GECA partner, the Australian Supply Chain Sustainability School (the School) is celebrating its fifth anniversary, and this milestone is an opportunity to reflect on how far not only the School has come, but also our industry.
According to School CEO, Hayley Jarick, “organisations are leading the charge to a more socially, environmentally and economically sustainable future in the ‘decade of change’. And they know that the only way to make a difference is to act collectively and enable their partners to act.”
Sustainability knowledge has moved from being niche to an operational imperative, and the School has come into its own and is well placed to meet growing industry demand. “The School cuts out the noise and provides our members a free learning platform about the topics that matter in our industry,” says Jarick.
Since the School launched in 2015, it has grown steadily from just 8 founding Partners, 200 Members and 10 learning modules. Now, the School boasts 30 Partners, 1,684 Member companies, 2,698 registered users and there have been over 4,300 learning resource views.
The School has succeeded in developing an online self-assessment tool for businesses to rate their knowledge and develop a custom sustainability learning program. They have also made sustainability training accessible to regional Australia (anywhere with internet).
Jarick is proud of the evolution of the School so far and says that “it’s been a privilege to be connected to the School since it launched five years ago, wearing a few different hats along the way. I am fortunate to be the latest in a line of leaders that have lifted the School up over this time. I was excited to launch the new website last December with a stack of new functionality for Members and Partners but my proudest moment has been speaking with new Members after Partner supplier workshops and seeing so many new faces join the cohort of companies bettering the industry.”
The School has a range of Partner categories to suit all types of organisations and their needs. Partners are involved in developing resources, personalised School landing pages, managing their priority supplier’s learning, managing project learning, attending exclusive events, as well as showcasing their successes through the School’s channels.
Robin Mellon, CEO of Better Sydney, reflected that “it’s been amazing to see the School’s trajectory over the past five years – three of which I spent as the School’s inaugural Chief Executive Officer – and how the team is working with more partners, more projects, more topics, more governments and not-for-profits, and more learning resources than ever before.”
So, what is on the horizon for the sustainability industry, and how will the School continue to adapt to the needs of the market? According to Jarick, there is a trend for broader social and economic sustainability to be incorporated into the environmental mix, which has brought with it challenges and benefits.
For instance, people are taking on board the intent of the Modern Slavery Act and changing their management approach. Instead of blacklisting and avoiding non-complying companies, now the trend is to use your position of influence to work with others toward compliance. This is transformational for the industry and means that many will need to learn or refresh their emotional intelligence and conflict management skills.
Jarick states that “the School is constantly evolving to changes and future needs. We are evolving the types of resources we have, to cater for changes in how people want to learn. We are adding new resources every month and reviewing old resources to ensure our catalogue only contains the best resources. We are also looking to expand the School in new markets, so watch this space.”
Click below to watch GECA’s interview with former School CEO, Robin Mellon, on how to manage human rights issues in your supply chain.