Open data platform to improve supply chain insights prepares for take-off

New platform to counter lack of visible supply chain data that contributes to issues like climate change, child labour, etc.

Open data platform to improve supply chain insights prepares for take-off

The Open Supply Hub platform will span a range of sectors, including sporting goods, beauty, consumer packaged goods, apparel and electronics.

A new platform that opens up global supply chain data launched its beta phase on Wednesday.

The open data platform ¬– Open Supply Hub – aims to improve insights about production facilities and global supply chains.

For organisations seeking collaborative work within global supply chains, the lack of open, accessible and standardised data is a longstanding bottleneck. To solve this, Open Supply Hub will clean and open up this data for the benefit of entire sectors, with the aim of facilitating data sharing and collaboration. Populated and used by companies, civil society organisations, factory groups, supply chain service providers and other stakeholders, Open Supply Hub will provide standardised name and address data and universal IDs for production facilities around the world.

The unique IDs will enable connections to other databases via API, driving interoperability between datasets that are typically siloed and allowing organisations to find those connected to the facilities. This, in turn, will enable more efficient and effective collaboration. Built on open data principles, with open-licensed data and open source code, companies can disclose their supplier lists and, in doing so, showcase their commitment to supply chain transparency. Simultaneously, insights about specific facilities are significantly improved, which can inform ESG and climate risk decisions and protect vulnerable supply chain workers.

The platform will span a range of sectors, including sporting goods, beauty, consumer packaged goods, apparel and electronics.

Commenting on the development, Natalie Grillon, Executive Director of Open Supply Hub, said, "Globally, organisations are preparing for a wave of new ESG reporting requirements. The volume of data shared will be enormous. It's therefore absolutely critical that reporting is built on a reliable and collaborative foundation in order to bring about the supply chain improvements we desperately need."

She added that supply chain data is notoriously opaque, siloed and inaccessible, and has historically benefitted very few. "Opening up this data is the solution. Not only can we create a single source of truth for identifying facilities, but this model also encourages collaboration and helps users progress their work, be it ESG reporting, worker's rights advocacy, research or climate risk decisions. That's where Open Supply Hub comes in - a reliable, open dataset that benefits entire sectors."

The Open Supply Hub platform is an extension of the Open Apparel Registry, which was first launched for the apparel sector in 2019 with core support from the Laudes Foundation. After increased demand from its users, the organization made the decision to expand into additional sectors.

Leigh Anne DeWine, Director of Social Responsibility at Amazon said, "We've contributed to the Open Apparel Registry since 2020 given our shared mission to foster transparency across supply chains. We know that Open Supply Hub and its standardised supply chain data will be a key piece in identifying areas where we can collectively focus our attention, with the goal that products and services are being provided in a way that respects human rights and the environment."

Since its inception, the Open Apparel Registry has mapped 88,347 facilities in 133 countries, with data from over 470 contributors, and has worked with global brands, civil society organisations and industry bodies such as C&A, Columbia Sportswear Company, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, WWF and ZDHC to name a few.

Commenting on the expansion, Leslie Johnston, CEO of Laudes Foundation said, "Radical transparency is critical to creating the accountability we need for more equitable and climate-positive industries. This starts with openly sharing supply chain data. At Laudes Foundation, we are committed to nurturing a growing ecosystem of organisations advocating for, collecting and using data for the public good. We look forward to our continued partnership with Open Supply Hub in its mission to ensure that data is accessible, open, relevant, and used to improve conditions across multiple industries."

Commenting on the news, Reinhard Junker, Division for Sustainable Transformation of Global Supply Chains at the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) said, "The German Federal Government is dedicated to improving social and environmental conditions in global supply chains. Alongside the German Due Diligence supply chain act, our Ministry supports buying and supplying companies in meeting international standards and requirements. Supply chain transparency is a key prerequisite for companies to effectively address human rights and environmental risks in their supply chains. For this reason, we are happy to support Open Supply Hub through the Initiative for Global Solidarity implemented by GIZ, thereby enhancing transparency and, ultimately, contributing to improved working conditions and environmental protection in global supply chains."

To ensure that the platform serves the spectrum of stakeholders within sectors, Open Supply Hub will be governed by a multi-stakeholder Board of Directors, with representation including companies, civil society, factory groups and open data expertise. Board members will be announced closer to the launch date.

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