The Value of Transparency in Food Supply Chain

Henrik Stamm Kristensen

Interest in sustainability and business transparency continues to grow in the management of the enterprises environment, as, for instance, evidenced by recent surveys. Both issues are interlinked. Transparency is a powerful driver for sustainability as well as for efficiency and optimization of supply chains.

According to a study elaborated by BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), GlobeScan, and Net Impact, “current and future leaders believe the most significant leadership challenge facing business today is the integration of sustainability into core business operations”. Equally, younger leaders consider there is a lack of transparency in business and are more concerned about this matter.

Transparency, however, is gaining ground and will continue to do so. In a globalized world, with global supply chains, it is more necessary than ever, especially in such industries as food, where issues like traceability and safety are so important, but also from an economic point of view. Transparency allows for supply chains optimization, business competitiveness and innovation in different manners:

Allowing collaboration. The challenges the food industry is facing require for more collaboration. An expanding population, the scarcity of water and finite resources, the climate change, etc. are problems that evidence the need of more sustainable ways of producing food and optimize food supply chains, which in turn is only possible through collaboration. Transparency is at this point an essential tool for companies to face challenges together.

Allowing cost reduction. Transparency also can help to detect inefficiencies and to optimize processes and the food supply chain, with the subsequent benefit in terms of productivity, find out the best suppliers, enhance procurement efficiency, reduce business cost, generate economic benefits and improve competitiveness.From the point of view of the customers, transparency is also a driver for brand loyalty.

Allowing to push innovative ideas. Transparency generates trust environments, both with external collaborators and internally. This is also connected with the collaboration necessity and facilitates discussion of issues openly, and the development of new projects.

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