The Foreign Trade Association (FTA) presents the Business Environmental Performance Initiative (BEPI), its new business-driven service aimed at supporting retailers and importers to improve environmental performance of supplying factories and farms worldwide.
BEPI offers retailers, importers and brands a practical environmental management system, applicable to all product sectors and countries. This helps them to engage their producers through a gradual improvement process towards more efficient production and reducing environmental challenges in sourcing countries.
As supply chains become more complex and global, there is an increasing societal demand for transparency in production processes. In this context, environmental sustainability has become an important topic for all companies sourcing from countries where environmental regulations are weakly implemented, inappropriate or non-existent. BEPI has been created with the aim of supporting companies to prepare for these challenges and better manage their supply chain's environmental performance.
“Working together within the BEPI framework, retailers, importers and brands can increase transparency in their supply chains and raise awareness on high priority environmental aspects. In doing so, they can improve the operational performance of their producers, reduce costs and protect their reputational risk”, explained Stuart Harker, BEPI Managing Director.
The BEPI system focuses on the production site and works at the last production level, letting the producer take ownership of the knowledge acquired and pass it down the tiers of the supply chain. BEPI offers producers a tailored system with on-site support to help identify and address high priority environmental areas where progress is needed most.
The result is a comprehensive overview of producers’ performance in fields such as water use, pollution, waste management and nuisances, based on which BEPI can provide individual support and capacity building activities to assist progress. BEPI business case studies from the pilot phase carried out in Vietnam in 2013 prove the system a solid tool to develop cleaner and more efficient production.
The launch of this new initiative responds to FTA’s mission of promoting free and sustainable trade. Sustainability has become a core principle in businesses’ corporate culture and FTA supports them in their efforts to develop responsible business practices. “Over a decade ago FTA created the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) to support improved working conditions in supply chains and it currently counts more than 1,300 participants. With a similar purpose we are now launching BEPI and we are looking forward to working with businesses to develop more environmentally efficient supply chains”, said Jan Eggert, FTA Director General.