Parliament hosts conference on ethical supply chain

Summary

To ensure that businesses are prioritising fair-trade and ethically produced goods in their supply networks, the Flemish parliament hosted a conference on the subject

‘A game changer’

The Flemish parliament hosted the region’s first conference today dedicated to transparency in the supply chain. The idea was to introduce the concept to importers of goods and brings them together with both experts in the field and companies who can provide the technology to support it.

The conference was arranged by minister-president Geert Bourgeois together with the Social and Economic Council of Flanders to address growing consumer demand for a guarantee that goods purchased are ethically made and delivered. Because of the number of brokers and wholesalers involved in the import process, it can be challenging to ensure that the manufacturer of goods are not exploiting the environment or labour – including child labour.

A sustainable supply chain is important to investors as well as consumers, according to Bourgeois. Businesses in Flanders must “act ethically and be transparent in providing information to consumers about the entire supply chain,” said Bourgeois. “This conference calls on Flemish industry to consider innovative technologies to improve transparency in the supply chain.”

The keynote speaker at the event was Louis Roy of the Canadian company Optel, a world leader in the development of systems for inspection and traceability. “What we are doing is a game changer for companies,” he said. “Intelligent supply chains lead to economic growth, as well as sustainability.”

Other speakers at the event were KU Leuven professor Huib Huyse, head of the Research Institute for Work and Society, and Anke Massart, a business development manager of sustainability for chocolate producer Barry Callebaut.

Photo: Flemish minister-president Geert Bourgeois opens the transparency conference in parliament today
©Bourgeois Cabinet