The two-month pilot program for Sustainability Map, a new software tool intended to help business owners monitor their suppliers and track sustainability, has proved successful, according to panelists at the program’s launch event yesterday.
The Sustainability Map is a highly detailed interactive site that can be used by private companies to tailor their sustainability analytics, monitor and track the sustainability of their suppliers, connect with partners to share sustainability profiles or monitor up-to-date market trends.
When asked what “sustainability” meant in these contexts, Kif Nguyen, a consultant with the program’s co-developer the International Trade Centre (ITC), said that the word meant different things for different companies.
Among yesterday’s panelists was Helene Obry, a quality manager at Cambodian specialty food producer Confirel. Obry said that during her company’s two-month trial run with the program, they trained nine staff members to administer the program’s Farmer Sustainability Assessment – a survey intended to highlight potential areas of improvement within individual farm operations – at three farms across the country.
“The assessment was really comprehensive,” she said. “We feel it will help us to choose what standards and certifications are right for us,” and it also improved the company’s audit management, training needs assessment and market access, she said.
The program became available yesterday for private companies to use free of charge after they register with ITC, according to Kif.
“If [the Sustainability Map] doesn’t translate into useful business practices, it’s not a good tool,” he said. “In the end, it boils down to making sure that private companies find it helpful, and so far, they have.”
The program was co-developed by ITC, the UN’s technical trade assistance body, and the United States Agency for International Development. The Cambodian version of the Sustainability Map was created after consultations with local companies and NGOs.