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CIPS & Walk Free Foundation's ethical procurement guide

A guide on ethical and sustainable procurement designed to help companies avoid sourcing from firms that operate unethically or illegally has been rele...

Freddie Pierce
|Jan 13|magazine7 min read

A guide on ethical and sustainable procurement designed to help companies avoid sourcing from firms that operate unethically or illegally has been released, courtesy of the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply and a charity partner whose aim it is to end modern slavery.

The guide, called Ethical and Sustainable Procurement, is designed to help buyers who may unknowingly be sourcing from companies operating outside the law or subjecting workers to poor wages and inhumane conditions or in forced labour environments. The guide forms part of the initiative between CIPS and Walk Free Foundation to eradicate modern slavery in supply chains.

The Walk Free Foundation is a global organisation with a mission to end modern slavery by mobilising a global activist movement, generating the highest quality research, enlisting business and raising levels of capital to drive change in those countries and industries bearing the greatest responsibility for modern slavery today.

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The document that the foundation, in partnership with CIPS, has released offers guidance on the procurement cycle including identifying vulnerability and risk, evaluating and shortlisting suppliers, creation of contract performance and updating ethical procurement programmes. It contains useful practical information on how to communicate with suppliers from other regions in the world and highlights potential social and cultural differences.

Walk Free Foundation’s Global Slavery Index estimates there are 29.8 million people who are trapped in modern day slavery and the International Labour Organisation believes that business and governments are largely responsible for this.

CIPS Group CEO David Noble said: “The increase in global sourcing has led to an increase in serious issues being discovered in procurement practices, in particular the occurrence in the supply chain, unwittingly or otherwise, of modern slavery.  We have to make a step change as a profession to make a real difference in business and society.”

Andrew Forrest, Chairman of Fortescue Metals and Founder of Walk Free Foundation, said: “The slavery industry generates over $32 billion in profits globally. Businesses around the world have their part to play in ensuring slavery is eradicated from their supply chain. The first step is asking the question – that is – doing a supply chain audit, and that is where procurement officers can show true leadership on the issue.”

Anyone with responsibility for procurement and supply chain management is urged to read the guide available on the Traidcraft and CIPS websites.