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Sustainable Supply Chains

Sustainable supply chain performance begins with establishing supplier policies and endorsing industry codes or practices that contain explicit references to social and environmental standards. By integrating this issue into engagements, Ceres is helping companies and investors understand the business case for improving supply chains and recognizing human rights.

Supply Chain Worker


The complex nature of supply chains presents urgent sustainability challenges to companies and the suppliers they work with. In order to protect their own bottom lines, corporations must ensure that their suppliers are held to global standards of sustainability and incentivized to exceed these standards.

Ceres views sustainable supply chains as critical to business success. We advocate for companies to strengthen their supply chains--through establishing stronger policies, by setting higher standards for environmental and social performance, and increasing transparency amongst their many suppliers.

Through the Supplier Self-Assessment Questionnaire and our work with companies like Levi Strauss & Co. to advance worker well-being in such countries as Cambodia and Haiti, Ceres supports collaboration between companies and their suppliers to better manage environmental, social and governance risks, reduce costs, drive innovation and transparency, and advance performance — not just at the company level, but throughout every level of their supply chain.



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In 2014, Ceres evaluated to what extent more than 600 of the largest, publicly traded U.S. companies are integrating sustainability into their business systems and decision-making. In particular, the report—a collaboration between Ceres and Sustainalytics—assessed the extent to which companies are managing the social and environmental impacts of their supply chains. Click here for an in depth look at the results.

Thought Leadership

  • The Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability. The Ceres Roadmap provides companies with a vision and practical guide for integrating sustainability into the DNA of business—from the boardroom to the copy room.  It contains 20 specific expectations for corporate performance broadly divided into four areas of activity— governance, stakeholder engagement, disclosure and performance.  In particular, The Ceres Roadmap outlines how companies can honor and uphold fundamental human rights by implementing policies, codes of conduct, management systems and rigorous monitoring practices. The Ceres Roadmap has gained recognition from companies across industries as a critical tool for implementing sustainability programs and strategies.

  • Forced Labor. Forced labor and human trafficking—our modern-day slavery—occur at a horrifying scale, with estimated numbers affecting between 21 to 27 million people worldwide. In Gaining Ground we examine how 600+ of the largest U.S. companies address the issues of forced labor and child labor in their supplier codes of conduct and human rights policies. Read more about the findings and recommendations.
  • Sustainable Agriculture. The Food & Beverage industry is grappling with key challenges related to sustainable agriculture sourcing. In Gaining Ground, Ceres and Sustainalytics further examine how companies in this sector are addressing the impacts of their agricultural supply chains.  Read more about the findings and recommendations.
  • The Supplier Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ): Building the Foundation for Sustainable Supply Chains. After a year-long survey of supply chain risk assessment practices, Ceres recognized a gap in the way many companies approach sustainability within the supply chain: they tend to focus either on environmental or social issues. Drawing on leading practices in the field, and addressing environmental, social, and governance issues, Ceres developed the SAQ as a “conversation starter” for companies to use with their suppliers as they assess the sustainability risks in their supply chains. The SAQ was designed to be useful for all companies seeking to strengthen their supply chain engagement, including those that are just beginning to address sustainability issues in their supply chains.


  • Improving Workers' Well-Being. Levi Strauss & Co., a member of the Ceres Company Network and a pioneer in supplier labor rights partnered with Ceres to help it convene a global multi-stakeholder initiative to support the development of its new worker well-being program.  Following a Ceres-led dialogue with labor and human rights groups, NGOs, suppliers and other companies, Levi Strauss released a new blueprint for supply chain engagement that promises deeper efforts to improve the lives and well-being of its supply chain workers, and challenges other companies to do the same. Ceres and Levi Strauss authored a white paper outlining this bold new approach.


  • Hidden in Plain Sight. In partnership with Humanity United, Ceres conducted an analysis of corporate efforts to eradicate forced labor and human trafficking, finding much room for improvement. The report includes key recommendations for both companies and investors to take action.


  • Digging into Sustainable Agriculture. Using data from Gaining Ground: Corporate Progress on the Ceres Roadmap for Sustainability, Ceres analyzed the Food & Beverage sector’s performance on sustainability issues related to agriculture.  The findings suggest that management of these issues should be both strengthened and broadened to better respond to the environmental and social challenges presented by agricultural sourcing.


Featured Blogs

Supply Chain WorkersTen Actions Companies Can Take to Eradicate Forced Labor

Lights, Camera…A Call for Action

Have Supply Chains Changed Since the Rana Plaza Calamity


In the video below, Ceres' former Vice President, Andrea Moffat, provides insights on the relationship between supply chains and corporate sustainability performance. Learn more at