Huawei: Struggling to Develop a More Sustainable Supply Network
From 2000 to 2019, the department of corporate social responsibility and global supplier management at Huawei Technologies Company Limited had been trying to engage hundreds of Chinese suppliers on sustainability. The department's effort included orchestrating multiple, diverse, sustainability initiatives, from auditing to contributing to the rollout of a self-assessment tool launched in 2012 by the British Telecom Group (BT). However, the auditing, even when delivered through a joint initiative established by international communications tech companies in 2013, seemed unlikely to cause pathbreaking development in Huawei's large and fragmented supply network. Initial experiences with the self-assessment tool were proving equally unsuccessful in introducing suppliers to more sustainable products and operations and stimulating engagement among them. Why were these initiatives failing to produce improvement? What else could be done to effectively and efficiently engage hundreds of Chinese suppliers on sustainability?