What is our objective?
To reduce supplier evaluation fatigue and align on key issues of responsible sourcing, AIM-Progress enables the sharing, mutual recognition and convergence of supplier assurance approaches among our membership.
Very concretely, several AIM-Progress brand manufacturers agree to consider mutual recognition of social compliance audits of their suppliers.
Similarly AIM-Progress encourages its members to consider recognising virtual assessments, the latest tool in the toolbox of supplier assurance approaches. Our common baseline is informed by the Sedex Virtual Assessment (SVA).
We also have a partnership with Ecovadis through which common members can share their list of assessed suppliers with the AIM-Progress membership.
Why is it important?
AIM-Progress seeks to promote responsible sourcing while reducing the duplication of supplier evaluation approaches. Member companies all have responsible sourcing programs which may include the request for on-site audits, virtual assessments or third-party verified self-assessments of suppliers, with often very similar questions.
AIM-Progress enables the sharing and/or mutual recognition of supplier evaluation approaches, thereby also promoting convergence of practices, raising the floor and the ceiling for responsible sourcing.
How are we enabling mutual recognition of supplier audits?
Our mutual recognition of audits framework is the basis for this activity.
Step 1 : The first step is to benchmark member companies' audit protocols against a joint set of common criteria. If the audit protocol is equivalent to a majority of members' audit requirements as reflected in our common benchmark - SMETA 4-pillar 6.1 - (85% commonality at a minimum), companies can participate in the Mutual Recognition of audits initiative. The protocol benchmarking is supported by the ITC (International Trade Center). The ITC Sustainability Map is the basis for a bespoke protocol benchmarking tool they have created for AIM-Progress.
Step 2: The second step of mutual recognition is to agree to the general principle of accepting other companies' audits. Members do this by signing on to the joint Mutual Recogntion statement.
Step 3 : Companies then share their list of audited suppliers over the last three years via the AIM-Progress Secretariat who assembles the lists into one common document, which is sent back to participants in a sufficiently aggregated and anonymous format to avoid anti-trust concerns.
Step 4 : Companies check the list for suppliers they plan to audit. They can request these suppliers to share the audit reports directly with them or, if they are a member of a data sharing platform, upload them via the platform, which provides a secure online data exchange between suppliers and customers. In this way a new audit can be avoided.
Members are by no means required to recognise an audit carried out on behalf of another AIM-Progress member. It remains their prerogative to request an additional audit or not.
Since 2010, the audited supplier list has evolved to currently containing 29,000 audited supplier records!
How are we encouraging mutual recognition of virtual assessments?
The AIM-Progress statement on mutual recognition of virtual assessments encourages members to consider recognizing supplier virtual assessments completed on behalf of another company, and to review assessment reports to confirm whether they meet member’s own internal company requirements. Our common baseline for what we deem to be a good standard for virtual assessments is the Sedex Virtual Assessment (SVA).
How are we enabling sharing of supplier third-party verified self-assessments?
Through our partnership with Ecovadis we can provide all AIM-Progress members with access to a list of suppliers which have undergone Ecovadis assessments commissioned by common AIM-Progress/Ecovadis members. This list shared on a regular basis.
It is up to the AIM-Progress member company to make contact with the suppliers to request access to the results of the assessments.
The list is put together by the Ecovadis Secretariat.
AIM-Progress also carries out an annual survey across the membership to benchmark how member companies are implementing responsible sourcing and how their maturity is evolving. A short overview of 2021 trends can be found here.