While I applaud Tiffany’s initial steps to make its operations more sustainable, I have to agree with Lynn that as of now, Tiffany’s bark is worse than its bite when it comes to climate initiatives. In fact, the Responsible Jewelry Council (RJC) co-founded in part by Tiffany’s has come under scrutiny over how effective its standards and practices really are for ensuring sustainable diamond sourcing (https://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/responsible-jewellery-council-ethical-standards). In fact, criticism of RJC makes me wonder how committed Tiffany’s actually is to living out the sustainable values the consumers of its luxury products are demanding. If Tiffany’s were truly dedicated to the cause, I believe we would be seeing seismic shifts in its sourcing and supply chain. Given that mining operations are the biggest culprit in Tiffany’s operations, a potentially obvious move for Tiffany’s would be to make a sizable investment in lab-grown diamonds. Somehow, though, I don’t think this is likely.
As I read this, I couldn’t help but think about an interesting convergence of trends: increasing interest in isolationism from the U.S. government on one side, and increasing demands from many consumers for local production and more transparent sourcing practices. In one sense, the Trump administration and “Buy Local” advocates are seeking the same outcome. By looking to move more of its supply chain to the U.S., Gildan could be killing two birds with one stone. For one, Gildan would be mitigating the risk of potential changes to free trade agreements or new protectionist policies by the U.S. government; at the same time, Gildan would potentially be creating a competitive advantage with “local-minded” companies and consumers through its sourcing strategy.
Fascinating topic – great choice for your essay, Anuj! I was not familiar with the Indian government’s protectionist policies, so this provided an interesting case study of protectionism in a developing economy with impacts on one of the most prominent U.S. companies in the world. It was an interesting perspective, since I am more used to reading about the impacts of U.S. protectionism on manufacturers from foreign (often Asian) manufacturers.
Concerning the Apple case, I agree that there are many benefits to Apple moving manufacturing to India, including cost and the ability to capture greater market share in India. However, I also agree with Ryu’s comment that there are many risks to Apple’s move in India. In addition to everything Ryu mentioned, if I were Apple I would be concerned with the risk that other governments might follow India and demand that Apple concede to domestic manufacturing requirements in order to have access to the market.
I agree that there is tremendous digitization potential for apparel supply chains. It is especially interesting to think of this potential in light of the current trend in consumer apparel toward increased customization. I can imagine a future, for example, where an Under Armour customer digitally scans their body in a store, and the specs are then digitally sent directly to a factory to begin producing athletic gear made bespoke for that customer’s body. Talk about just-in-time production!
What a fascinating read! Your paper makes me excited about the future possibilities for blockchain and other digital innovations on the supply chain. The potential upside is enormous: increased transparency for the end consumer about where their ingredients are sourced from, faster and more cost efficient responses to contaminated food epidemics, and increased pressure on suppliers to maintain standards of quality and safety. The difficult thing, as you pointed out, is the implementation. I actually agree with your suggestion that Walmart build out technical capabilities for blockchain tracking in house – this will help them maintain control and visibility over operations and help monitor and spread best practices among suppliers. At the same time, however, I can see value in Walmart and other major retailers outsourcing blockchain capabilities to a third party. This option would allow Walmart to remained focused on its core competency of retail operations and avoid the potential trouble of attracting top tech talent to Arkansas. Outsourcing to a third party would also allow better data collection, since data would be collected across suppliers from all participating retails, and faster response across retailers if contamination is discovered in a shared supplier.