As discussed in BSR’s recent report on key performance indicators for responsible sourcing, metrics for identifying and evaluating the impact of sustainable supply chain initiatives on society are generally underdeveloped.

However, a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in the first meeting of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) Supply Chain Advisory Group in Oslo. The UNGC and BSR have launched a joint project to develop strategic guidance materials for business on the implementation of the Ten Principles in supply chain programs and operations. During the meeting, we heard about an exciting initiative to procure and evaluate the impact of sustainable products by integrating rural communities into the supply chain.

Restaurantes Toks, which operates 84 restaurants in 20 cities throughout Mexico, has begun sourcing from a strawberry marmalade production group of thirteen women in the rural community of Santa Rosa de Lima. In 2005, before the project began, the Santa Rosa de Lima Enterprise provided an income of US$1K to all the families in the community, and the per capita income was less than US$60 per month. The Santa Rosa de Lima Enterprise now sells over US$461K worth of strawberry marmalade to Restaurantes Toks each year, radically increasing the community’s per capita income.

Restaurantes Toks is also working with the company to implement sustainable farming practices and to build a new facility with environmentally friendly technologies. Human rights conditions—particularly for women in the community—have improved dramatically. And due to the demonstrable impact of this model on protecting and promoting human and economic rights, Restaurantes Toks has duplicated the approach with ten other community food and handicraft production groups.

This is a great example of sustainable procurement and evaluating the impact of supply chain sustainability on communities, and we’re anxious to hear your reactions. Have you heard of similar initiatives undertaken by other companies? Do you find these kinds of metrics useful?