A summary and highlights of the SCF Forum 2020
2020 has certainly been a volatile year as the Covid-19 swept across the world causing human misery and the serious upheaval to supply chains. Yet, amid the chaos, it has also been a year of human resilience as businesses, and individuals, adapt to a new way of life.
As Michiel Steeman, chairman of SCF Community, said in his opening remarks at this year’s SCF Forum Global, volatility is something those working in supply chains will have to contend with for some time to come. Finding new and increasingly resilient ways of working will become paramount.
This year’s forum alone is an example of that resilience and ability to adapt to change. While sadly delegates were unable to gather over coffee and croissants at the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam, speakers and participants were able to log in from home offices and kitchen tables from around the world.
This year featured a more international line-up of speakers – with the online agenda global rather than Europe focused – with presentations from treasurers and tech experts based in the east and west coast of the US and bankers based in Indonesia.
As usual, it was a busy day of case studies, panel discussions, and research reports, plus time for a spot of virtual networking too.
Presentations and conversations revolved around the evolution of supply chain finance as a force for change with its ability to have a positive impact on businesses and the environment.
The morning presentations included talk about how supply chain finance techniques ensured hospitals could receive vital equipment, while efforts to create sustainability-linked financing techniques could ensure better environmental social, and corporate governance (ESG) behavior among suppliers.
The development of purchase order financing and inventory financing was presented as another means of supporting suppliers in difficult times when liquidity is much needed. The pandemic again has highlighted the importance of companies not just looking after themselves but safeguarding their whole supplier network.
The afternoon sessions dived deeper into technological developments and the acceleration of digitization – again partly in response to the Covid-19 crisis.
There were also further examples of sustainable projects using SCF with the presentation of Spanish firm Acciona’s waste-to-power plant in Scotland. The talks were rounded off with a powerful message from the environmental documentary filmmaker Huw Cordey, reminding delegates that “There is nowhere more important when considering the challenges of climate change than supply chains.”
The forum ended with the presentation of the annual Supply Chain Finance awards, with this year’s entries noted by Steeman, chair of the judging panel, as having “moved beyond working capital benefits towards supporting better environmental and social practices among suppliers.”