By: AMC He QianJun
“Why CSR is Good for me?” – a question often asked by factories but not fully answered by brands and buyers.
Let’s review some textbook answers first:
- Money talk: so your factory is eligible to supply for international brands – a door to the global market.
- Risk management: so your factory has a functioning system to avoid accidents and other safety issues.
- Sustainability: so your factory can shift focus from fire-fighting to real development of people and business.
These are all legitimate answers and factories do indeed benefit as such so long as they are not doing CSR for the benefit of audits. The trick is instead of putting CSR and audit at the two ends of an equation, try replacing audit with factory policy. Then all of a sudden CSR standard becomes the policy to govern your factory. You’re no longer the follower of standard but rather the owner of it.
It may sound like toying with words to fool oneself. But come to think about it, are you so confident at the soundness of your factory’s policy that it can beat a well-defined management guideline which has evolved from the collective wisdom of the academic deep thinkers and the experienced business executives since the 1960s? If your answer is “no”, then congratulations are due and let’s initiate a dialogue to embed CSR to your factory policy and management system. (hyperlink to relevant offerings)
So far, we’ve established a new thinking to help factories buy-into the CSR value proposition. But since the world is full of cynics and nowhere else can one find more other than in factories, it’s OK that you regard all above as cliché, which brings us to the 10 million dollar question never asked by factories or admitted by brands and buyers out loud: “Why do brands and buyers care so much if CSR is only doing suppliers all the favor?”
Unlike cynics, saints are indeed a rare breed. Brands and buyers of course have their own gain in enforcing CSR – protecting public image, responsibility to shareholders and avoiding class action lawsuits – just to name a few. So now we have a full answer to the opening question: “Brands and buyers need reliable factories to maintain their public reputation and lasting profits. When they find such gold mine, they’ll reward the factories with long-term business and improvement guidance.” Although it’s a small step from the perpetual customer pedestal to an equal footing with the factories, it generates mutual respect and trust – keystones for sustainable supply chain management in years to come.