Supply Chain Actors

Women are vital actors throughout supply chains – as factory workers, farmers, or other workers, as owners of businesses from which companies source, and as retailers who sell companies’ goods. Critical topic areas in the supply chain segment include enhancing the well-being of workers and enabling them to thrive, sourcing from more women-owned businesses and enhancing their access to critical resources and inputs, and supporting the success and well-being of retailers that sell products or services.

Supporting the well-being of workers in your supply chain not only has social benefit, but can increase labor productivity and reduce risk. Furthermore, greater diversity of retailers and suppliers allows your company to access new markets, capitalize on unique assets and abilities, and enhance your brand. Research examples:

  • Supporting worker well-being can enhance productivity, as demonstrated through a study that found a 4:1 ROI on a worker program providing female workers with health education.
  • Supplier diversity can lower costs: A US study found that companies with supplier diversity programs spent 20% less than competitors on purchasing operations and had lower numbers of procurement staff.
  • Promoting supplier relationships with women entrepreneurs is associated with enhanced corporate responsibility and customer loyalty.

Service Offerings – Sample

Service offerings are customized based on the needs and objectives of each client.

Discover gender-related strengths and opportunities in the supply chain, and lay the foundation for a gender action plan to enhance your supply chain gender efforts.

Achieve supply chain gender goals through a tailored, cutting edge gender strategy.

Build effective initiatives, programs and policies related to female entrepreneurs, retailers, factory workers, farmers and more.

Understand the impact your initiatives, programs and policies are having and how to improve them.

Provide women in your supply chain with training on critical topic areas (e.g., financial planning, health, empowerment, leadership and more).

Example Case

About the client & project:
A leading US apparel company developed a unique initiative to support the growth and advancement of female garment workers in its supply chain through a life skills education and technical training program. The program was developed in partnership with manufacturing vendors and global and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs), including ICRW. The company was particularly interested in understanding the impacts of the initiative and how it could continue to improve the program over time. It was also interested in developing of an additional curriculum that built upon ICRW’s expertise in women’s rights and well-being.

Our approach:
We worked with the client to design the program and evaluate early-stage implementation in garment factories in two countries. We subsequently conducted a robust, multi-country evaluation across five countries in Asia. Our evaluation revealed the program to be an effective, scalable and sustainable model that yields high returns for women, their families and the factories where they work. Secondly, we provided strategic guidance on how to scale the project moving forward. Finally, we developed an additional empowerment curriculum for youth, along with an implementation plan.

Client benefits:
The findings allowed the company to better market the program to factories and increase support for the program internally. Our deep gender expertise allowed us to provide guidance in how the initiative could stay on top of the latest trends related to women’s empowerment, as well as recommend adaptations when moving into new countries.

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