More organisations require third-party verification of their suppliers' environmental and sustainability credentials than actually have this themselves, a global survey has found.
The poll of over 1,100 sustainability professionals across 11 countries and 13 industries found that only 46% have their sustainability data independently verified, despite 55% demanding this from suppliers.
Furthermore, the findings – which are detailed in a new report – show that just 38% of organisations are using at least one management standard to drive progress.
Global assurance provider, LRQA, which commissioned the survey, warned that current approaches could lead to further scrutiny from investors, and said that third-party verification is essential for proving organisations are following best practice in transparency, trust and supply chain visibility.
Heather Moore, supply chain technical director for sustainability, explained: “It is clear from our findings that many are relying on self-verification, which is difficult to monitor and report accurately.
“Any sign of a lack of transparency could have significant consequences, such as a downturn in investor confidence and customer trust.”
The survey – which was carried out among sustainability leaders working in mid-to-large organisations – also found that 93% have identified at least one internal barrier to achieving environmental sustainability targets.
A lack of knowledge, resourcing, complexity and cost were all cited as problematic. According to LRQA, these findings show that more support is required from boardroom level if greater resource allocation is needed.
Moore continued: “It is concerning that sustainability leaders listed a lack of resources as a key barrier to verification against environmental objectives and commitments, despite acknowledging the value of using verification to a standard.
“It shows us that there is still work to be done to ensure environmental sustainability goals are met. It is crucial that businesses do not tackle these challenges alone.
“As demand for substantiated commitments are likely to increase, seeking independent third-party verification can help drive both credibility and confidence from both customers and stakeholders.”
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