Asda’s human rights team seeks actionable and engaging transparency

The more users, engagement and data points are contributed to the platform, the greater the benefit for us all and the more best practice we can generate via collaborative solutions.

On Asda’s Human Rights roadmap was the public disclosure of more and more of their supply chain, and more and more information about each of their supplier relationships. Transparency conversations had typically been a closed and more compliance-led process, but Asda wanted to refocus their transparency work on action and systemic change. Open Supply Hub helped them make that shift.

While some of the initial benefits of OS Hub stemmed from having an easy-to-use industry tool, instead of one they had to build themselves, Asda’s drive for transparency led to partnerships with platforms such as OS Hub as a critical building block for their human rights and due diligence work and the transparency and accountability they wanted to demonstrate.

First, after sharing their supply chain information on OS Hub (which includes Tier 1 Food, Non-Edible Grocery, Packaging, Labor Provider, Produce and General Merchandise sites and Apparel (Tier 1, 2 and 3)) they saw an uptick in how often they were contacted by civil society directly about potential issues in their supply chain, and invited to the table to remediate collaboratively, rather than having to reactively engage after a public story had broken. Operating under a “no news isn’t good news” principle, this not only helped Asda resolve individual issues, but also better understand systemic risks in their supply chain and which organizations are available to collaborate with them on solutions. They knew they wouldn’t get this visibility and collaboration without transparency about where they are working.

Second, OS Hub provides a cycle of increasingly better and more complete data, put in context of the broader ecosystem surrounding their supply chain. When Asda uploads the names and addresses of its suppliers into OS Hub (2,900+ to date!), they then receive GPS coordinates for each supplier, as well as additional data points that have been submitted to the platform by other stakeholders connected to their suppliers. This helps Asda continue to build a bigger, more accurate, and more complete picture of their supply chain. They have even extended the data they share into an interactive map embedded on their website, including data points like last SAQ/audit dates, union presence, worker demographics and more.

Lastly, Asda has access to more stakeholders and collaborators, including brands, multi-stakeholder initiatives, civil society organizations, and journalists - all able to find each other in the context of their shared data on OS Hub. When Asda is contacted about an issue in their supply chain, they are often also contacted alongside other brands who share their suppliers, which improves leverage, collaboration and resource-sharing, allowing them to better support suppliers. When OS Hub data is involved in a remediation process, it can bring together greater credibility, capacity, leverage, and shared approaches to unlock bigger opportunities. And, while Asda was well-connected with many of its more obvious peer brands, OS Hub allowed them to find peers internationally with shared suppliers in other markets, unlocking even greater resource-sharing.

Open Supply Hub has enabled us to take complex supply chain information and disclose it in an easy to use and context specific way which was a key requirement for us on our roadmap for Human Rights.

It has also allowed us to engage with numerous organizations globally and enhanced our understanding of salient risks. The more users, engagement and data points contributed to the platform the greater the benefit for us all and the more best practice we can generate via collaborative solutions focused on people within our shared supply chains.

- Duncan Warner, Senior Responsible Sourcing & Human Rights Manager

Asda Stores Limited, trading as Asda and often styled as ASDA, is a British supermarket chain. Its headquarters are in Leeds, England.

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