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Senate to Debate Energy Bill

Posted by Bob Rio on Jun 27, 2016 9:47:25 AM

The Senate will debate a proposed energy bill this week that would require utility companies to buy almost half of the electricity used in Massachusetts from renewable generation sources. AIM remains encouraged by some elements and concerned about others.

WindTurbinesSmall.jpgThe Senate measure (S. 2372, An Act Relative to Energy Diversity) would commit the commonwealth to purchasing 2,000 megawatts of electricity generated by offshore wind and about 1,400 MW from other sources, such as large hydropower and onshore wind. Other sections add requirements for energy labelling on buildings and mandatory energy audits. 

AIM’s response to the Senate proposal is the same as its reaction to an earlier bill passed by the House -  employers support the concept of buying electricity from clean-energy resources, provided the following guidelines are followed:

  • Any contract must be cost-effective for Massachusetts ratepayers (i.e. the benefits of any contract to the ratepayer must be greater than its costs);
  • The procurement process must be competitive and decision-makers must have an ability to refuse any bids that do not meet standards (i.e. no carve-outs for favored technologies);
  • Any above-market or below-markets costs of the contract must be allocated fairly among  all customers;
  • The clean energy procured must qualify to be used for compliance with the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA), which requires a 25 percent reduction in statewide greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and an 80 percent reduction by 2050.

The significant amounts of clean-energy solicitations contained in the Senate bill are a matter of concern for employers who already pay some of the highest electricity bills in the country. While the bill provides “off-ramps” allowing utilities to decline contracts deemed unreasonable or not cost-effective, the initiative could be economically damaging if wind and hydro power are priced higher than the electricity we current buy from other sources.

Positive elements of the legislation include:

  • The procurement process would require the price of each solicitation for offshore wind to result in lower prices than the solicitation before it, a good requirement.   
  • The bill would define cost-effective contracts simply as cost less benefits. Inexplicably missing from the requirement is that the benefits must accrue to Massachusetts ratepayers. The Senate version still leaves open the possibility that Massachusetts ratepayers could subsidize out-of-state ratepayers by paying for benefits that accrue to other states. AIM will work with the Senate to clarify this section.
  • The bill contains a detailed tracking mechanism to ensure that clean-energy generation is used for compliance with the state greenhouse-gas requirements.
  • There is no remuneration surcharge to utilities included, potentially saving customers millions of dollars.
  • The creation of a task force to develop a new energy efficiency program starting in 2018.

AIM remains concerned about several elements:

  • The bill doubles the renewable portfolio standard, which could increase cost, particularly since the increase in the RPS is not tied to the new timetable for the contracts. The mismatch would create a shortage of renewable power in the short term.
  • The cost-allocation methodologies for accounting for above-market power is inconsistent with what we believe should be fair to ratepayers.   

 Lawmakers are expected to propose a significant number of amendments to the bill this week.

Topics: Electricity, Energy

AIM Establishes Next Century Scholarship at UMass Boston

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Jun 22, 2016 1:56:46 PM

Motley.Lord.jpg

The University of Massachusetts Boston and Associated Industries of Massachusetts, Inc. (AIM) have signed a memorandum of understanding establishing a new scholarship to assist the university in educating the next century of business leaders in the commonwealth.

AIM will contribute $25,000 to UMass Boston annually for the AIM Scholarship Endowment. AIM President Richard C. Lord and Chancellor J. Keith Motley signed the memorandum at AIM headquarters.

The AIM Next Century Scholarship will cover up to 75 percent of the cost of tuition, fees, and books for up to two full-time undergraduate students in the College of Management during their junior and senior years of study.

“We thank Associated Industries of Massachusetts for their investment in University of Massachusetts Boston students, and for sharing our vision of developing a vibrant, diverse workforce in the commonwealth,” Motley said.

“Our students are the future of the Massachusetts economy. They will go on to serve as future leaders in their community, our state, our nation, and our world.”

Lord said UMass Boston plays a unique role in providing educational and economic opportunity to the next generation of the Massachusetts work force.

“The single most pressing challenge facing Massachusetts employers in 2016 is finding the skilled, well-educated employees who will help their companies succeed in a global economy. These scholarships represent a down payment on women and men who will forge the future success of commonwealth,” Lord said.

He also paid tribute to Gina Cappello, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement, who played a central role in establishing the scholarship before her tragic death in a motor-vehicle accident earlier this month.

“Gina was an extraordinary partner in this process and her work will benefit students for years to come,” Lord said.

The University of Massachusetts Boston is deeply rooted in the city's history, yet poised to address the challenges of the future. Recognized for innovative research addressing complex issues, metropolitan Boston’s public university offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s 11 colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 17,000 students while engaging local and global constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service. To learn more, visit www.umb.edu.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), founded in 1915, represents the interests of thousands of Massachusetts employers on public-policy issues that affect jobs and the growth of the state economy. AIM also provides human-resource, management and insurance services to employers ranging from manufacturers to professional services firms to technology startups.

 

 

Topics: Education, Workforce Training

Second Grant to AIM Will Allow Companies to Train Supervisors at No Cost

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Jun 20, 2016 1:30:00 PM

AIM for the second year in a row has been awarded a $200,000 state grant that will allow employers to improve the skills of their key supervisors at no cost.

Fourpeople.jpgAIM’s supervisory/leadership training series was among a number of initiatives to win grants under the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund Program (WTFP) Direct Access Program.

“We are honored to earn this grant for a second year and excited to use the money to help employers provide training and advancement opportunities to their front-line supervisors,” said Gary MacDonald, Executive Vice President of the AIM Employers Resource Group.

The grants are designed to meet regional demands for training that may not have the scope or scale to merit a standard Workforce Training Grant. The awards also help larger organizations that want to offer education to existing leadership, new hires, “bench players” and newly promoted supervisors.

 “A large segment of leadership teams are comprised of home-grown, high potential people who have shown technical ability, but who have not had the chance to learn the human relations and decision- making skills that are important to helping others succeed,” MacDonald said.

MacDonald said companies face a multitude of internal and external issues that can be resolved, minimized or avoided by good supervisory and leadership practices:

  • Retention and turnover
  • Legal compliance and understanding of obligations under the law
  • Time management
  • Hiring the right person
  • Effective communication practices
  • Delegation and prioritization
  • Identifying and solving problems
  • Becoming an agent for and a leader of organizational change
  • Generating ideas and innovation
  • Developing and working in teams with multicultural & multigenerational members
  • Increasing employee performance
  • Understanding leadership responsibilities and accountabilities.

AIM plans to run its Supervisory Skills program multiple times during 2016 in four locations – Bridgewater, Burlington, Fitchburg and Marlborough.  The program content is applicable to any industry.

"We are very interested in helping small businesses access the fund either individually or through collaborations with other businesses with similar needs.” said Nancy Snyder, President and CEO of Commonwealth Corporation, which administers the funds for the Office of Labor and Workforce Development.  “This program allows small businesses that may not otherwise apply for a grant on their own to quickly gain access to training on topics in highest demand.” 

AIM delivers hundreds of supervisory skills training sessions each year in seminar and private settings. The staff of 10 instructors averages several decades of management and human resources experience across a variety of industries.

“The grant provides employers with a unique opportunity to improve productivity, build leadership and address legal compliance concerns at no out-of-pocket cost,” said Lori Bourgoin, Vice President of Educational Programs at AIM.

“Nothing drives workforce engagement, productivity and retention more than front-line leadership.  Well trained supervisors determine whether employees support change or resist, grow into the business or tune out.”

You may also contact Kaitlyn Buckley (kbuckley@aimnet.org  ) or Lori Bourgoin (lbourgoin@aimnet.org) for more details.

 

Topics: Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund, Training, Workforce Training

Employers Plan Modest Wage Growth, Despite Pressures

Posted by Russ Sullivan on Jun 20, 2016 7:34:03 AM

An acute shortage of skilled workers, a state economy near full employment and an increase in the minimum wage all spell accelerating wage increases for 2016, right?

Well, not exactly.

Wages2016.jpgThe persistent and curious disconnect between the tight labor market and wage increases will continue this year, according to the results of the 2016 Associated Industries of Massachusetts General Wage Survey. The study indicates that employers plan to increase wages by a modest 2.78 percent, more than last year’s 2.69 percent, but still less than the 2.9 percent budgeted by employers before the financial crisis of 2008.

The AIM results mirror national and global projections that wages will increase an average of 3 percent this year. The slow pace of wage increases appears to defy conventional economic theory that wages rise as the number of people looking for work falls – a process called the erosion of “spare capacity,” which ensures that all those who want to work do so, and leaving as few resources unemployed as possible.

Baffled economists have attributed the wage-recovery disconnect to everything from the rapid growth of low-wage positions to outsourcing to historically low rates of labor-force participation. But few of those factors pertain to the AIM survey results, which are heavily tilted toward higher-wage manufacturing companies that are particularly challenged by the shortage of qualified production workers.

Current economic conditions only deepen the mystery.

Massachusetts approached full-employment levels this spring as the state jobless rate dropped to 4.2 percent. The AIM Business Confidence Index rose to a 10-month high during May and has remained in positive territory since October 2013.

“The good news is that the Massachusetts and US economies have proven remarkably resilient in the face of weak growth globally that unsettled financial markets at the beginning of the year,” said Raymond G. Torto, Chair of AIM's Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) and Lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Design.

So, how to explain a projected 2.78 percent average wage increase?

Start with the fact that many employers remain cautious about increasing wages or expanding amid what has become a wildly inconsistent economy. Just when the nation appears to be building momentum in terms of output and financial performance, the pace of job growth dropped to its lowest level in May since 2010.

Inconsistencies also infuse the Massachusetts growth picture. The shortage of software professionals, scientists and engineers that has prompted some companies to pay five-figure referral bonuses in the white-hot Greater Boston region becomes far less acute in Gateway Cities and in other regions outside the Route 128 technology belt.

Consider as well the relentless development of technology that allows companies to automate products, operations and services. Massachusetts manufacturers now turn out far more product with far fewer people than they did 25 years ago, changing the demand equation from finding large numbers of people to finding smaller numbers of more qualified people.

The lingering question is whether employers will be able to hold to their modest wage-increase budgets in the face of all the upward pressure on compensation. The employers who participate in the AIM General Wage Survey are generally cold-eyed and realistic about their wage plans, but experts believe the tight labor market may force them to raise their projections to attract and retain key performers.

In the meantime, employers are considering multiple strategies to manage compensation costs:

  • Target variable and incentive pay to reward top performers so the company provides incentive without incurring pyramiding year-over-year increases to base wages.
  • Differentiate between top and low performers with a broader range of merit increases, enabling employers to spread their merit dollars further, though at the risk of turnover in a tight market.
  • Budget for adjustment, promotional or emergency wage increases in addition to the planned merit budget, allowing the flexibility to respond to compliance and market pressures, but at the expense of operating costs.

Here are details about some of the factors influencing wages in Massachusetts:

Massachusetts Minimum Wage

The minimum wage increased from $9 to $10 per hour, effective January 1, 2016.  It will increase again on January 1, 2017 to $11.  These increases will strain the year-over-year salary budgets of many employers in two ways.  First, employers with employees at the minimum wage will experience a 22 percent increase to labor costs in those positions. Second, as wages for minimum-wage earners increase, employees in positions currently compensated in the $11-$15 range will be seeking above- average increases to maintain their differential to minimum wage.  Employers will be hard pressed to meet these needs within a 3 percent increase budget.

“Tough to Fill” Positions

Many Massachusetts employers have expressed concern about the shortage of potential employees possessing the necessary skills needed in an increasingly complex economy.  Filling these positions will result in newer employees entering the work force at wages equal to, or higher than, existing employees with more years of experience.  Employers will thus face internal pressure to dedicate additional dollars to experienced employees to maintain internal equity.  A detailed discussion of “tough to fill” positions is included in the AIM 2016 General Wage Survey summary, including listings of positions experiencing the largest annual increase from 2015 to 2016.

Managing Poor Performers

For the fourth year in a row, participants in the annual AIM General Wage Survey have identified managing low performers as their compensation priority.  The strategic handling of poor performers may provide additional budget strain as low performers exit the work force and employers seek to replace them in a tight employment market.  Strategies for effectively managing performance are discussed in more detail within the AIM 2016 General Wage Survey summary.

Employers will need to choose wisely and set priorities for targeted employee groups.  Treating 3 percent as a hard cap on wage escalation might not be the best option for 2016.

Purchase AIM Compensation Surveys New Call-to-action Purchase AIM Compensation Surveys

Topics: AIM General Wage Survey, Compensation, wages

Will You Be Able to Sell Your Business?

Posted by Ken Sanginario on Jun 15, 2016 1:00:00 PM

Editor’s Note - Ken Sanginario is the founder of Corporate Value Metrics, and developer of the Value Opportunity Profile, a nationally renowned process for maximizing business value.  He spoke recently to the AIM CEO Connection. 

Is the company you have worked so hard to build worth nothing? 

Handshake.Small-1.jpgThere are currently 350,000 companies in the U.S. with annual revenue between $5 million and $100 million.  Seventy percent of them, or about 250,000, are owned by baby-boomers who are expected to try to transfer ownership by the year 2030.

Given the existing demographic trends, there will be many more sellers than buyers during the next 15 years.  At a minimum, therefore, valuations will suffer.  More likely, only the best companies will sell at any price.  The rest may simply cease to exist, bringing little or no value to their owners. 

In fact, historical statistics predict that about 220,000 of the 250,000 companies will not be able to transact and, of the 30,000 that “succeed,” more than half will only be able to transact by granting some type of seller concession … a lower price, an earnout, seller financing, or the like.  The outlook for the unprepared business owner is not attractive.

So, how can you make sure that your enterprise is among the long-term successful companies that can transact at maximum value?  Or, even better, how can you prepare your company to be an acquirer in the “buyer’s market” that will soon arrive?  The answer is to begin preparing your company years in advance through the process of Business Road-Mapping.

A company’s value is determined by a combination of the future cash flows it is predicted to generate, and the relative riskiness/sustainability of such cash flows.  The more reliable and less risky the cash-flow stream, the more valuable the business.  Public companies, for example, are typically valued at several times the level of a “comparable” private company, in large part because they are better developed across the entire enterprise and, therefore, less risky than their private-company counterparts.      

The good news is that business risk is largely a controllable factor.  In fact, most private companies have an opportunity to double their business value over a three to five-year period, by following a disciplined, methodical approach to improving overall enterprise quality and reducing risk. 

A Road-Mapping process begins with an enterprise-wide assessment of the strengths and weaknesses/risks of a company, followed by a mapping of prioritized initiatives that should be implemented over a three- to five-year period.  By reducing business risk to a level closer to that of a public company, a private company can maximize its ability to generate long-term, sustainable, growth in cash flows, and maximize value. 

Here are some specific suggestions:

  • Develop a comprehensive written strategic plan, with full participation from your management team, and use it to create focus and discipline within the organization;
  • Embark to understand the relative balance (or imbalance) among the eight primary categories within your organization of: planning; leadership; sales; marketing; people; operations; finance; and legal, and strengthen the weakest areas first.  A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so the pressures of growth will constrain the company at its weakest points;
  • Create a culture of alignment, collaboration, and shared success among the entire employee base and reinforce it through your recruiting, training, evaluation, and incentive programs.

Contact Brian Gilmore at 617.262.1180 for more information about the AIM CEO Connection.

AIM Creates Sustainability Award

Posted by Michele Slafkosky on Jun 13, 2016 7:34:00 AM

Associated Industries of Massachusetts announced today the establishment of the AIM Sustainability Award recognizing companies for excellence in managing environmental stewardship, social well-being and economic prosperity.

Globalwarmingsmall.jpgThe association is seeking nominations for five 2016 Sustainability Awards to be presented at a series of regional employer events during September and October. Award recipients will be selected by a panel that includes the co-chairs of the AIM Sustainability Roundtable – Johanna Jobin, Director of Global EHS and Sustainability at Biogen; and James McCabe, Sustainability Manager, Global Operations Group, Waters Corporation.

“It’s an incredibly exciting announcement,” said Jobin, who has chaired the Sustainability Roundtable for three years.

“The decision by the largest employer association in Massachusetts to establish a Sustainability Award confirms the growing importance that companies are placing on operating and growing in a responsible, transparent manner.”

Sustainability is the process by which companies manage their financial, social and environmental risks to ensure responsible long-term success. Once limited to a group of niche companies, the concept has gained widespread acceptance as global corporations such as Wal-Mart, General Electric and IBM make sustainability part of their business and financial models.

Companies applying for the AIM Sustainability Award may do so based upon their accomplishments in any of four areas:

  • A new idea
  • Environmental impact
  • Collaboration and communication
  • Social impact

Companies of all sizes and from any industry sector are welcome to apply. Applicants must be members in good standing of the association.

AIM initiated its Sustainability Roundtable in 2011 to provide employers the opportunity to exchange sustainability best practices and hear from experts in the field. That opportunity has attracted dozens of participants from companies such as Bose, Siemens, Coca-Cola, Boston Beer, MilliporeSigma, Ocean Spray, Analogic and Cisco. The Roundtable next meets June 16 at Philips North America in Andover to discuss the role that sustainability standards play in supply-chain relationships.

“The Roundtables and the new award encourage those of us working to improve the performance of our companies by improving their relationship to the community and the environment,” McCabe said.

“We urge companies of all sizes and types to apply and look forward to learning about the innovative practices being undertaken by our fellow Massachusetts employers.”

Nominate your Company

Topics: Environment, Sustainability, AIM Sustainability Roundtable

Employer Confidence Surges in May

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Jun 7, 2016 9:30:00 AM

Confidence among Massachusetts employers rose to a 10-month high during May as the state approached full employment despite persistent mixed signals from the national economy.

BCI.May.2016.jpgThe Associated Industries of Massachusetts Business Confidence Index rose 1.5 points during May to 57.7, the highest level since July 2015. The reading was slightly higher than the 57.3 level posted a year ago and comfortably above the 50 mark that denotes an overall positive economic outlook.

The brightening outlook came amid growing evidence that the US economy is regaining its footing after a 0.8 percent growth rate during the first quarter. Recent reports on retail sales, housing starts and industrial production paint an upbeat picture of the economy in the second quarter.

At the same time, the government reported on Friday that the US economy created just 38,000 jobs during May, the slowest pace since 2010.

“Massachusetts employers appear to have shaken off the uncertainty of the fall and winter and are now feeling optimistic about the remainder of 2016,” said Raymond G. Torto, Chair of AIM's Board of Economic Advisors (BEA) and Lecturer, Harvard Graduate School of Design.

“The most encouraging news is that every constituent measure contained in the Business Confidence Index rose during May and most were higher than they were a year ago.”

The AIM Index, based on a survey of Massachusetts employers, has appeared monthly since July 1991. It is calculated on a 100-point scale, with 50 as neutral; a reading above 50 is positive, while below 50 is negative. The Index reached its historic high of 68.5 on two occasions in 1997-98, and its all-time low of 33.3 in February 2009.

The index has remained above 50 since October 2013.

The Massachusetts Index, assessing business conditions within the commonwealth, surged 2 points to 59.3 in April, up 3.4 points from the year earlier. The U.S. Index of national business conditions rose 1.3 points to 51.8. Employers have been more optimistic about the Massachusetts economy than about the national economy for 73 consecutive months.

The Current Index, which assesses overall business conditions at the time of the survey, gained 2.2 points to 57.4 while the Future Index, measuring expectations for six months out, increased 0.8 points to 58.1

“Confidence among Massachusetts employers appears to be rising in lockstep with consumer confidence, which Mass Insight reported last week hit a 10-year high during the second quarter,” said Katherine A. Kiel, Ph.D., Professor of Economics, College of the Holy Cross, and a BEA member.

“The Massachusetts economy grew faster than the nation during the first quarter of 2016 and is now approaching full employment with a jobless rate of 4.2 percent – no surprise to employers who continue to struggle with a shortage of skilled workers.”

The three sub-indices bearing on survey respondents’ own operations all advanced.

The Company Index, reflecting overall business conditions, rose 1.4 points to 59.2, while the Sales Index increased 1.9 points to 59.8 and the Employment Index jumped 0.9 points to 55.1.

“Massachusetts continues to enjoy healthy job growth because of the commonwealth’s favorable industry mix - especially the health, education, advanced manufacturing, and high-tech segments of professional and business services,” said Alan Clayton-Matthews, Professor of Public Policy and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University.
The survey found that nearly 39 percent of respondents reported adding staff during the past six months while 19 percent reduced employment. Expectations for the next six months were stable – 37 percent hiring and only 10 percent downsizing.

Confidence levels in February were higher in Greater Boston (59.5) than in the rest of the commonwealth (56.1). Non-manufacturing companies enjoyed a significantly brighter outlook at 62.7 than manufacturing employers, who posted an overall confidence level of 54.3.

AIM’s President and CEO Richard C. Lord, a BEA member, said Beacon Hill lawmakers will have a profound influence on the economic fortunes of Massachusetts as the 2015-2016 legislative session draws to a close.

“The Legislature and the Baker administration continue to exercise the type of predictable fiscal discipline that employers value as they look to grow and expand,” Lord said.

“At the same time, the end of the legislative session includes bills on energy, wage equity and paid leave that are cause for concern among employers.”

Topics: AIM Business Confidence Index, Massachusetts economy, Massachusetts employers

Do Employers Respond to Online Comments?

Posted by Christopher Geehern on Jun 6, 2016 8:50:16 AM

OnlineComments.jpg

A majority of AIM member employers choose not to respond to comments made about their companies on social media and Internet rating sites, according to a new AIM poll.

Sixty-two percent of companies responding the AIM monthly issues poll say they never answer what most experts believe is a swelling volume of online consumer feedback. Twenty-seven percent say they respond only to answer a question, 1 percent respond only when they have time and 10 percent always respond.

The results are based on responses from 152 employers.

The survey was taken amid media reports last month of several restaurants and hotels seeking to remove themselves from the popular online rating service TripAdvisor, which is based in Needham and is an AIM member. TripAdvisor maintains ratings on all operating business, an approach that has allowed the site to grow into a platform with more than 320 million reviews of businesses around the globe.

Online customer comments have become an important issue for businesses as traditional word-of-mouth referrals move to the Web and become globally visible. A recent survey by Brightlocal found that the percent of consumers who form their opinions about a business through online reviews rose from 22 percent in 2011 to 39 percent in 2014.

Being part of the review forums often bolster a business’ bottom line. One Harvard Business School study of restaurants in Washington found that a one-star increase in Yelp ratings led to a 5-to-9 percent increase in revenue. A  report from the Boston Consulting Group involving a survey of nearly 4,800 small businesses found that companies who have a Yelp profile yet do not advertise on the site saw their annual revenue increase by $8,000 on average.

Several companies responding to the AIM survey say they do not use social media for business purposes. Others said they leave the task of monitoring online comments to their marketing departments or to an outside marketing firm.

Companies point out that the issue of online comments does not stop at consumer reviews, but also includes sites that allow current employees to evaluate the company for the benefit of job seekers.

“We just discovered GlassDoor and are diligent about responding to every comment on that site,” one member wrote.

Topics: Massachusetts employers, Technology, Internet

Sustainable Practices and Your Suppliers

Posted by Matthew Gardner on Jun 2, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Editor’s Note – Matthew Gardner, Ph.D., is Managing Partner of Sustainserv. He will serve as moderator of the AIM Sustainability Roundtable on June 16.

The boundaries of corporate sustainability programs are rapidly expanding to include not just the operations of a particular company, but also the impacts and actions of its suppliers and business partners.

InnovationSmall-4.jpgMany major corporations, such as Walmart, now require suppliers to provide detailed information regarding their environmental impacts, social and labor-related programs, and efforts to mitigate negative impacts they may be having on their environs. The environmental, social and labor records of a company’s suppliers may represent significant risk to the company’s business and/or carefully crafted public image.

Supply-chain sustainability has also entered the regulatory arena under the Dodd-Frank Conflict Mineral legislation, under regulations regarding human trafficking enacted by the state of California and Great Britain, and under other laws. These regulations compel companies to disclose the manner in which their supply chains source key raw materials or address the risks related to human trafficking and forced labor.

Social responsibility issues have also received attention of world leaders. In June 2015, following their summit meeting, the leaders of the G7 countries issued a statement recognizing “the joint responsibility of governments and business to foster sustainable supply chains and encourage best practices.”

But addressing supply chain sustainability is easier said than done. Small companies may interact regularly with as many as one hundred suppliers. Large multinationals in the retail sector frequently have more than 100,000 suppliers. Collecting information from a supply chain of any size is an exercise in disciplined data collection, risk assessment and strategic engagement.

Resources and tools are also available to help you prioritize your sustainable supply chain efforts. Programs such as Ecovadis (www.ecovadis.com) or Sedex (www.sedexglobal.com) have engaged thousands of suppliers globally, and offer access to large datasets of sustainability related information from these suppliers.

Other databases, such as the Social Hotspot Database (socialhotspot.org), offer information specific to social responsibility and labor/workforce related issues. These resources allow companies to prioritize which suppliers, sectors or regions may represent disproportionate risk, and thus necessitate greater scrutiny. Based on this, a company can focus its supplier inquiries, whether in the form of surveys or interviews, on those areas that represent the greatest risk, and deploy their limited resources effectively.

 

Attend the AIM Sustainability Roundtable

 

Topics: Supply chain, Sustainability, AIM Sustainability Roundtable

AIM Chairman Urges Employers to Engage with Political System

Posted by Christopher Geehern on May 31, 2016 8:30:00 AM

Associated Industries of Massachusetts Chairman Dan Kenary, Co-Founder and CEO of the Harpoon Brewery in Boston, is calling upon employers to step up their interactions with public officials in the face of an increasingly turbulent political environment.

Kenary told more than 750 business leaders at the AIM annual meeting that employers must create a "entrepreneurial populism" in which those who employ the citizens of Massachusetts articulate the value of their work to the larger society.

Here are his remarks...

 

Topics: AIM Annual Meeting, Massachusetts employers

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