Target Leverage Points

Description

Consider where your organisation is uniquely positioned to influence positive change.

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Identifying key leverage points will help you effectively tackle complex and interconnected value chain sustainability issues.

Collaborate to understand the potential root causes of issues

Engaging in strategic collaborations is vital for understanding the root causes of sustainability issues and identifying leverage points.¹ You can focus on the most impactful areas by mapping key value chain players, understanding their processes, and assessing environmental, social, and governance risks. Tools like the systems iceberg model can help you decipher the interconnections within your value chain and discover high-impact sustainability solutions. Broaden your influence by seeking collaboration with organisations that share your suppliers, sourcing regions, concerns, vision, or values. Joining or developing multi-stakeholder partnerships can help tackle key leverage points in your value chain. Various forms of collaboration, from regular meetings, workshops, and joint initiatives to buyer events, surveys, or focus groups, can provide opportunities for shared learning, problem-solving, and capacity building.

EXAMPLE: Fair Cobalt Alliance²

Fairphone co-established an alliance to tackle labour abuses in artisanal cobalt mining, including child labour. The alliance includes industry leaders, governments, and NGOs, focusing on child labour prevention and providing education and alternative career training.³

EXAMPLE: ACT on Living Wages Initiative

ACT is an industry-wide initiative targeting the living wage issue in the textile and garment sector. Recognising that retailers alone cannot achieve 'living wages,' the initiative involves manufacturers and unions. It encourages collective bargaining, freedom of association, and responsible buying.⁴

EXAMPLE: Tony's Open Chain Platform

Tony's Chocolate initiated The Open Chain to help chocolate makers eradicate modern slavery and illegal child labour. The platform acknowledges that the "profit-centric, anonymous" chocolate supply chain is skewed, leaving farmers poor and powerless. The platform has designed 5 Sourcing Principles for buyers to follow.⁵ ⁶

EXAMPLE: Conveners find collaborators to tackle marine plastic pollution

NextWave Plastic, co-founded by Lonely Whale and Dell Technologies, is a group of companies fighting marine plastic pollution. Acting as an impartial convener, Lonely Whale identified potential collaborators among companies already integrating ocean-bound plastics into their supply chain.⁷ ⁸

EXAMPLE: The Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh⁹

The Accord is a binding agreement by global brands and trade unions ensuring safety in the Bangladeshi Ready-Made Garment industry after the Rana Plaza collapse. The Accord signifies a shift towards multi-stakeholder governance with an independent inspection program, public disclosure, brand-funded remediation, and worker empowerment via training and complaint mechanisms.

Resources
Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System cover

Leverage Points: Places to Intervene in a System

The late Donella Meadows identified twelve leverage points for effecting change in a system - in other words, places where a "small shift in one thing can produce big changes in everything." This resource will help you to understand and identify these leverage points so that you can readily act upon them.

Leverage Points: A Guide for Systems Innovators cover

Leverage Points: A Guide for Systems Innovators

This guide by the Si Network provides a detailed and engaging overview of how to use leverage points for systems change. It will introduce leverage points and a set of approaches to guide your application of them. These approaches are systems aikido, systems acupuncture, and system gardening.

INSIDER: Systems Mapping — A Vital Ingredient for Successful Partnerships,  cover

INSIDER: Systems Mapping — A Vital Ingredient for Successful Partnerships,

This article by WRI makes the case that systems mapping is essential for collective action. It can help you and your collaborators understand your value chain as a system and how to align your value chain strategies. It includes a list of relevant tools and practical examples.

The Breakthrough Effect: How to Trigger A Cascade of Tipping Points to Accelerate The Net Zero Transition cover

The Breakthrough Effect: How to Trigger A Cascade of Tipping Points to Accelerate The Net Zero Transition

This report by Systemiq, University of Exeter, and Simon Sharpe identifies three low-cost interventions that could trigger feedback loops leading to decarbonisation at scale. These tipping points are expected to have cascading impacts across ten sectors responsible for 70% of global emissions.

A Time for Transformative Partnerships: How Multi-stakeholder Partnerships Can Accelerate the UN Sustainable Development Goals cover

A Time for Transformative Partnerships: How Multi-stakeholder Partnerships Can Accelerate the UN Sustainable Development Goals

This report by WRI examines how partnerships can help companies address the SDGs through transformative change. Based on a study of 41 partnerships, it distils 14 general success factors and four common factors found in the most transformative ones.

Collaborative Transformation: The art of making international trade more sustainable cover

Collaborative Transformation: The art of making international trade more sustainable

A short eBook by IDH that shares ten years of first-hand experience in using collaborative transformation to enable sustainability transitions within global value chains, covering five key dimensions and examples from commodity industries.