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Interview with Alice Pedretti: Collaboration, a powerful voice to achieve impact in supply chains

Thursday, November 8, 2018

The 3rd EU Raw Materials Week takes place in Brussels between 12 - 16 November 2018. A unique platform for discussion and exchanges on key issues affecting the raw materials community. CSR Europe will present the Drive Sustainability approach on collective actions that enhance impact in specific raw material supply chains.

The EU Raw Materials Week explores sustainable and responsible sourcing challenges and solutions in line with the international frameworks recognised by the European Union, such as the  Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Alice Pedretti, Senior Project Manager at CSR Europe, will be joining following panel discussions:

  • On November 13th, panel focuses on Responsible and Sustainable Sourcing and Extraction of Raw Materials for Competitive European Value Chains
  • On November 14th, the focus of the panel is on Raw materials for battery value chain

CSR Europe and ‘Drive Sustainability’ will attend the EU Raw Materials Week. A good opportunity?

AP. Absolutely! With Drive Sustainability, we developed an approach on how collective action enhances impact in specific raw material supply chains. As CSR Europe is the facilitator of Drive Sustainability, we will present the approach we developed to the raw materials community and the policy makers. An excellent opportunity for alignment and push for multi-stakeholder collaboration.

How important is ‘Collaboration’ to achieve impact in the raw materials sector?

Through the involvement of governments and civil society, collaborative action among businesses and across industries, is a powerful tool. It enables to address some of the serious social and environmental problems affecting workers and communities in countries where many raw materials originate.

On the business side, the Drive Sustainability partnership allows us to send a common message to our supply chains concerning sustainability activities and requirements. It is a powerful voice that allows for higher efficiency and – ultimately – impact.

With the ultimate goal to create positive impact on the ground, we launched the Raw Materials Observatory. The Observatory is  a standardized process to develop instruments to identify risks, impacts as well opportunities for collective actions. Its first deliverable is the ‘Material Change’ risk assessment report.

Based on the results of the risk assessment, we are now defining what collaborative actions the Drive Sustainability partners can take. The intention is to leverage our common voice and improve impact at the sourcing level. Again, collaboration will play a central role here. More information on the specific collaborative actions we are currently deciding on will be communicated in the coming weeks.

In order to collaborate effectively, do you think a manager needs specific skills? If so, which ones?

I think that collaboration – to be effective – requires 3 aspects: trust, organisation and expertise. Let me elaborate this a bit more:

  • Trust: establishing trust among the partners of a collaboration is central to reach the common objectives. Trust is built overtime, but it will be reflected also in more ambitious targets overtime.Trust derives also from the individual company management buy-in of the collective project.
  • Organisation: building trust for an effective collaboration (especially when companies are natural competitors), requires facilitation and coordination, that is organisation. A facilitator or coordinator helps to move through a process together, from target-setting to implementation of actions.
  • Expertise: Involving the right people in the discussion and collaborate with expert partners,  as well as organisations with on-the-ground experience is essential. This will ensure impact and progress at both strategic and local level.