Supply Chain Now Episode 357

“Companies are not necessarily aware of how their supply chain is sourced, but in this day and age with the empowered consumer, it’s so much easier for the consumer to find out, put pressure on the brands that they buy.”

– Dr. Assheton Stewart Carter, Founder & CEO of TDI Sustainability


Corporate sustainability issues have to be addressed collectively, not just by one industry or tier of company. The more global a supply chain is, the more necessary it is that they work with their business partners to address environmental impact and social inequality.

Dr. Assheton Carter, featured speaker at the AIAG CR Summit, is the Founder and CEO of TDI Sustainability. He is well aware of the complexities of consumer behavior – including the disconnect between their preference for ethically sourced goods but their reluctance to spend additional money on them at the point of purchase.

In this conversation, Dr. Carter shares his sustainability experience and recommendations with Supply Chain Now Co-hosts Greg White and Scott Luton:

  • How consumer preferences for ethically sourced products will accelerate with the growth of eCommerce, especially as they gain additional abilities to communicate with the brands they buy from
  • The hope that increased investment in recycling and the circular economy will drive down demand for raw materials, especially those with problematic supply chains
  • Business model changes that will be required to accommodate the preferences and requirements associated with sustainability


Intro – Amanda Luton (00:05):

It’s time for supply chain. Now broadcasting live from the supply chain capital of the country, Atlanta, Georgia, heard around the world. Supply chain now spotlights the best in all things, supply chain, the people, the technologies, the best practices, and the critical issues of the day. And now here are your hosts.

Scott Luton (00:28):

Hey, good morning, Scott Luton here with you on supply chain. Now welcome back to the show. On today’s episode we’re speaking with the CEO of one of the leading sustainability advisory firms in the world. This interview is part of our continuing collaboration with the automotive industry action group, so stay tuned as we look to increase your supply chain acute on a quick programming. Before we get started, if you enjoy today’s conversation, be sure to find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. Hey, want to welcome in my fearless cohost on today’s show. Once again, Greg white cereal supply chain, tech entrepreneur and trusted advisor. Greg, good morning. Good morning. I love how you give me credit for fearlessness. Well, great to be back with you and great to continue. Really a series of hits with these thought leaders that are plugged in in some way, shape or form with AIG. Right.

Assheton Carter (01:24):

Yeah. Love. I love, first of all, I love the initiative, right? A corporate responsibility initiative that AI ag is putting on and um, great hearing from all of these companies and how they are working to be better to, as we said earlier today, right. To do well by doing good.

Scott Luton (01:44):

Absolutely. Great point. And you’re referring to our supply chain buzz, which we live streamed earlier this morning. Um, when a welcome in. On that note, I want to welcome in our featured guests here today. Ashton Carter, PhD, CEO at TDI sustainability. Ashton, good morning. I’m wanting to see both. Great. Thank you for taking time out during a challenge, challenging set of circumstances and just a busy time in general.

Assheton Carter (02:11):

Great to have you here. Yeah. Great to be here.

Scott Luton (02:15):

So, uh, in typical fashion, we always liked that kind of start our podcast conversations, getting a sense of, of our featured guests and their personal and professional journey. So Ashton, if you would tell us, tell us a little bit about where you’re from, uh, and give us an anecdote or two about your professional journey leading to where you are now.

Assheton Carter (02:36):

So thank you very much. Well, I’m, I’m speaking to you from the, from the UK, which is where I was born and started my what? But I will say lived in Mmm. In the, in the U S for 12 years. And you’re right, it’s a good question. Um, you know, when we were, when I was at the high school, um, creating or joining us, sustainability wasn’t really on the, it wasn’t really on the list of professions you would choose. That is if it has been a bit of a journey. Mmm. So I wouldn’t say there’s ever kind of like one moment, one moment of awakening or realization that kind of drove in this direction that there’s certainly being a, um, a couple of the popular themes, um, throughout my career. Mmm. The first is, I guess for a long while, aye. You know, it’d been alarmed, sometimes even shocked and given to address the conversation of quantities and the environment, this use that, that we, that, that we all face and, and in some parts of the world are very obvious, you know, from the USA to Africa, from Europe to Asia.

Assheton Carter (03:42):

Um, and you know, I became very kind of conscious about these things and began to question what we could do about it and driven to and driven, driven to find, find solutions. But I’m not really an actress. I never wanted to, to kind of take to the streets and complain because I think that means by that is because I never kind of saw it as one individuals, the pool to one individual or one industry sector or government or an agency. But it’s more of a systemic problem, um, that we’ve got to address and we’ve got to address it, um, collectively. So that was kind of one of the themes which, um, kind of drove me to where I am. The second team is,

Scott Luton (04:22):

Hey, real quick question on that note, it sounds like, um, it’s more about the movement. It’s not about one individual action, but it’s more about a movement to really drive more to your point, a systemic change. Is that right?

Assheton Carter (04:39):

I think that’s absolutely right. Yeah. I mean, we, we’ve lived in, we’ve lived in, you know, our parents’ generation, my parents’ generation. They lived in a, in a world which is kind of binary but more binary. It’s very clear what was good and what was bad. And we hadn’t begun to, they hadn’t, the world hadn’t begun to feel like it does now. The strings of a growing population and, and resource use. Um, and you know, essentially the success and the economy now that we’ve had, but now we’re beginning to fill those strains, but it’s all part of a, a large system. And, you know, supply chains are one of those systems, um, which had kind of, um, uh, are, uh, immutably international. They’re not going to reverse. So the question is like, how do we enter into that system? What can we do as we’re all part of that system?

Assheton Carter (05:27):

What can we do to kind of come with different cogs and wheels to, um, to, to shift it in the right direction and away from social inequality and environmental damage. And, and that’s really where my second thing came in I think is, you know, cause I’ve always been fascinated by business, always seen businesses. A M as a creative, as a creative force, you know, creates jobs, creates technology, it creates solutions and creates value for great [inaudible] when it wrong and companies behave badly. Um, for sure it can hold up progress to a bit. But generally, um, you know, the business business does, the business sector does fine entrepreneurs, do you find ways to um, serve society to their products and services? And you look around you nowadays and the technology, the engineering, the innovative business models, um, Oh, kind of quite standing. Okay. So really, I guess why I’m here in the job that I do now is because I’ve tried to combine those two things. You know, how can you bring that creative force, um, of business too, um, be a part of, um, changing the system so that we avoid and reduce these environmental and social inequalities. And so it’s really this business as a force for good, um, love that. I want to find that sweet spot,

Scott Luton (06:52):

love that created that combining those two massive energies between the creative force that has business and doing good and, and, and doing good in a meaningful action oriented way. Um, real quick before we dive deeper into your, one of your organizations to the ass sustainability, you mentioned you lived for 12 years in the States. What part of the country?

Assheton Carter (07:13):

[inaudible] I was in Washington, beefy, but travel a lot around, um, in Washington DC at shows. Quite fortunate. I was working for a conservation group and also international development group in DC. And um, we got to work with some of the biggest, um, biggest us companies. So we worked with Ford motor company, we worked with, um, I helped Disney, um, build the sustainability program with Marriott, um, United airlines. Um, so it was a great experience because of course the U S is as vast in its economic power and win, it turns its mind to doing something good. Um, it, it, it excels on the global stage.

Scott Luton (07:56):

I appreciate you sharing that. We’re gonna have to bring you back for deeper dives into those, those engagements with some of those iconic brands you mentioned. Um, it does sound like this is been quite a journey for you. I mean, sort of a natural progression into TDI I think. And, um, you know, this in its way has led you here, so can you tell us a little bit about what you’re doing? Yeah,

Assheton Carter (08:28):

yeah. So I mean, I, I’ve formed TDI sustainability only about, um, six years ago. It really, because I noticed that, um, so, uh, you know, a few firms who Mmm [inaudible], uh, expertise and sort of engineering some who provide expertise on kind of risk management, some who did more kind of strategic, um, um, engagement. Um, but none of them really kind of brought it all together on the me Fe sustainability banner. And, you know, we believe, are you still on the PDI sustainability about to be a sustainable, the company, you know, it’s as much about, it’s all those different facets of the business. Of course, it’s about how do you, um, maintain a profitable, um, business and the resilient brand. Um, but how do you actually manage your risk? How do you, um, capture value from marketing? Um, and you know, how do you actually demonstrate you how to positive impact.

Assheton Carter (09:25):

So what we try to do is combine those different things under one roof. Mmm. So we have, Mmm, you know, everybody can afford different segments. We have TDI strategies, which is where we have our longterm engagements to advise companies on how to structure for sustainability and be recognized for what they’re good at. Um, we also have TDI research where we do, um, a deep dive into responsible sourcing and where materials come from. And that was one of the things I’ll be speaking about at the upcoming conference. That is a publication we came out with, uh, 18 months ago called material change that maps and identifies the risks associated with 50 different. Um, cause you different materials supply by also, um, brought my auto companies, electronic companies, and then we had TDI audit, which is really the, um, the due diligence and risk management. Then finally, the one which is really exciting for us is PDI impact.

Assheton Carter (10:22):

We don’t want to stay, um, an investment, an impact investment vehicle, which is really a platform for downstream companies. Also companies and electronics and jewelry companies. Um, the money to put the money they have available under their grant budgets to good use upstream and invest directly into, into mining communities and farming communities. Mmm. So they can actually help those communities, which are right at the other end of their supply chain build, um, viable small businesses. So you pull that all together and it’s a way to connect the system. Is this downstream with the upstream or move it into in, uh, in the right direction towards, you know, business as a force for good, um, across the whole value chain.

Scott Luton (11:08):

So you’re really helping these companies first of all know where they are in, in terms of fair trade or,

Assheton Carter (11:17):

um, you know, or, or

Scott Luton (11:19):

ethical business practice, get to where they want to be and then verify that they get or, or sustain that. And then to fund further exercises in that regard. It sounds like you handle all aspects.

Assheton Carter (11:33):

Yeah, I mean, um, you know, a perfect engagement prof, um, might start, um, where the company wants to understand it’s supply chain. Um, so, um, you know, some of our brands might have, you know, they could have, you know, 60 different supply chains and they might, you know, 30 or 40 different materials and they don’t know where all those materials come from and they don’t know whether those materials are associated with things that are going on because the interest of our brand from reputation or, um, or, you know, some event that triggers a media response. Um, and these can range from all the different minerals and metals three to buy plastics, the cycle plastics, lever rubber, um, the whole kind of dammit. Really. Okay. And so we help them identify what are those materials and what are the respected risks between them. And they need to know that so they can actually prioritize cause you can’t do everything on day one.

Assheton Carter (12:36):

So how do we actually prioritize and then as you said, to go and verify those practices and set up a strategy, even verify those practices or those suppliers and then to prioritize, you know, if you want to actually make a difference, how can you actually do that upstream. So one example of that is, um, um, the work we’re doing with cobalt and the Democratic Republic of the Congo am cobalt as you know, is um, one of the main ingredients for the batteries. Sure. Important for our future mobility. Right. Um, and then the DRC is also, you know, if you read, if you Google DRC and cobalt mining, you’ll see that it’s associated with child labor and human rights issues and environmental problems. Um, and the answer, the, one of the challenges for, um, companies is bad. You know, you might have cobalt in your product. Mmm. But the chain, it might pass through 40 different hands before it gets to you.

Assheton Carter (13:43):

He goes from you, the small scale mind, autism mind three, two crude refiner exporter to refinery, um, in China, then to a parts manufacturer and eventually kind of winds its way down. So your problem is a balancing company is how can you actually contribute to making a difference upstream when you don’t have that direct line of that direct line of connection. And so what we’ve done there, we’ve launched something called the fair cobalt coalition and we’ve, um, we have several companies in Europe, um, and some coming on board in the U S and also in China and we’re getting together two, um, and also the government of the Netherlands as well. I’m getting together too, creator a fund so we can invest into those small scale mines and help to eradicate child labor alternatives to dangerous mining and improve the situation at the mine. Mmm.

Assheton Carter (14:38):

So wow, that’s really, that’s really exciting because you, you know, you can help companies, Mmm. Understand their risks, manage their risk, but also turn that on its head and turn it into a buck to you. Um, and provide a platform for companies actually to demonstrate that that part of this solution, not just the name part of the, not just part of the problem. Well, I think that that’s, I mean that’s a big initiative and I think that it’s important for companies to resolve that, first of all, it’s the right thing to do, which, um, seems so unnecessary to say, but at times also, I think as you said, companies are not necessarily aware of how their supply chain is sourced, but in this day and age with the empowered consumer, it’s so much easier for the consumer to find out, put pressure on the brands that they buy.

Assheton Carter (15:35):

Um, and, and it reflects on those brands as well. We’ve been talking about this quite a bit, Ashton, in terms of, um, consumer awareness and I think that that will help the initiatives that you all are, are undertaking. Have you seen anything in that regard? Yeah, I mean, I think, um, I mean, I guess I’ve been doing this for 25 years now. And if I go back to all the studies, I’m looking at consumer behavior, um, I was even reading one today and they all say similar things that when you interview consumers, Mmm. They express the sentiment, but they prefer to buy a product that they know is more ethical or has less environmental damage. Um, but when it actually comes to the, when it comes to the cash till they continue to buy the products that they know. Um, so it’s difficult that it’s switch targets, you know, we’ve hit that price.

Assheton Carter (16:30):

Yeah. But that fed, you know, yeah. If you look just at the consumer, the consumer, you know, the opinions of consumers not only mediated through a cash sale, it also comes through the rise of the civil society. Um, so from NGOs and rights groups and they in turn put pressure on regulators. And so we have, I have seen in the last five to 10 years a real acceleration, um, an uptick in, um, the pressure from different areas. Um, this year in particular in Europe, I’m a little bit in the U S but in Europe in particular is a big focus on the investment sector and the investment set them out in Europe have to report on their investments on this is a whole new area where they’ve kind of ill-equipped at the moment on the stand, the different kind of sustainability in their investments. Um, and yeah, and for sure consumers, uh, I think especially now that we’re going to see an acceleration of, um, um, E commerce and the ability of consumers to comment, communicate, um, to those platforms. Yeah. I think it’s immutable and there it’s a very sticky, um, it’s, it’s a sticky phenomenon that isn’t going to go away. Hmm. So it sounds

Scott Luton (17:50):

like you’ve got a pretty, you’ve got a lot going on. I mean, with the phases of your business that you have. So a lot of people have a certain perception of the CEO and their role in a company. Can you give us an idea of what your day to day it looks like?

Assheton Carter (18:06):

Yeah, no, that’s good. Um, I think CEO’s sort of do everything really. I guess the, I mean, although I, you know, I manage our team of 20 or so people. Mmm. Really, I haven’t separated myself from the technical details and I kind of think of my job as, you know, having a suit in the boardroom, but the kind of boots in the mud when you’re going out to the field. So I in normal circumstances, not just now of course, I probably found spending 50% of my time traveling quite often to places like the Congo and Kenya, Tanzania, Ukraine, Mmm. Mid Georgia, um, South America, Columbia, Peru, um, to go out to these minds and these farms and these plantations where raw materials come from so I can understand for myself, Mmm. What are, what the conditions are like and what can be done. Um, and then a lot of my time is spent, um, you know, talking with our clients, you know, you, it’s really, it’s really a dialogue and it’s a, it’s about listening. You have to understand as much as you possibly can. Um, what are the issues that phrase facing what problems both inside their organizations and act. Yeah. Um, and then, you know, adapt our services to, to serve them completely.

Scott Luton (19:34):

So let’s, um, I want to broaden the conversation, Ashton, but I can’t help to go back to what you and Greg were talking about in terms of consumer sentiment. Um, you know, Greg and I discussed earlier this morning, uh, some recent Accenture research that showed at 42% of consumers say that they would stop using a brand if they disagreed with its words or actions on a social issue. So, you know, we all learned about the importance of communications and our, and our schooling, but gosh, picking the right stances and the right words, which have a value, uh, are arguably never more important than they are today.

Assheton Carter (20:18):

Yeah, I mean, um, you mentioned just before we ran on that, that’s, um, one thing that you look for as a authentic communication. Um, so we, we’re part of a, I’m an exercise doing a survey of generation Z and China, Mmm. A year ago for luxury brand, trying to understand what those 16, 17, 18 year olds are, our thinking and how that affects things. And two trends came through there. Um, okay. Possible in China, you know, contrary to popular belief, um, people are very directly affected by what we kind of think of as core responsibility and sustain them. But a team that’s because they base, you know, um, quite intense pollution, many of these cities, um, and they can see it affecting their, affecting their health and health is definitely, um, um, something which is arising, trend and cave in 19 is a Muslim blood. I’ve asked them to accelerate as well. Um, but one thing they said is back, no. One of the things which actually kind of, it got me really interested in what I do, whereas,

Assheton Carter (21:30):

um, the inconvenient truth, which seems like a long time ago now, do you remember the inconvenient tree? Yeah. Mmm. They don’t like the inconvenient truth if they don’t like facts and figures. So they don’t respond anymore. And I think that’s one thing that’s changed. Is that right? The Oh authority figure is no, there’s no longer has that same Mmm. That same trust in the public, in fact, um, last year when the surveys pointed out, but people are much more likely to, um, respond to, you know, thumbs up and thumbs down on social media than they are to report with lots of figures and charts in it. Okay. What they do respond to is, is stories and words that resonate strongly with a set of values. And they really do follow, um, icons with our generation. Mmm. He said those values as well. So I think to reach, to reach the, you know, the upcoming generation who have a, you know, audibly a stronger interest in what happens in the next 50 years. And some of us do, um, we need to, you know, really under row rather than five of them are facts and figures and try and make the case from a logical perspective. We need much more to, um, address it from a, um, an emotional and I’m sensing perspective. Um, I make sure that we speak to them authentically in a genuine way because they’ll, you know, sniff out the bullshit

Scott Luton (22:59):

pretty quick. Can you, I agreed. Agree. I love that. And you know, Greg, we can’t, we can’t pass over when you asked about Ashton’s role, I love this and I’m a blatantly still it suit in the boardroom and boots in the mud went out in the field. I mean that is, that paints such a great picture, doesn’t it? Yeah, yeah. I mean it’s, it’s a broad base role, right. And in an organization your size, I mean really any size it’s very appropriate. Yup. And read. Alright, so Ashton, as promised, let’s broaden the discussion out that you’re, you’ve already in just a few minutes time, been speaking at a lot of speaking to very intelligently on a lot of trends that are impacting just global supply chain but global business. Um, so what else, when, when you, when you think of the trends and developments that are shaping and innovation shaping global supply chain today, what else comes to mind that you’re tracking more than others?

Assheton Carter (24:01):

Well, the one that comes to front of mind at the moment and you know, sticking with, um, mineral and methyls Terrell supply chains is the relationship, the relationship between this circular economy, um, movement and a syndication core. The sources of the materials that we, that we need to build automobiles and electronics and, and we use a lot in construction. Um, so you know, the critical manuals like kind of manganese and copper, cobalt and molybdenum, zinc and even led, um, which is still used a lot in a lot in batteries. Now the hope is that the circular economy, this new way of thinking or the buyer’s way of thinking is gonna somehow the juice, the need for these materials. But we been doing some work recently with the world economic forum and looking at these trends and we can see that the, even with the potential of some of these for economy, Mmm.

Assheton Carter (25:05):

Initiatives, which is really kind of looking mostly at the cycling, the, the, the demand gap for these cooking materials is going to only grow over the next 10 or 15 years. Um, and so, you know, the hope that just recycling more, which is of course is a good thing to do, um, is going to reduce the need for raw materials. Um, isn’t totally true or not evident yet. Um, and so really can’t, is going to have to look at two things. They’re going to have to look cook. Um, yes. How do we, um, getting involved in the search for economy, um, but also where these war materials going to come from that we need. And although for sure with, um, Corena virus supply chains are gonna shift, especially a Powell and food supply chains, you know, minerals can’t just be moved around the world, their mind where they’re found.

Assheton Carter (26:00):

And so we’re going to have to figure out how are we going to have those materials on the market in places such as the DRC and, um, Ukraine and other places, um, which sometimes a little bit scary for downstream companies. Are we going to figure out how to, how’d you get them at? Also, again, have to look to see, uh, and begin to make a judgment about whether we want to go to pieces we haven’t been thought of before. So another project we’re working on is looking at deep sea mining. So this is looking, um, deep under the ocean to the ocean floor to extract cobalt and manganese and copper to Arab parts of the world that no one has ever been to. Um, that’s where it’s so dark. You can’t even see. Um, I may have to make a judgment whether that is better than getting it from, you know, an area which is known for, which is named for conflict.

Assheton Carter (26:57):

Cause those are interesting things. And finally I think it’s, what is that going to all that together? Is that going to mean for some of the traditional industries like mining, which are used to digging the hole in the ground and the covering minerals and sending it to market. And I think one thing that we’re beginning to see now is that the business model might change change. And instead of being mining companies, they own assets around the world, they might become Mmm. Mining service providers. Um, and that job would be to seek how to extract it. Then also different applications from different sources that haven’t traditionally been. I’m seeing. So I think over the next 10 years we’re going to see emergence of these sort of questions coming up and of course, um, auto companies and downstream industries are going to have to be part of that conversation. Um, and think of what are the implications of that business and most of me responsible sourcing,

Scott Luton (27:54):

you know. Um, so if I can pose this question to you and this, this, we didn’t get a chance to talk about this pre-show, but I really, um, one of the things that we’ve, we have spoken a lot about on any conversation that touches on sustainability and certainly the bigger picture circular economy is in. Greg, we were just talking about that this morning. You and I, we were talking about how we’ve got to push circularity thinking upstream, uh, and, and get it baked more effectively into, um, company’s strategy and so that we can really make as much progress as possible. I’m not, I can’t put that as elegantly as it needs to be stated. But Ashton wants you to get weigh in on that if you would. What instead of being in reactive mode, what are some of the ways that you’re seeing companies really move this thinking and in the discussions and the planning upstream so that we can get more done?

Assheton Carter (28:51):

Biopsying you mean upstream in the supply chain up the mine or you mean?

Scott Luton (28:55):

Yeah, that and in terms of upstream, maybe in a different way, meaning, um, you know, planning for it, upfront planning for it and product design instead of trying to figure out what to do with products after they’ve been made, you know, baking in CE, thinking in terms of manufacturability and product design.

Assheton Carter (29:16):

Yeah, no, I think that’s obviously right to me. I mean we sight thing is, um, really a matter of infrastructure and we just need to have, um, infrastructure built to, to recover. So in some ways, although that’s necessary and it’s surprising how some supply chains still have a lot only way to get it, there’s consumer waste. At least that’s a trend, which is understood. But to me the most exciting one is just as you say, is the, is the design. So it’s designing for the circular economy and how are we going to do that? Mmm. You know, how do you make disassembling equipment easier so it’s easier to recycle, you know, how can you make things more durable? No, we have one client, a small client, um, but innovative called Fasten, um, in the Netherlands, um, and Fairphone um, although it was getting there, it also gets, um, you know, fair trade gold into its product.

Assheton Carter (30:14):

It also has a modular thing. So this can be taken apart into like six to eight different pieces and it’s designed like that from the outset. So they only have, I mean, announced their phase three and they’d been around, you know, Kendall, 12 years, wherever, wherever kind of, I’m trying to companies, so thing companies would no change there devices every 18 months. So they’d been really thinking very hard about right now outset, how do you design the product? Um, so it’s more durable, but also retains its attractiveness to the consumer out of the cost. What is expected in the market. You know, and some European car manufacturers also done that and they designed cars with the decommissioning in mind. So how can a car be tied to dismantle without any bit going to landfill? So those sort of things I think is going to be the cutting edge if we can never released them. Um, yeah. Yeah, we can at least some resources too. Push about that innovation. [inaudible]

Assheton Carter (31:21):

so I wonder, this could be a really, um, really deep conversation, Ashton. So let me know if this is a deep or a dumb question, but, um, you know, the attributes for which we mined cobalt and manganese and some of these other items. I wonder if are companies exploring how to get the same attributes or capabilities without those products? Is anyone doing that yet? Then you have substitution. Yeah. Um, so in the, in the material change report that I mentioned earlier, um, and that I’ve been asked to comment on at the conference, that substitute ability was one of the, um, was one of the parameters that you looked at for different products. Um, so the answer is that, you know, some people are looking at that. It’s a matter of economics. Um, and how you can then as a ways, but there are some things that should just, um, you know, very difficult to replace such as sink.

Assheton Carter (32:28):

For example, Zane subspecialist metal. It’s a study said a lot with kind of steel and especially its applications are still, um, you know, although many of these industry institutions and military companies and electronic companies looked at alternatives, bye. They can’t always find them. So I think they will be, um, some substitutes. Um, also I think you’re talking about the consumer. I mean, I think this is the, the complexity of the consumer. Yes. As we kind of mentioned earlier, they want to buy products which are seem to be more sustainable, the less harmful, but they also have a quality standard as well. So yeah, it’s his kids. One example is like, you know, it’s perfectly possible now to, um, to manufacture never, Mmm. Artificially, um, or from recycle spouts of leather. Um, and to make that feel like Northern smell like, um, isn’t never, um, but if you speak to the luxury auto companies, again, there’s no way that we can sell a car at the post 0.1 to sell a car if we don’t real genuine hide into that automobile.

Assheton Carter (33:39):

Um, because our customers went to expect accepted. So there’s a, so there’s a bit of a, you know, there’s got to be education, you know, there’s got to be educational. There’s got to be some trigger. It says, you know, perhaps it’s okay to have a different type of quality of that from that, which I’m used to. And it can still be just as enjoyable, but also please less pressure on and they plan it and Mmm. And peep on people. Yeah. Interesting. Well, you, you mentioned earlier that you’re, uh, you are giving another talk right at the, at the conference or at the summit. So it makes me think, I wonder what, um, yeah, we’ve talked, we’ve talked to a lot of people who are, who are attending or contributing to this summit and I’m curious what value you see or you get or you recommend to people from, uh, AIAG.

Assheton Carter (34:40):

Yeah, I mean, in the end of the day, TDI sustainability is a problem solving agency. You know, um, the, the Valley we create hope clears through. Um, yeah, anticipating, understanding, responding, creating, um, solutions to the problems that businesses face so they can no hope to advance on the journey to, um, having a positive impact. So the fifth, this conference really gives us an opportunity to listen and I mean, really listen to what it is that, um, our clients and prospective clients, um, what problems they’re facing and also to, yeah, brainstorm a little bit, go back and forth on some of the ideas that we’ve been having, how we can, and I push this forward, push this mission, this, this, this agenda forward, um, in a way that allows for the increase, the, the, the continued profitability, those companies while demonstrating how they’re,

Scott Luton (35:39):

okay. Yeah. We’re certainly big fans. We we’ve enjoyed collaborating with, with uh, Jim and Tanya and AIG team in a number of different ways over the last, uh, on the going back probably the summer 2019 and looking forward to, uh, all the programming as part of the CSR summit, uh, coming up really soon here. So, um, Ashton, we want to make sure, uh, I am positive that we’re going to have folks in our audience and our listenership that want to reach out and compare notes with you and learn more about TDI, TDI sustainability. Um, how can folks reach out to you and how can folks also learn more about your firm? That was great. Yeah. Thanks Leo. Entity,

Assheton Carter (36:25):

probably the best way is through, um, my LinkedIn and that’s, um, Ashlyn Carter is my LinkedIn name. Um, so kind of rolled out and also adults ways. It’s a double S H O N coffee. I’m all straight to a website and the URL, which is TDI

Scott Luton (36:44):

Perfect. Perfect. That’s simple. Yep. Um, well, really have enjoyed it. It’s tough to, uh, do justice to these really big picture meaningful ideas and in less than an hour that we’ll have to reconnect with you again soon here. Ashlynn really appreciate your thought leadership expertise and your passion around not just sustainability but, but really, um, social responsibility that is so fortunately so, um, it seems to be more prevalent now than, than in years past. And that’s, that’s a good thing. Greg, your take. Um, I’m glad we’re having this discussion. You know, we talk a lot about sustainability. One of the things we need to talk about more is F ethicality in supply chain, right? Yeah. Mmm. And I think, you know, the, there’s no, there’s no reason to continue to sustain these old methods and some of these so ridiculous child labor and slave, even slavery and things like that.

Scott Luton (37:43):

And um, you know, that’s virtually unfathomable and frankly, um, unknown by so many people in the world, which is about the only reason that it exists. And I see, I see companies and advocates, as you mentioned before, Ashton, I see advocates and activists starting to go more directly to the people rather than even to the government agencies to drive this kind of change. And I think that’s a, that’s a really good thing to see and that will probably accelerate change. Great point there Greg. Well, thanks again Ashton Carter, PhD CEO at TDI sustainability. Really appreciate your time and look forward to reconnecting with you at the event pretty much and I’m very much looking forward to it. All right, so to our listeners, uh, be sure to check that mean to cut you off there. Greg, I know you had a comment. Thank you. Easy enough. Um, to our listeners, be sure to check out a wide variety of industry thought find us and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts from. On behalf of the entire team here, Greg Wyatt, Scott Luton, Amanda Clay, Kelly, Michelle, you name it. We wish you a successful week ahead. Stay safe, don’t panic. Please though. Follow the expert advice and precautions that have been distributed. And know this, that brighter days. Lie ahead. So we’re going to see next time here on spot.

Would you rather watch the show in action?  Watch as Scott and Greg welcome AIAG CR Summit speaker, Dr. Assheton Carter, to Supply Chain Now.

Dr. Assheton Stewart Carter is a business sustainability expert, a social entrepreneur and a responsible investment advisor. For the last 25 years he has focused on helping businesses create value that benefits their shareholders, communities and wider society. He began his career in London’s financial markets, first as a wealth manager serving high net worth clients, and then as an asset manager at the broker Hoare Govett. He is the CEO and Founder of TDI Sustainability, a global advisory firm established to support businesses – from artisanal mine to multinational corporations – in the natural resources, electronics, automotive, luxury and investment industries develop sustainably. The team use their expertise to build and audit responsible supply chains that work for people, for business and for the planet. Assheton has extensive experience in structuring innovative green supply chains. He built the first ethical gold and diamond supply chain to jewellers in the USA, and developed the world’s first tracking system for conflict-free metals sourced from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), a system which continues to be used by electronics manufacturers in Europe to this day. Assheton chairs boards and expert panels for standard-setting organisations, NGOs and private companies worldwide. He lectures at leading international universities such as Georgetown University, Washington D.C.; Cornell University, New York; the University of Warwick; the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge. His opinions have featured in the Washington Post, the Financial Times, The Guardian, and The Economist. Assheton holds a first-class degree from the Royal Agricultural University and a PhD from the University of Bath.

Greg White serves as Principle & Host at Supply Chain Now. Greg is a founder, CEO, board director and advisor in B2B technology with multiple successful exits. He recently joined Trefoil Advisory as a Partner to further their vision of stronger companies by delivering practical solutions to the highest-stakes challenges. Prior to Trefoil, Greg served as CEO at Curo, a field service management solution most notably used by Amazon to direct their fulfillment center deployment workforce. Greg is most known for founding Blue Ridge Solutions and served as President & CEO for the Gartner Magic Quadrant Leader of cloud-native supply chain applications that balance inventory with customer demand. Greg has also held leadership roles with Servigistics, and E3 Corporation, where he pioneered their cloud supply chain offering in 1998. In addition to his work at Supply Chain Now and Trefoil, rapidly-growing companies leverage Greg as an independent board director and advisor for his experience building disruptive B2B technology and supply chain companies widely recognized as industry leaders. He’s an insightful visionary who helps companies rapidly align vision, team, market, messaging, product, and intellectual property to accelerate value creation. Greg guides founders, investors and leadership teams to create breakthroughs that gain market exposure and momentum, and increase company esteem and valuation. Learn more about Trefoil Advisory:


Scott W. Luton is the founder & CEO of Supply Chain Now. He has worked extensively in the end-to-end Supply Chain industry for more than 15 years, appearing in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Dice and Quality Progress Magazine. Scott was named a 2019 Pro to Know in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Executive and a 2019 “Top 15 Supply Chain & Logistics Experts to Follow” by RateLinx. He founded the 2019 Atlanta Supply Chain Awards and also served on the 2018 Georgia Logistics Summit Executive Committee. He is a certified Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and holds the APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) credential. A Veteran of the United States Air Force, Scott volunteers on the Business Pillar for VETLANTA and has served on the boards for APICS Atlanta and the Georgia Manufacturing Alliance. Follow Scott Luton on Twitter at @ScottWLuton and learn more about Supply Chain Now here:


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