Guide to Ethical Supply Chain Management


Supply chains today can extend to the far-flung corner of the globe providing construction companies with a plethora of sourcing options but also opening the door to unethical behaviour that can be difficult to unmask at a distance. Establishing ethical supply chains can help fend off the exploitation of locals by suppliers and ensure everyone along the line adheres to environmental stewardship principles.

Key Practices That Enable Ethical Supply Chain Management

By incorporating the following practices into your supply chain management process you will help ensure the integrity of that process at every stage.

Define your principles

You cannot impose ethical supply chain management unless you have a set of principles to guide your actions. So the first step is to sit down and define the environmental, social and ethical principles and values that will drive your efforts.

Hold potential suppliers accountable

Once you have established your ethical supply chain principles conduct an assessment of your potential suppliers and apply those principles to them. If they fail, don’t throw in the towel and give them a pass, move on to another supplier.

Conduct frequent supplier auditing

People being what they are it’s possible your supplier does not practice what they preach, or that they bait you with promises of ethical behaviour only to ignore those principles in practice. To ensure this is not happening, institute a policy of frequent supplier auditing.

Insist on transparency

If you are to establish a truly ethical supply chain, you need to be able to trace the origins of materials. Any would-be supplier who baulks at allowing you to do that is likely hiding something and you should move on.

Don’t expect perfection right out of the gate

It may not be possible, at least at first, to find suppliers that adhere to all your ethical supply chain management practices and principles. In that case, prioritise those that come the closest and encourage them to take the next steps toward full compliance.

Strive for continual improvement

As we said things may not work perfectly out of the gate, so it is important that you strive for continual improvement and reward those suppliers willing to work with you.

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