Stephanie McIntosh had a career in supply chain development before founding Fou Furnishings, a certified Fairtrade and organic hotel linens supplier, and she published a thesis on developing organic cotton supply chains. Here she explains why it’s important for hoteliers to consider the people within their supply chains.
Cotton is a commodity which hotels procure in vast quantities, whether purchasing or renting linens, and the supply of cotton textiles impacts the lives of tens of millions employed in India’s second industry after agriculture.
Supply chain relationships offer a key way for hoteliers to make a difference to the quality, sustainability, delivery and cost of hotel products, as well as the lives of those working in support of their supply chains. Many hoteliers do not have visibility and consequently control of working conditions further down the supply chain.
The cotton textile supply chain has been subject to well publicised and documented social issues, negatively impacting the reputation of international brands. Simultaneously, the environmental impacts of cotton growing and processing also directly link to the human story. The negative coverage has led some global companies to make changes to their supply chain models and management of supplier responsibility. Changes to traditional supply chain metrics include giving equal weighting to sustainability and social measures, to not only prevent problems before they arise but also to extend the supply chain model beyond compliance, to one that builds social, environmental, and economic value.
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