Let’s discuss and demystify the seven main challenges of the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) businesses face today. 

First of all, if you've not heard about CSRD you soon will. The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) is an EU regulation designed to improve how large companies report on their sustainability efforts and in turn how their operations affect people and the planet. These reporting obligations will be phased in from January 2024 and present a series of challenges for businesses.

So, what are the main difficulties companies face because of the CSRD? 

1. Complex Compliance  

One of the biggest challenges is the need for detailed report to comply with the new CSRD rules. The directive requires detailed reporting on sustainability matters. Companies will spend a lot of time and money collecting, checking, and reporting this data. Developing good data collection systems and making sure the information is accurate is key. At first this can feel like a tough task, but it is possible when a robust process with the right tools are in place. 

2. Unequal Burden on Small Businesses 

The CSRD affects approximately 50,000 large companies in the European area - this has a knock-on effect impacting smaller companies along their supply chain. Smaller companies asked to respond to large organisations questionnaires, may struggle with the reporting demands because they lack resources and expertise. Luc Hendrickx, enterprise policy director at European association SMEunited, has emphasised that SME organisations would ‘need sufficient time to raise awareness amongst their members on the new obligations, organise information sessions, train entrepreneurs and personnel, and develop tools.’ Hendrickx added, ‘some big companies [were] already cancelling their contracts with SMEs as they are not able to report.’ 

3. Detailed Reporting 

CSRD drives in-depth sustainability reporting. Companies must disclose information about many sustainability topics, like their impact on the environment, social programmes, and governance practices. Collecting accurate and useful data is made easier with investment in new tools and tech. 

4.  Adverse Impacts in Global Supply Chains 

Companies also face challenges in dealing with negative impacts, especially in global supply chains. They must identify and reduce risks related to environmental and social factors across the supply chain. Setting up effective processes for this involves working closely with suppliers and partners, each with their own sustainability issues. Remember the positives of being a responsible business that identify the risks of working with unethical work practices outweigh the negatives. 

5. Climate Change Impact 

Climate change is a central focus of CSRD, making it necessary for companies to disclose information about their emissions, energy use, and plans for reducing carbon footprints. Adapting to these requirements might force companies to make substantial changes, which can be expensive and complex. However, all organisations in the long run will have to make the changes – better to be sooner than later. Companies not capable of responding to CSRD demands risk losing work too.  

6. International Companies  

For international firms with significant EU operations, complying with the CSRD adds more headaches. They need to follow the directive while also sticking to other international reporting standards and regulations. Board members may argue it results in more work and higher costs. We’d argue you will lose work from the growing number of  businesses focused on responsible sourcing. 

7. Reputation and Communication 

Maintaining a good reputation and understanding what stakeholders think is crucial. With the CSRD's focus on transparency and sustainability, businesses must report accurately and communicate their efforts to stakeholders effectively. Not doing this could harm their hard-won reputation and trustworthiness. 

Large Enterprise Concerns 

Feedback shared at CSRD workshops is data management is a major worry. The concerns relate to collecting, managing, and reporting sustainability data. Companies are suffering from issues such as data availability, data comparison, and the use of technology emphasising the need for effective data management solutions. The adoption of data management tools like Pulse Market can offer substantial cost benefits.  

Time was another significant concern voiced. The CSRD timeline is tight. Implementing CSRD strategies can be complex and time-consuming. Expert input early is key. Talk to us about our managed service with CSRD consultants with analytic and reporting expertise combine the power of our data management tools. 

The cost of implementing CSRD strategies was also highlighted. Companies are searching for cost-effective ways to implement their CSRD strategies. 

Other concerns raised is about limited awareness, lack of personnel, complexity, and CSRD not being taken seriously. There is clear need for greater education and awareness as well as adequate resources (time, expert people, and tools) to implement effective CSRD strategies.

Conclusion 

Ultimately CSRD is a positive step towards sustainability and transparency for large EU companies. However, it comes with challenges. To overcome these, companies must invest in the right resources, technology, and strategies to meet the rules while benefiting from improved sustainability and transparency. Businesses must continue to innovate and adapt in response to the evolving landscape of sustainability reporting. Companies that succeed in creating a thriving culture of implementing effective sustainability practice will enjoy long-term growth. In turn we can all then look forward to a more sustainable future. 

At Pulse HQ we are witnessing a ground swell of workshops and training sessions to raise CSRD awareness. This reminds us of the great GDPR panic of 2018. For those feeling confused but ready to take on the CSRD challenge our data management tools are the answer. 

Learn more about Pulse Tools. Book a demo today

The acronym buzzing around at our recent event, in Edinburgh, was V.U.C.A. If you are unfamiliar with V.U.C.A it stands for Volatile - Uncertain - Complex - Ambiguous. Which fits the turbulent times we are experiencing day to day. In today’s pressurised environment a new breed of procurement leader is emerging. Procurement leaders that are spearheading a new approach to procurement to help navigate an uncertain business world. 

This innovative breed of procurement professional is evolving alongside advances in RFx technology and smarter processes. They are using tech to free themselves from mind numbing tasks to focus on the strategic side of the role — allowing them greater influence with stakeholders and enhanced career prospects. The technology also enhances the ability to breakdown complex procurement decisions and make informed tactical purchasing decisions during a time of economic uncertainty.  

Today, procurement professionals even view a period of economic uncertainty as an opportunity. A time to broaden their roles and discover new thinking and innovative technology to make the job more interesting.  

Here are 7 ways new RFx technology is helping procurement professionals: 

As a result, roles such as 'Procurement Leader' are becoming more sought after by graduates, who are seeking these roles instead of falling into them. 

Discover the exciting new way for procurement professionals to do business and thrive during a period of V.U.C.A. 

Download our PDF to discover Pulse RFx for procurement

As a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. You're responsible for ensuring that your products or services are of the highest quality, that your employees are happy and productive, and that your customers are satisfied. Add on top of that you are dealing with the energy crisis, supply chain disruption and a looming recession. Then underlying all of those challenges, you have the ongoing worry about managing IT infrastructure, who hosts it, and of course what third parties have access to it and mitigating the risk of exposing your business to cyber threats. That's why supplier management of third parties is of paramount importance.

Cyber security risk management is centered around identifying gaps, monitoring and managing the potential risk third parties pose to your business.  

One of the most common IT problems faced by businesses today is the severity of data breaches. This can happen when a vendor does not have adequate security measures in place or when an employee of a vendor mishandles information and opens the back door to hackers. Data breaches can be devastating to a business, causing financial loss, damage to reputation, and loss of customer trust.  

Here a just a few of the big names attacked by cyber criminals exposing sensitive data and causing serious business disruption and damage to corporate reputation.

Text says more than 80% of UK organisations experienced some form of Cyber attack in 2021/2022

Businesses are increasingly storing sensitive data in the cloud, including client information, employee records, and intellectual property. With the terrifying rise in numbers of data breaches and cyber-attacks, businesses must be even more vigilant and diligent in protecting their information and evaluating their third party vendors and ensuring they are closing loopholes that could result in data leaks – accidental or malicious.  

Third party risk strategy should be embedded into every business as it is a solid foundation to build a resilient business.  

The first step to build a robust third party strategy is to identify all third parties your organisation engages with. Missing out that one supplier could be disastrous if they are the weak link that opens the door and welcomes in hackers.

Next evaluate the level of access each vendor has to your data.

Ask every vendor to complete a risk assessment questionnaire. The objective is to assess the level of risk based on how much access they have to sensitive data. You may require supplementary questions for third parties with higher level of access to data. Think about the organisations accessing your data from the IT company hosting your IT systems, your outsourced payroll holding employee data through to the small print company round the corner printing event invitations to your mailing list.  

An audit of third parties can be simply done with the right tools and will make it easy to conduct a thorough review of each vendor's cyber security policies and procedures, as well as their track record when it comes to compliance with regulations and data security protocols.  

One last point, you should also consider the financial stability of each vendor and their insurance coverage in the worst case scenario that something does go wrong. 

When the due diligence is complete you can feel confident that your chosen suppliers are the right third parties for your business.  

Supplier management is a vital part of any business's cyber security strategy. By conducting due diligence on vendors, identifying gaps and demanding they meet certain standards you are not only safeguarding your business but their business too.  

Take the steps now to resolve some of the most common IT problems, such as data breaches, compliance issues, and third-party risks before disaster strikes resulting in business disruption, reputational damage and hefty fines.  

Don’t bury you head in the sand, take control of your third-party relationships today. By managing suppliers, you stop exposing your business to a high level of unmanaged risk.

Book a demo today

If your client asks for your list of suppliers today, what would you do?

Some might think it odd to be asked for your company’s list of suppliers. However, this is becoming a frequently asked question during the procurement process. Companies are expected to share who they are doing business with and confirm they too are managing their suppliers and working with responsible companies. It is a fact that the corporate responsibility buck stops with your company and not the supplier further down the supply chain.  

The number of requests for supply chain due diligence is rising rapidly, this is due to the ongoing disruption to businesses on a global scale. Companies are desperately seeking stability in a quagmire of uncertainty. That is why businesses want to work with resilient companies who actively manage their third-party relationships. 

Every day, we hear more about the horrors of the climate crisis, rising inflation, cyber threats and the energy crisis. There is no escape. We are all experiencing the financial and environmental impact on a personal and business level, albeit at varying degrees. 

Let us not forget the disruption to the flow of goods and services along the fragile local and supply chains. The knock-on effect is that companies who are keen to ride the storm ahead need to buckle up and ensure they are doing business with the right suppliers. That is why more and more businesses are reaching out to their suppliers and carrying out robust due diligence. They need to know who you do business with and ask suppliers to fact check areas such as financial resilience or their ESG accreditation for example.  

One of our clients recently told us their team members are responding to approximately 30-60 requests a day to provide evidence of supplier due diligence. This is fast becoming the norm but why now? It is because consumers and businesses are collectively driving the demand for every company to act responsibly. 

How do you know who you are doing business with? 

To achieve this, you need to gain visibility of every supplier your company is doing business with. Also ensure the companies are the right ones to do business with – for you and your clients.  

3 steps to gain supply chain visibility? 

1 Digitise your supplier list in one location 

Assign a project manager to gather and collate a list of suppliers from every department. Upload them onto a digital supplier management platform and there is no need for out-of-date spreadsheets. 

2 Audit your supplier list 

The sooner all your suppliers are in one place the easier and faster it is to respond to due diligence enquiries surrounding your supply chains 

3 Create a community of responsible suppliers 

Audit and score each supplier and assess the risk of doing business with them on a single supplier management platform 

Be ready to provide a fully audited list of your suppliers with Pulse Market’s supplier management. Your clients will love you for this.  

Request a demo today and discover a suite of tools and features for supplier management.

Every day, businesses are challenged with making the right decisions that will keep them profitable and gain a competitive edge. One of the most critical decisions for any business is selecting the right suppliers they do business with and control risk. The way a business manages their supply chain is now under the spotlight like never before. Read on to find out why.

Why allocate resources to supplier management?

Transparency around who you do business with is paramount to be considered a company to be trusted and survive public scrutiny. Supplier management, however, can be a time-consuming process with back-and-forth emails, managing data in spreadsheets and saving files, documents and information, all wasting days, weeks and even months. Allocating time for supplier management can be even more difficult for resource poor SMEs struggling to keep up with new demands from customers and their own suppliers. 

Our clients tell us that they are dealing with an increasing number of daily requests from their customers who are demanding clarity around their supply chains. Companies keen to manage risk are right to request transparency around who suppliers are using and how ethical and sustainable the supply chain is. Consequently, every business must ensure they are buying from the right suppliers to mitigate risk that a supplier could expose your business to.  

Making sound, informed decisions about your company’s supply chain can be difficult. Especially when there are so many factors to consider, however, compromising on quality can be a deathblow to any business. The challenge for businesses without dedicated procurement teams is that they are struggling to reallocate resources. It is difficult to gather the right information and review suppliers to identify the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) gaps. However, refusing to compromise on who you do business with will help you thrive in demanding times.  

The challenge today is how can a business facing rising inflation and rising costs allocate resources to supplier management and gain the competitive edge.  The solution is Pulse Market.

Managing and aligning your supplier is easy! Talk to Pulse Market

Pulse Market is changing the game for SMEs and procurement professionals. Our platform provides clarity in an increasingly complex world, giving you the relevant information you need to manage your supply chain. Now you can upload, categorise, grade, and manage all your suppliers in a centralised digitised location.  

Get in touch today for a demo and take the pain out of supplier management. 

Being competitively priced is no longer enough to gain the competitive edge. Today organisations are judged on who they do business with and how they do business. Reputation can be damaged overnight by one weak supplier. Just one supplier can pose a huge risk to your business by exposing your company to vulnerabilities such as cyber security leaks, high carbon emissions or modern day slavery.

Take practical steps to attract the right suppliers

There are practical steps that businesses can take to ensure you attract the right suppliers, ones closely aligned with your values and will protect your businesses reputation. 

Firstly, it is important to be easy to deal with and this comes from within your organisation. Before contacting suppliers, ensure that internal communication is clear and goals are agreed upon.

Secondly, businesses should build a level playing field for all supplier types - small businesses should have the same opportunity to compete as larger businesses. Also, ask the right questions when considering suppliers, be specific about what you want in order to avoid wasting your time and your potential suppliers. Next, be highly specific about what you are looking for in a supplier. This will help to narrow down the search and ensure you find a supplier that meets your specific needs.

Remember that supplier management is an ongoing process - it is not a one-time exercise. You should assess, review, and maintain your supplier relationships on a regular basis to ensure the smooth running of your business and minimise risk.

Delve deeper and collaborate with your current and potential suppliers to support each other during the economic downturn and energy crisis. Now is a good to talk frankly and discuss ways to you can both save costs for example managing realistic deadlines to avoid overtime costs.  

Adopt the latest technology to streamline processes, collaborate and share information easily and enabling you to respond faster. By storing and retrieving relevant documents, you will be able to respond quickly to DDQs from third parties who are checking your cyber resilience, ESG accreditation.

Employ automation to avoid tedious copy and paste or arduous word searches seeking files on company systems. This frees up valuable resource to spend building meaningful human relationships with suppliers and accessing their expertise to proactively improve supplier relationships, together.  

In summary the 7 steps to building a good supplier relationship are: 

1 Be easy to deal with 

2 Agree priorities internally before reaching out to suppliers e.g cost, turnaround times, qualifications etc 

3 Build a level playing field for businesses of all shapes and sizes 

4 Ask the right questions to avoid time wasted 

5 Be highly specific about your requirements 

6 Outline your organisations minimum ISO requirements and accreditations 

7 Provide constructive feedback 

By attracting the right supplier you will help your business to run smoothly and avoid business disruption and damaged reputation.  

Ready to manage third party risk? Find out more about VRM on Pulse Market and book a call.

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