At GECA, we know that creating a more sustainable and prosperous future requires us to invest in genuinely symbiotic, transparent and circular supply chains. That’s one of the many reasons we’re proud to be an Industry Fellow and Silver Member of the Supply Chain Sustainability School.
The School’s Company Secretary and CEO, Hayley Jarick, has experience in governance, strategic management, marketing, membership, adult learning, advocacy, financial analytics, sales and customer service in manufacturing, residential and commercial building, heavy construction, professional services, and international trade; for-profit and for-purpose; big and small; paid and voluntary. She has previously worked for the Resolution Institute, Infrastructure Sustainability Council and BlueScope Steel.
We sat down with Hayley to unpack what they do and how their platform can benefit everyone along the supply chain.
So, Haley, what is the Supply Chain Sustainability School?
The Supply Chain Sustainability School Limited is a charity that enables socially, environmentally and economically sustainable supply chains for all organisations in Australia and New Zealand through open access to micro and nano educational resources.
The School is an industry-wide collaboration led by our Fellows, whose vision for the School is “Collaborative accessible education for a sustainable future”. The School collaborates with organisations with a mutual interest in building the skills of their investors, community, customers, workforce, and suppliers.
Or, to put it simply, we are a charity that trains people and organisations about sustainability at no cost to the user. We fund ourselves from annual fees and pro bono contributions from Fellows.
Who can benefit from the Supply Chain Sustainability School?
Absolutely everyone in any industry in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand can benefit from the Supply Chain Sustainability School! Most people think about sustainability incorrectly. Sustainability is the ability to maintain healthy environmental, social and economic systems in balance, indefinitely, on a global and local scale. It’s meeting our needs without compromising future generations’ ability to meet their own. It’s not left or right-wing or anti-profit. It’s smart, stable and enduring.
We cover environmental, social and economic sustainability topics, including modern slavery, diversity inclusion, climate change and circular economy. Our resources range from beginner to leader levels in formats that suit all types of learning styles.
You can listen to podcasts, watch videos, interact with e-learning modules, read documents and web pages, or attend online events. We are available rain or shine – in the office, outdoors, on your commute or at your home office.
How does the School support manufacturers, like GECA licensees?
There are many ways that we support manufacturers, like GECA’s licensees! Manufacturers can sign up and become a Member of the School for free.
With free Membership, you can:
• Upskill your Board and Management Team on social, environmental and economic sustainability so they can strategically manage risks, reduce market threats and capitalise on market opportunities.
• Upskill your sales, marketing, business development and customer service teams on social, environmental and economic sustainability so they can better meet your customers’ needs.
• Upskill your procurement and operations teams on social, environmental and economic sustainability so they can improve operational performance and manage supplier risks and opportunities.
• Gift your Human Resources team (if you’re lucky enough to have one) with a learning management system preloaded with resources that you can assign to colleagues and the ability to create custom learning pathways specific to your organisation. Don’t waste time and money developing training that already exists.
• Demonstrate your commitment to ongoing professional sustainability development by earning and maintaining your Bronze, Silver and, at the peak, Gold Membership status.
Manufacturers also have the option to upgrade to Fellowship for an annual fee. With Fellowship, you have all the benefits of Membership, and you can also:
• Engrain your brand in educational resources, marketing your products and services directly at the source of the demand by uploading branded resources into the communal resource catalogue.
• Raise your industry presence by hosting or presenting at co-branded events, workshops, masterclasses and initiatives that showcase your innovative capabilities to address sustainability issues.
• Save on new resource development by pooling funds with like-minded organisations and sharing the outputs.
• Manage training targets and Member status for your suppliers in our Learning Management System featuring Learning Pathways. We have no limit to the number of users, so all your suppliers, big and small, can sign up every staff member for free to meet your targets. Customise your suppliers’ training targets to cater to different risk or development goals.
• Access to extra perks perfect for projects, including landing pages, training workshops, ready-to-go resources, custom resources, project certificates, and project account dashboards.
• Demonstrate your commitment to UN Sustainable Development Goal 17. Collaboration is a crucial value of ours. We know that the SDGs can only be realised with strong partnerships and cooperation at the global, regional, national and local levels. Partner with us to demonstrate that your vision and goals place people and the planet at the centre.
Which areas of sustainability do you see a high demand for educational resources in Australia? In other words, where are our most significant knowledge gaps?
You don’t know what you don’t know, but don’t learn when the ACCC or media come knocking. Ignorance is not a defence for misleading and deceptive conduct. Upskill yourself to a point where you can hold your own in a conversation with an inquisitor and get all your claims verified by a third party. Getting your environmental, social, and governance (ESG) in order will also be beneficial if you want to access capital, equity and market share.
Embrace the circular economy
Manufacturing has relied on a linear economy for too long. The rise of the circular economy provides stability for resources without adverse consequences from straining environmental and human resources beyond sustainable levels. There is no waste, only resources you have failed to extract the value from. Going circular will likely mean prioritising quality over quantity and may open up new sales channels like as-a-service offerings.
Scope 3 or supplier impacts
The decisions of your suppliers will impact your business, so be careful who and where you buy from. If you need somewhere to start engaging with your supply chain, begin with human rights and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reductions.
Take action on modern slavery, and I don’t mean spending more money on glossing up your annual statement. You will get more respect and credibility if you admit your faults and show you’re addressing them than if you try to justify or cover up your failings.
If you don’t know your scope 1 and 2 carbon footprint, start your Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) now. Deliver on NetZero or carbon-neutral goals, and if you are already there, set regenerative goals. If your products do not have Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), start paddling because the ship sailed, but you might catch it! And if you want to show you’re better than the bare minimum, start the conversation with a third-party lifecycle ecolabel provider, like GECA.
The great resignation
Staff retention will be crucial to success for all businesses over the next couple of years. But how do you compete on flexibility when you aren’t working from a desk in an office? Digital advancements and automation will be key to skill retention and remote working in manufacturing. And how do you increase staff loyalty? Be transparent and take action on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Alignment to values, purpose and culture will give your staff more joy than cash. Give them more than money, like access to free training and leadership opportunities with the Supply Chain Sustainability School.
Is there anything else you think the GECA Family should know?
Australian and Aotearoa New Zealand manufacturers should be rubbing their hands together at the opportunities ripe for the taking in the manufacturing sector. For years manufacturers have warned of the dangers of keeping low inventories, rationalising supply to solitary overseas manufacturers and the prospect of domestic capability extinction. Procurers have gambled on the stability of international health, overseas regulation, environmental resilience, and international shipping capacity – and they are losing.