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How to act ethically in sales and procurement

Businessman in handcuffs

Procurement is now fairly and squarely in the spotlight. People are more frequently asking questions about the origin of goods, what processes were involved in the production and what are they made of. Ethical procurement practices and choices surrounding sourcing and distribution activities can have a dramatic effect on a company’s brand, reputation and sales revenue. 

Professional bodies such as The Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply (CIPSA) are rightly asking questions about how we manage and guarantee supply in an ever changing, often unpredictable and volatile world that is laced with moral causes, principles and philosophies.

The messages are clear; people want frank, measurable, transparent and ethical selling and procurement practices which discourage inhuman and immoral practices, human and environmental degradation and exploitation, excessive consumption and greed.  The focus is moving towards forging legitimate business relationships which serve the environment, people, business and communities recognising that ‘we’re all in this together’.

Sourcing, supply and distribution should never be simply about managing costs but also about sustainability and managing consumer expectations

If we are to meet current economic, environmental and social demands and expectations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs, we need to engage in ethical and sustainable selling and procurement practices which support the concept of Sustainable Development  as part of our business and community strategies moving forward.

Some tips for healthy procurement practices:

  • Have a vision. How would you like your procurement practices to be?
  • Communicate your vision to the whole organisation.
  • Set up measurable goals. Are you aiming for certain percentage of local sourcing? Fair trade?
  • Have clear processes to follow and the tools to make it simple.
  • Make processes and practices transparent.
  • Partner with your suppliers. Pass on to them feedback we get from our clients and work with them on their efforts to improve their sourcing and processes.

So do your procurement, distribution and selling practices stand you in good stead for the future?

Remember everybody lives by selling something.