Williams Commerce are excited to be part of an innovative UK-based team which is creating programmes underpinned by online tools that contribute to the delivery of highly sustainable global supply chains.

In collaboration with sustainability strategy and innovation specialists, epi Consulting, our team of software development and ecommerce experts, has already created an award-winning platform to improve end-to-end supply chain sustainability, particularly in Asia, where first world corporates are seeking to educate and develop their extended supply chains.

John Spear, Managing Director of epi Consulting said: “We began to analyse, measure and develop suppliers to major corporates some seven years ago, starting with onsite education and using tools on a spreadsheet basis. We chose Williams Commerce to partner with us for the web-based versions because of their understanding of software and database development, web security and international standards for hosting, all with the multi-language presentation that we rely on. Their work has been creative and effective across the world and remains at the core of the epi platforms today.”

The project began in 2012, originally sponsored by BT, with the goal of developing web-based tools to support BT’s “Better Future Supplier Forum”. The platform and the support programme that underpins it has won numerous awards since and is actively helping improve BT’s supply chain sustainability performance.

The tools analyse and educate, rather than audit, meaning widespread acceptance in the supply chain. Companies can self-assess 40-45 sub sets of the business in order to gain insights into ethics, HR practices and training, as well as product use, reuse and recycling. By using the tools, companies and see how they rank by receiving a bronze, silver or gold rating. In addition to this, they also immediately receive detailed recommendations generated by the system on how they can improve to the next level. The system also automatically sets priorities and plans for the users to achieve that.

Rob Williams, CEO at Williams Commerce adds: “We are delighted to have been involved since the early days of this project. Our knowledge of international ecommerce and business-to-business web platforms meant we could provide a full business solution with epi for this cutting-edge sustainability toolset.”

The project continues to expand, as a further partnership has now been successfully established with QuEST, the leading telecommunications industry body in the United States, who are now rolling it out to their global supply chain in English and Mandarin with sponsorship from global telecommunications giants, including AT&T and Huawei.

John Spear continues: “Increasingly the sustainability agenda is being driven by the need for clear paybacks and returns on investment. Good practices are good for reputation and brand. The next stage is to build the business case for sustainability with participating suppliers. This will show how their business can be improved through more sustainable practices which will also increase their likelihood of increasing sales in the future.”

In addition to this, the United Nations has a Global Compact to implement universal principles of sustainability by 2030, which includes adopting 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) such as gender equality, sustainable industry, and climate change.

The team behind the project is now in discussion with the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) about future applications of this system including how the epi platforms can analyse and educate the supply chain on meeting the SDGs. With the aim of being a globally recognised thought leader, partner of choice and proactive drive of ICT sustainability, one of the ways to measure GeSI’s success will be the widespread use of these tools.

Rob Williams says: “This stage of development is really exciting. We see many businesses benefitting from improved efficiency and understanding of their whole supply chain through business system integration with their ecommerce platform.”

“Using our skills and experience to partner with epi on the development of this tool in ways that could fundamentally change the way businesses operate around the world is a rare opportunity. It’s a real convergence of business excellence and social responsibility and we feel privileged to be involved.”

Learn more about Williams Commerce here. For more information about this project, get in touch with the team at [email protected].