8 Keys to Ensure Ethical Sourcing Standards

An image of gears with text overlay that has ethical statements.

In my last blog, I spoke about ethical sourcing and the many benefits it can have for your company. Seems like a no-brainer, right? When attempting to put in a plan to obliterate unethical practices in your supply chain, it starts to be risky business. The best way to mitigate risk is to set up a solid plan and be diligent about following through with it. 

In my research to find a clear plan to mitigate unethical practices, I found a slew of proposed methods. Unfortunately, I felt that many of them seemed too simple—basically, too easy and too good to be true. I finally came across a solid and thorough plan proposed by Declan Kearney, the founder of 360° Supplier View, who shares tips with companies to ensure ethical sourcing practices in their supply chain.

Do Your Research

Make sure you do your research on your suppliers…and their suppliers. With myriad complex regulations now put in place, go out and learn from case studies and the resources that will act as a survival guide as you attempt to research your vendors and suppliers.

Stay Away from the Fat Cat

Assess whether the higher-ups in your supplier organization are well known or politically aligned. These individuals are more susceptible to bribery or corruption.

Surprise! Drop in Unannounced

Make clear points in initial supplier contracts that audits and spontaneous checks of the business may occur. This ensures that suppliers hold their business to a higher standard at all times with the knowledge that they are being monitored.

Spread the Love

Encourage your tier one suppliers to keep a close eye on their vendors. Work with them to create an aligned supplier management system

Community is Key

Look to other organizations that are successful in the implementation of an ethical supply chain. Follow their example and research their methods

Practice What You Preach

Ensure that not only are your suppliers upholding ethical practices but also that you are practicing what you preach. Take a microscope to your own organization and make sure that you are adhering to the ethical practices you expect out of your suppliers.

Take Advantage of Technology

In this futuristic world that we live in, a slew of technologies can aid us in our crusade to make our supply chain and procurement practices ethical and law abiding. Track and trace technologies are one example. Track and trace processes enable garment retailers and manufacturers to meet any ecological, social or quality standards they have put in place by monitoring individual elements throughout the supply chain at each stage of the production process. Blockchain technologies take this a step further.

It is Good for Humanity

Making sure your business practices ethical sourcing is not a simple task but an essential one to ensure that you are in adherence with the law. The benefits of having an accountable and ethical supply chain can only benefit your business economically…and are good for the soul too!

Hailey Corr, Junior Editor and Marketing Associate, Outsource and SIG

Hailey is a Junior Editor with Outsource Magazine and Marketing Associate at SIG. She is also SIG’s in-house yoga instructor for the Global Executive Summits. Hailey’s professional background includes sales, data analytics, social media marketing and customer relations.  Hailey holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications and Dance from the University of Colorado at Boulder.