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Supply Chain Standards: Responsible Sourcing

Oct 19, 2021 | Sourcing Agents, Supply Chains

Responsible sourcing isn’t a new concept or a new trend that will pass. It is a big, and we mean big, element and part of supply chain management today.

It is a way for businesses to help raise social, ethical, and environmental standards globally and deliver tangible value through all parts of the supply chain.

However, responsible sourcing (or supply chain responsibility) is a voluntary commitment by companies, but a commitment that comes with numerous benefits.

With consumer behaviour dramatically changing in favour of more ethical and sustainable products and services and government legislation changing surrounding ethical business practices, raising supply chain standards and ensuring that you are sourcing responsibly has never been so important.

Today, the definition of ‘sourcing’ has changed slightly. Businesses still look to achieve the lowest possible prices for goods and services with minimal risk; however, now businesses also include the need to source in an efficient, socially conscious, and sustainable way.

Areas to investigate

There are lots of ground to cover and areas to understand when considering supply chain standards and responsible sourcing. Some of the main areas include:

Workers’ conditions – working conditions vary significantly across global supply chains, making it a complex and challenging area to manage, control, and maintain. Ideally, you must identify the labour standards throughout your entire supply chain, vetting processes and procedures continuously, and regularly carry out robust checks, audits, and more.

Environmental awareness – what impact does your business operations and supply chain infrastructure have on the environment? How can you minimise any negative impact? What strategies do you have in place to mitigate risk?

Factory audits – carrying out regular and detailed inspections help ensure that this element of your supply chain meets all social, ethical, and environmental aspects, i.e., the report should detail how a desirable standard of conditions and production is achieved.  Scoring and providing feedback for any areas of improvement are essential during these audits.

Vetting suppliers – check social management systems, workers’ rights and protection, ethical business behaviour, and more.

Health and safety – are there clear occupational health and safety regulations and guidelines in place?  

Conduct supply chain due diligence – provide transparency in all actions throughout all stages of the supply chain.

Technology – make use of technological advancements to help reduce risk and minimise any negative impact on the environment.

Meeting international standards

To support a business’s compliance with the environment, ISO: 14001 is the international standard that specifies and outlines the requirements necessary to achieve an effective environmental management system. Providing a framework for businesses to follow to set up an effective environmental management system, the advantages of ISO14001:2005 certification include:

  • Improved processes
  • Reduction in costs
  • Strengthened relationships
  • Improved products
  • Marketing and PR advantages
  • Reduced regulatory burden
  • Reputational protection

Accreditation and membership organisations such as SEDEX and BSCI also offer further support to organisations implementing responsible sourcing.  Helping to highlight just how serious companies take responsible sourcing as they agree to follow a set of guidelines and regulations. 

Benefits of sourcing responsibly

Sourcing responsibly will:

  • Build strong supply chain relationships
  • Deliver real change for the future
  • Provide you with a competitive advantage
  • Help to raise supply chain standards
  • Deliver real company value
  • Reduce risk and improve compliance at every stage of the supply chain
  • Ensure you comply with national and international laws
  • Protect business reputation
  • Increase business performance
  • Reduce operational costs
  • Safeguard for the future

Working with an established procurement partner like GHL

Today sustainability in supply chains and sourcing responsibly encompasses a complex remit of requirements that businesses must be aware of and follow.

That is why one of the significant benefits of working with an established procurement partner like GHL is the value of our network of factories.

  • We have an extensive list of approved factories that we have been working with for many years. With quality control and assurance built into every stage, from product development to product sourcing, and supply chain management, we build resilience through our sustainable practices and approach.
  • We only work with approved factories, which have been thoroughly vetted and pass our high-quality control standards. In addition, we carry out complete factory audits regularly, with teams on the ground in these locations to monitor operations and approve quality control standards.
  • We are FSC certified, sourcing a range of sustainable products (make sure to check out our range of incredible bamboo products) and making a lot of products such as picnic bags from recycled plastics.
  • We provide an online platform, the right tools, and the most efficient services to help businesses operate responsibly and sustainably, protect workers, and source ethically.
  • We look to drive efficiencies, reduce risk, and lower costs, all while giving you a competitive advantage, without compromising on quality.
  • We work with global supply chains raising standards related to responsible sourcing, offering you complete supply chain transparency, taking the complexity out of sustainability, and providing you with the best insights so you can make the most informed decisions.

Sustainable supply chains go beyond simply sourcing products.

We believe that sourcing responsibly must be a shared responsibility if true business sustainability is to be achieved.

Find out more about responsible sourcing with GHL today: call us on 02922 671 826 or schedule a call with us HERE.

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