Understanding Ethical Sourcing in the Supply Chain - Part II

So you’ve decided to implement an Ethical Sourcing policy/ Responsible Supply Chain Policy in your organisation, now what?

13 December 2016

This is the second post in our Ethical Sourcing & the Supply Chain series. If you missed part 1, please click here.

How do your suppliers measure up to the competition in the same industry, country, or global marketplace? What are the greatest challenges your suppliers face? Where can I help boost quality and reduce cost?

Finding the answers to questions like these and more is critical to enhancing the overall performance of your supply chain and driving continuous improvement. Some factors need to be considered when it is the time to choose an ethical sourcing audit program that suits your company's needs:

  1. Will this program cover all critical areas of concern for your company (e.g. Labour, Wage, Health & Safety, and Environment)?
  2. Will this give your company and customer's confidence that your products are coming from sustainable and ethical sources?
  3. Which audit program is right for my organisation based on our size, locations, and goals?
  4. Is this program cost efficient for my organisation and our suppliers? Will we see cost savings from operation and/or increased sales because of our sustainability efforts?  
  5. Will the audit and audit follow up be time efficient and easy for all parties involved to understand?
  6. Will I have the ability to compare and benchmarking the results (overall result or even in each section) with previous years finding in a continuous improvement index or with other companies in same industry and with companies in same region?
  7. Can this audit program be conducted at all of my suppliers all over the world regardless of location or native language?

All of these questions and more are things you should be asking before beginning an audit program, and Intertek can help. Intertek experts in ethical sourcing and supply chain solutions can help you ensure that you are implementing the best audit program, customised to fit your needs.

One solution is our Workplace Conditions Assessment (WCA), which provides a powerful, cost effective solution for companies and facilities seeking to improve workplace conditions efficiently, in accordance with widely accepted industry standards and best practices.

Intertek's extensive social compliance expertise has allowed us to develop an audit program perfect for evaluating, benchmarking and monitoring factories' workplace conditions. WCA offers an efficient mechanism for facilitating continuous improvement through targeted training and remediation processes.

WCA Audits Cover:  

  • Labor (Child/Forced Labor, Discrimination, Discipline, Harassment/Abuse, Freedom of Association, Working Hours, Wages, Benefits, and Labor Contracts)
  • Health and Safety (General Work Facility, Emergency Preparedness, Occupational Injury, Machine Safety, Safety Hazards, Chemical and Hazardous Material, Dormitory and Canteen)
  • Management Systems (Documentation and Records, Worker Feedback and Participation, Audits and Corrective Action Process)
  • Environment (Legal Compliance, Environmental Management Systems, Waste and Air Emissions)  

Benefits of the Workplace Conditions Assessment can lead to improved work conditions for a more content, healthier, and productive workforce, compliance provision tracking and tagging which allows for real-time decision-making via data-mining and automated corrective action follow-up.

Many companies have experienced improved confidence in partnerships due to the greater transparency and increased risk mitigation. Companies registered as having conducted a Workplace Conditions Assessment can share the record and report with any brand or retailer they work with, reducing audit duplication and "audit fatigue".

Have a question Workplace Conditions Assessments or other ethical sourcing options? Let us know how we can help. Also, please feel free to leave a question or comment below, and one of our experts will get back to you.

Alireza Shayan is a Business Development Executive and Lead Auditor for Intertek's Business Assurance Group. Alireza has more than 12 years' experience as a Quality Management System Auditor, Consultant, and Quality Manager. He has been with Intertek since 2014, when he started as a Quality Management Systems and Corporate Social Responsibility Auditor. Since then Alireza has conducted more than 160 man-day audits to Quality, Environmental, and Health & Safety management systems standards, as well as CSR & Intertek Ethical Sourcing programs. Alireza Shayan holds a BSc. in Mechanical Engineerign and Msc. in Industrial Engineering.