Sedex Conference 2016 welcomes sustainability leaders

The Sedex Conference 2016, held on 2-3 March, brought hundreds of leaders in responsible sourcing together for two days of discussion, insight, networking and practical advice at the iconic Barbican Conference Centre in London.

Attendees from over 40 countries joined the event both in person and online to hear from experts on a range of key topics around the theme “simplifying supply chain sustainability.”

From the future of auditing, to modern slavery legislation, to simplifying responsible business practices and collaboration, to best practice in simplifying carbon and agricultural sustainability measurement – the conference agenda covered the most relevant topics for supply chain sustainability. Attendees heard from a range of panellists from companies including Kellogg Company, Mondelez International, M&S, Sky, The Body Shop, WPP, and from organisations such as Carbon Trust, CDP, ETI, Oxfam, Thomson Reuters and others.

Some of the key highlights of the Sedex Conference 2016 included:

  • Alistair Hirst, Senior Vice President of Global Supply Chain at Kellogg Company, explained in his keynote speech how Kellogg Company is managing its supply chains through simplification and stabilisation and by focusing on supply chain sustainability for farmers and consumers. ‘We live in a volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous world – a VUCA world – and to manage it you need to have vision, understanding, clarity and agility, which is also a starting point in simplifying supply chain sustainability’, he said.
  • The panel ‘Simplifying compliance with modern slavery legislation’ discussed the recent UK Modern Slavery legislation and gave expert advice on how to ensure that businesses meet the reporting requirements and goes beyond compliance. Kevin Hyland OBE, the UK’s first Independent Anti-Slavery Commissioner, encouraged companies to take the first step to identify high risks and work with bigger organisations to share best practice.
  • ‘Social impact and profitability are two sides of the same coin’ was one of the key takeaways from the session on simplifying social impact, looking at how can organisations quantify, value, and improve their impact on society.
  • In a refreshing spotlight talk ‘Be ruthlessly simple or fail’ Thomas Kolster, Mr. Goodvertising, advised sustainability communicators to KISS more: “keep it simple, stupid”. He suggested companies focus on keeping sustainability messages simple, emotionally engaging, visual and fun.
  • Sustainable supply chains matter to everyone: to consumers, businesses and civil society. Sustainability initiatives therefore need to involve a variety of stakeholders by their very nature“, said Arancha Gonzalez, Executive Director of ITC, in her speech on simplifying multi-stakeholder initiatives.


For the first time this year, the online audience had a chance to watch live interviews with a selection of speakers. The full playlist of sessions and live interviews is available on the Sedex YouTube page. Thanks to all great speakers, sponsors and attendees for a great two day conference. Looking forward to seeing you all again next year!

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