsibility (CSR) performance in its global supply chain. EcoVadis’ platform and services deliver scorecards with quantitative ratings and qualitative details on 21 CSR criteria across four criteria themes: environment, labor and human rights, business ethics and sustainable procurement.

How were things done originally and what was the inspiration to innovate the process?

Avery Dennison did not want to finance irresponsible behavior in its supply base. But without external collaboration, defining and rolling out an advanced sustainable procurement program was challenging. Avery Dennison needed to navigate CSR complexities, review sustainability practices, measure suppliers’ performance and understand its own supply chain impacts holistically.
In 2015, Avery Dennison set eight 2025 sustainability targets, including lowering GHG emissions, achieving 95% landfill-free facilities, and sourcing paper made from fiber certified as sustainable. Accomplishing these goals required engaging closely with suppliers on sustainability/CSR performance, and developing a clear strategy for managing responsible purchasing across a 10K+ supplier network. Avery Dennison partnered with EcoVadis to review sustainable procurement risks, scale transparency and oversight, and increase collaboration on innovation, while also minimizing workload for procurement teams and suppliers (e.g., by reducing survey fatigue and focusing on improvement, instead of reporting).

What KPIs did you use to measure success for this project? (For example: performance, customer satisfaction, revenue, sales or relevant financial gains?)

Avery Dennison uses EcoVadis’s internationally recognized methodology and assessment platform to measure outcomes of program participation, coverage and supplier performance and improvement. The methodology is built on international CSR standards, including the Global Reporting Initiative, the United Nations Global Compact, and ISO 26000. Supplier performance is measured through detailed scorecards that follow its scoring guidelines. Internally within Avery Dennison, supplier performance is tracked monthly through detailed program summaries to keep accountability towards progress and ensure the procurement team can track and review individual suppliers’ results, action plans and improvement paths. The results are also communicated to leadership on a quarterly basis to monitor engagement and progress. 

How you plan to ensure that the new model remains relevant and adapts to the future needs of the market?

The Avery Dennison and EcoVadis core team meet monthly to review progress and adapt to newly arising evolutions and disruptions. A yearly steering committee of senior Avery Dennison and EcoVadis representatives outlines the program strategy, recalibrating it as needed as both organizations evolve, the market expands, and new sustainability/CSR focus areas come to light.
The EcoVadis assessment methodology itself continuously follows the ever-growing and evolving landscape of sustainability-related initiatives and standards. Through EcoVadis tools like 360 watch and annual supplier reassessments, Avery Dennison receives the latest data on its suppliers. As a recent example, as part of Avery Dennison's ambition to track and reduce GHG emissions from the supply chain, EcoVadis has enacted KPIs in the Avery Dennison platform that measures suppliers’ actions to increase renewable energy use, identify science-based reduction targets and measures to control and abate emissions overall.

What advice do you have for those who may want to implement this innovative approach in their own organizations?

Taking a note from what worked well, and lessons learned along the way at Avery Dennison, here is our “Top Five" tip list. You’ll find these points aren’t so different from project management best practices, but each has been critical to paving a pathway to success.
  1. Ensure support from top leadership levels to demonstrate the level of importance of the initiative to your company and drive initial momentum.
  2. Maintain open and ongoing communications to ensure everyone involved understands the importance and the role they play.
  3. Provide ample resources and time for training, questions and rollout as there is a learning curve!
  4. Make the broader organization aware of the initiative as sustainable supply chains impact the entirety of the business. Your marketing, sales and customer service teams will likely field related questions from customers. Plus, being able to discuss sustainability in the value chain is a great message to share.
  5. Set clear and specific goals -- and raise them each year -- to make successes visible to the team.
Finally, be patient as your internal and external stakeholders will likely go through a few growing pains as they adopt a new practice. 

Why do you feel that it is necessary to bring innovation to sustainable sourcing?

Avery Dennison and EcoVadis understand the impact supply chains have on the wider world we live and work in.  In partnership with EcoVadis, Avery Dennison felt it was necessary to set the tone for the value of sustainability performance across the supply chain and streamline silos across purchasing departments. Sustainability is an increasingly important consideration; as a raw materials supplier, Avery Dennison is also required by some of its largest customers and brand owners to improve on its performance through corrective action. This requires collaboration not just from the sustainability department, but from members across the organization. Leveraging EcoVadis’s platform was an important component for Avery Dennison to collaborate with -- and select -- responsible supplier partners, but also to support the company on its own sustainability journey. Through innovative use of this technology, Avery Dennison was able to make a step change from reactive sustainability risk player to strategic value driver. 



About The Author

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The 2023 Future of Sourcing Awards recognizes organizations and individuals that show innovation, leadership and transformation in categories that are critical to the sourcing industry. The Awards will take place on October 18, 2023, the capstone evening at the SIG Global Executive Summit. Attendees will enjoy dinner, networking and an awards ceremony that brings together some of the brightest minds to create a truly remarkable experience.