More than 2,000 SMEs from 38 countries join the "Training Programme: Sustainable Suppliers" of the UN Global Compact Spain, ICEX and ICO Foundation

14 March 2023

  • This programme aims to train supply chains in sustainability within the framework of the Ten Principles and the 2030 Agenda
  • This is the first pilot programme aimed at SMEs that are international suppliers to 17 large Spanish companies that are members of the UN Global Compact
  • The training consists of 4 modules and the SME will have to dedicate approximately one and a half hours per week to complete it

The sustainable transformation of companies requires not only changes within the organisation itself, but also the involvement of entities in its supply chain, which is also reflected in EU and national regulations. However, supplier companies are often SMEs that have not yet started this transition, either due to a lack of know-how or a lack of resources. In order to help them achieve this, the United Nations Global Compact and its local network in Spain together with the ICO Foundation and ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones have launched the Training Programme: Sustainable Suppliers, which, in its first edition, counts on the participation of more than 2,000 SME suppliers from 38 countries with a combined workforce of 140,000 employees.

In the words of Cristina Sánchez, executive director of the UN Global Compact Spain, “the great reception of the first edition of the programme is evidence of the need to improve supply chain management, and we hope that this will help accelerate the sustainable transformation of the business fabric of our country and bring us closer to achieving the SDGs”.

Marta Valero, Director of Institutional and Business Cooperation at ICEX, stressed that “in a globalised context such as the current one, the value chain is taking on an increasingly important role in the responsible and sustainable management of companies. It is essential that, through programmes such as this one, we provide practical support to companies in aligning their strategy with sustainability, linking sustainability to opportunities, innovation and competitiveness”. 

Likewise, Lucinio Muñoz, director of the ICO Foundation, said that its participation in this programme “is a good example of the ICO Group's firm commitment to sustainability, in its threefold environmental, social and governance aspects.

Because of our public nature and our vocation to support the Spanish productive fabric, we are committed to the objective of accompanying SMEs in their necessary process of transformation towards sustainable business models, which is reflected in our daily activity and our support for new initiatives, such as this innovative programme, in the field of sustainable finance and the circular economy”.

Specifically, this pilot project, led by the UN Global Compact Spain, has been aimed at SME suppliers of 17 partner entities of the initiative, which have collaborated both in the definition of the contents and the incorporation into the programme of the SME suppliers of their global supply chains. These are: Abertis Infraestructuras, Accenture Spain, BASF Española, BBVA, CaixaBank, Endesa, Grupo Antolin, Grupo Eroski, Grupo Santander, Grupo Tragsa, Iberdrola, Naturgy Energy Group, Navantia, PRISA, Repsol, Sacyr, Sanitas.

This is an international project, as it focuses not only on Spanish suppliers, but also on international suppliers. Specifically, the participating SMEs come from 38 different countries, among them: Spain, Mexico, Brazil, Peru, Portugal, the United States, the United Kingdom, Colombia, Germany, and Italy.

A five-month programme to train SMEs in sustainability

In order to achieve a real change in the business models of the participating SMEs, the five-month programme includes four training modules on general aspects of sustainability, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the topics included in the four blocks of the Global Compact Principles (human rights, labour standards, environment and anti-corruption) and, finally, internationalisation of the company, incentives, and reporting of non-financial information. 

All this training will be provided online and free of charge through an exclusive platform for the programme's beneficiary suppliers and will be available in Spanish, English, and Portuguese. Users will be able to access online courses, both live and recorded sessions, practical guides, templates for the development of policies and codes, and case studies from other companies. In total, the programme organisers estimate that the SME will need to spend approximately one and a half hours per week to complete the programme. Once all the modules of the programme have been completed, the company will receive a certificate of participation and completion.

Finally, at the end of the programme, an analysis of results will be carried out to understand where the main sustainability challenges lie for the participating SMEs as a whole, as well as the opportunities for improvement of the programme. The data from the entities that form part of their supply chain will be passed on to the large companies promoting the programme.

About the ICO Foundation

The ICO Foundation, a state public sector foundation, has the mission of contributing to the development of society in areas related to the activity and heritage of ICO, with the aim of becoming a leader in the promotion and dissemination of knowledge, with an international vocation and on two axes: the economy and architecture. 

About ICEX

ICEX España Exportación e Inversiones is a national public business entity whose mission is to promote the internationalisation of Spanish companies in order to contribute to their competitiveness and add value to the economy as a whole, as well as to attract foreign investment to Spain. It provides its services through a network of 31 Provincial and Territorial Trade Directorates in Spain and more than 103 Economic and Commercial Offices abroad. It also has 31 Business Centres abroad, which offer Spanish companies temporary infrastructure as incubators for internationalisation.

About the UN Global Compact Spain  

The UN Global Compact is the United Nations initiative that leads the world in corporate sustainability. It boasts more than 20 years of experience and more than 70 local networks at a global level, including the Spanish network, which, since its creation, is one of the first national platforms of the Global Compact and one of the local networks with the largest number of associated entities, with 1,365. Its objective is to encourage the implementation of the Ten Principles of the Global Compact while promoting the integration of the Sustainable Development Goals in the business sector, being the only organisation mandated by the United Nations for this purpose.