The world’s physical and financial supply chains and trading relationships are being turned upside down by disruptive events, including Covid-19, the war in Ukraine and the sustainability transition.

We’re told that supply chains, no longer boasting the stability and predictability of just a few years ago, are being overhauled as companies favour resilience and security over efficiency and cost advantages. Buyers and sellers are being forced to weigh the benefits of lean supply chains and just-in-time inventory management against the risks of bottlenecks, capacity constraints and slow production.

This GTR+ SCF publication, now a regular annual supplement after launching last year, is dedicated entirely to examining these trends and the potential role of supply chain finance as a conduit for sustainable trade and financial stability. The magazine comprises detailed reports from our in-house editorial team as well as a wide variety of contributed content from GTR’s partner institutions.

Our coverage includes an overview of impending reforms to the way buyers disclose their participation in SCF programmes, following pressure from standards-setting bodies keen to improve transparency in the sector. Over the past few years, GTR has closely followed proposed changes to accounting standards, which look set to require far greater disclosure of SCF arrangements in companies’ financial statements, and which have been met with concern by various industry stakeholders.

Elsewhere, we take a closer look into the increasing popularity of inventory finance as a way to release capital tied up in physical supply chains. Our report examines the ways in which companies are able to borrow funds using inventory as collateral while safely steering clear of fraud, one of the greatest risks historically associated with such programmes.

While there has ostensibly been an increased demand for SCF across the board, with various measures implemented by public and private financial institutions together with large corporate buyers to shore up working capital, questions remain about whether access to finance is being extended along the full length of the supply chain. We delve into this in our report titled ‘Making the circle bigger: how SCF went mainstream’, which also looks at the new players, including big tech firms, entering the market.

As the geopolitical landscape changes, so too does the way in which companies and governments seek to protect their supply chains from external disruption. There is growing controversy around ‘friend-shoring’, a relatively new buzzword that describes moving supply chains to reliably friendly and ally nations, wherever they are in the world. Though put forward by its proponents as an essential pursuit of security, friend-shoring has been criticised for being anti-globalisation and harmful to poor countries. We explore the difficulties that companies face as they seek to boost supply chain resilience while simultaneously easing their dependence on autocratic regimes that have become ever-more entrenched in global trade.

A year since we published our first GTR+ SCF supplement, it is clear the industry is still acclimatising to a steady onslaught of macroeconomic challenges that show no sign of abating.