EBRD and Spar Slovenija strengthening sustainable development

By Axel  Reiserer

EBRD and Spar Slovenija strengthening sustainable development

Workshops for suppliers to focus on reporting and risk assessment

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and Spar Slovenija d.o.o. are organising a series of workshops this week for suppliers of the retailer which will focus on reporting and risk assessment taking into account economic, environmental, governance and social performance indicators in Slovenia's capital Ljubljana.

Leading international retail operators recognise the value of sustainable reporting as core to successful operations. As part of their cooperation the EBRD and Spar are promoting the use of enhanced disclosure standards as they improve risk management and cost control and ultimately allow for more profitable operations in the long run.

A benchmark in this area is the Global Reporting Initiative. It provides a structured reporting framework on economic, environmental, social and governance performance which is recognised as one of the prevailing standards around the world. In a first step, the EBRD and Spar Slovenija have identified a set of Key Performance Indicators. The workshop will now provide the opportunity to spread this new approach to the supply companies in order to promote supply chain sustainability.

The workshops will also discuss the Global Good Agricultural Practice Standard, a voluntary standard for the certification of agricultural products worldwide. Spar Slovenija is the only retail company in the country which has implemented the recommendations. While the majority of criteria cover food safety, the standard also includes workers welfare, environmental impacts and traceability. The workshops will now offer the opportunity to expand the reach of these criteria to supply companies.

The discussions will also explore environmental and social risks and opportunities in the supply chains for three key food products offered by Spar, where major aspects of production are within the influence of the company’s suppliers. ‎The workshop will be based on a preliminary analysis of five products completed earlier this year and conducted with support from Spar and the relevant suppliers. It will look at the specific production, packaging and transportation processes used in the supply chain and will explore viable opportunities to increase energy, water and materials efficiency and mitigate possible environmental and social risks.

The EBRD provided a €40 million loan to Spar Slovenija in 2013 to support the company’s expansion in the country on the condition of the introduction and implementation of highest standards of sustainability in its operations. A particular focus lies on modern supply chain management and resource efficiency, setting new benchmarks in the country. To achieve this goal the roll-out on the level of suppliers is essential.