Map Your Value Chain


Understand your extended network of suppliers, distributors, and customers.

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Value chains have become increasingly long and complex,¹ ² making it more challenging to identify sustainability risks, impacts, and opportunities. Understanding the origins of your goods and services, including where and how they are made, is crucial.

Identify your direct value chain partners

Use your procurement data to identify your most relevant categories with high potential for sustainability improvement, keeping in mind factors like revenue and procurement spend, as well as strategic priorities and sustainability interests.³ Identify your direct suppliers for these top categories, key customers, and end users. This information, including site locations and activities, can be visualised with a map or diagram to help you understand your value chain.⁴ If there are known high-risk regions or suppliers, you will also want to prioritise them at this stage. While software can help⁵, combining tools and stakeholder engagement often provides a more comprehensive picture.

EXAMPLE: Campbell Soup Company commodity mapping

Campbell’s first mapping effort⁶ focused on identifying hotspots in their supply chain for sustainability risk related to 14 priority ingredients sourced from 5 countries. Campbell’s expanded their second mapping effort to 30 ingredients and added detail by including human rights, governance, and water metrics.

EXAMPLE: Patagonia's transparent supply chain mapping

Patagonia engaged in an effort to map its supply chain and provide transparency on product origins. Leveraging technology, data entry, and intensive collaboration, they have created an interactive online platform ⁷ that locates factories globally, providing customers with better insights into the manufacturing journey of each product.⁸

EXAMPLE: Mapping against the SDGs

Heineken's 'Barley to Bar' strategy⁹ maps its entire value chain against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as part of their Brew a Better World initiative. This method covers sustainable agriculture practices, human rights risks to smallholder farmers, the commitment to net-zero emissions by 2030, environmentally conscious packaging, optimised distribution, and customer-focused initiatives promoting responsible drinking and transparency.

EXAMPLE: Mapping sustainability: an innovative approach to transparent cocoa sourcing

Cargill Cocoa & Chocolate boosts supply chain sustainability via its Cargill Cocoa Promise Sourcing Partner Network¹⁰. This interactive map discloses the locations of direct sourcing partners across Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Cameroon. Leveraging GPS and satellite technology in partnership with organisations like the World Resources Institute, the initiative aims to increase transparency and tackle issues like deforestation and child labour in the cocoa industry.

Map lower-tier suppliers, distributors, and customers

Next, you will need to expand your mapping efforts by tracing materials back to their origins, especially for high-spend procurements or categories. This exercise might require suppliers to disclose details about their facilities, other suppliers, and intermediaries. The further down the supply chain, the more challenging this can be, but this is where supplier collaboration comes in.¹¹ You can involve industry groups, NGOs, or government agencies for additional data. Be aware that suppliers may hesitate to disclose information for fear of repercussions. Building trust, offering incentives, and assuring anonymity can help. You could also consider third-party mapping services or traceability tools. Once you've gathered this data, layer further information, such as local labour standards or environmental factors. Remember that this process will take time and might reveal previously unknown sub-suppliers. You must also plan how best to capture and store this data for future use.

EXAMPLE: VF Corporation supply chain mapping

VF Corporation has implemented extensive supply chain mapping¹², tracing raw materials to finished products across 40 countries and thousands of suppliers. The company achieved its goal of publishing 100 product traceability maps by December 2021 and aims to trace five critical materials through 100% of its supply chain by 2027.

EXAMPLE: GIS for real-time risk and sustainability management

General Motors (GM) uses Geographic Information System (GIS) technology to map its global supply chain for real-time risk monitoring¹³ . The system accelerates crisis responses and helps GM meet sustainability goals by identifying suppliers in politically or environmentally risky areas. This dual functionality ensures operational continuity while upholding GM's ESG commitments.

EXAMPLE: Collaboration with NGO for supply chain transparency

Procurers, suppliers and brands work with Electronics Watch (EW) in the IT sector to make electronics value chains more transparent and identify production sites and high-risk factories. EW monitors these factories for compliance with labour and environmental standards and engages in dialogue with workers and communities to understand their concerns and perspectives.

EXAMPLE: Charting emissions hotspots with CHR Hansen's 2030 decarbonisation strategy

CHR Hansen has set Science Based Targets to guide their decarbonisation target towards 2030. Emissions across Scope 1, 2 and 3 are mapped¹⁴, and a dedicated CO2e measurement tool is used to calculate Scope 3 categories, like purchased goods and services and capital costs, by applying emission factors from established databases and supplier data where available. By mapping the emissions at sourcing category levels, the sourcing teams can locate emission hotspots and drive category and supplier-specific strategies towards the value chain.



² “Value Chain Definition: The value chain covers all stages in a product’s life, from supply of raw materials through to disposal after use, and encompasses the activities linked to value creation such as business models, investments and regulation. In addition, the value chain is also comprised of the actors undertaking the activities and the stakeholders that can influence the activities. The value chain thus incorporates not only the physical processes, such as farms and factories, but also the business models and the way products are designed, promoted and offered to consumers.” – United Nations Environmental Programme, 2020


⁵ ESG.Tech provides a database of supply chain mapping tools for different sustainability purposes:








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Deep Supply Chain Mapping

This brief shares the methodologies and interventions GoodWeave uses to map supply chains fully. Although this brief primarily focuses on child labour, it contains broadly applicable insights into supply chain mapping best practices.

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Trado: New technologies to fund fairer, more transparent supply chains

This report by the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership showcases the Trado model of sustainability data-for-benefit swaps between buyers and suppliers. In this model, buyers help unlock supplier bank financing in exchange for information on sustainability.

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Practical Guide to Transparency in Procurement

This guide by the Responsible Business Alliance offers a maturity scale for assessing companies' social and environmental transparency. It helps buyers meet sustainability goals and promotes industry consistency by aligning with the RBA's transparency guide in procurement.

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Open Supply Hub

The Open Supply Hub collects and structures supply chain data for sustainability. By sharing your data, you gain access to its 179,000 facility database and a tool for mapping suppliers geographically.

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This comprehensive database uses Bills of Lading to visualise virtually every part of a company’s international supply chain. This is a good place to start if you want to identify the suppliers of partners, competitors, and peers.

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Open Supply Chains

This platform, Sourcemap, is the world’s largest database of supply chain maps. You can use it to map your supply chain or see other companies' actions.

Supply Chain Mapping Solutions

These resources are provided as illustrative examples. The mention of specific tools or services on this platform does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation by the Embedding Project. You should conduct your due diligence and research to determine the suitability of any tool for your particular needs.

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Responsibly [PAY TO USE]

Responsibly automates supplier onboarding, customises sourcing criteria, processes diverse data, calculates performance scores, and integrates insights into your existing procurement systems for targeted improvement.

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Sedex offers technology, data insights and services help companies build socially and environmentally sustainable businesses and supply chains.

Map Your Value Chain: Sedex provides tools and a data platform to assist businesses in mapping their supply chain, gathering supplier information, and facilitating supplier engagement and onboarding [PAY TO USE].

Assess Suppliers: Sedex also defines ethical sourcing and provides free resources and events, including key trends in responsible sourcing webinar and a supplier questionnaire database [PAY TO USE] cover database [PAY TO USE]

ESG provides a list of Supply Chain Sustainability Software solutions to optimise and green the supply chain processes. Search by sector, region and features.

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Sourcemap [PAY TO USE]

Map and monitor the end-to-end supply chain in line with US and EU due diligence requirements: forced labour, conflict minerals, counter-terrorism, anti-greenwashing, deforestation and more.

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Interos [PAY TO USE]

Interos' "i-Score" is a single platform for supply chain risk assessment during the procurement process, including financial, compliance, and environmental factors.