Traceability under the microscope at DS Smith

Traceability and transparency were ranked as the highest priority issues by both internal and external stakeholders in last year’s materiality analysis. Trust is earned as a result of our commitment to operating in an ethical manner, and managing sustainability risks in our customers supply chains.

Article 4 of 8, Sustainability Review series:

Consumers increasingly want to know where their products come from, and the companies that manufacture them to be more open about their practises. Many brand-owners are responding to this call to action as retailers include the name of the farmer on their vegetable and meat packaging, high-street coffee shops market the tropical region their beans come from, and new start-ups differentiate on provenance or radical, disruptive transparency.

At DS Smith we call this as ‘traceability and transparency’.

Traceability – the ability to accurately understand our business, our suppliers and our supply chains

Transparency – is about being open and honest with this information

 “The Procurement team are increasingly looking into our upstream supply chains so we can assure our customers that their packaging is sustainably and ethically sourced,” explains Martin Spice, Procurement Director, Head of Raw Materials, “buying from companies with high ethical standards on social and environmental sustainability minimises risk to the entire Group.”

Traceability in our supply chains

Laying the foundations for future work to cascade sustainability standards into the supply chain, DS Smith has updated the Global Supplier Standards (GSS). These state our minimum requirements for quality and sustainability, to be shared with strategic suppliers and those suppliers based in countries with perceived higher risks.

DS Smith has set an initial target of 200 suppliers agreeing to operate in accordance with our minimum standards by summer 2018.

"Within four months, a further 65 of our top suppliers agreed to our new global supplier standard, bringing us to 180 suppliers in total now" says Victoria Awuah, Junior Supplier Performance Manager. "It was not an easy journey, but we have worked hard to get here and pleased that we are quickly progressing towards our target."

Traceability of our fibre

85% Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC®) certification, which is the first step towards full traceability of the fibre supply chain. Read article 2 of 8 on FSC® for more information here.

DS Smith’s circular model provides an outstanding level of transparency for most of the recycled fibre in our paper‑based products. However it is important to track where external suppliers of virgin fibre and speciality papers are sourcing from.

We’re also working with a number of our customers to help them evidence their commitment to having zero net deforestation supply chains, aligned with the Consumer Goods Forum’s Zero Net Deforestation by 2020 resolution.

This is the forth article in an eight-part series where we seek to explore the issues and talk to our people who have been involved in managing the topics highlighted in our Sustainability Review 2017. To see other case studies of the great work happening across the business, as well as information on our current social and environmental performance, please see our Sustainability Review 2017