Just a few decades ago, organisations were mainly interested in ensuring optimal profits.
However, this has now changed, and organisations are looking to be ideal corporate citizens.
This is the main reason why companies are focusing on ethics, particularly in procurement.
As a procurement professional, you should take ethics in procurement very seriously.
Unethical practice will have an adverse effect on the brand image and reputation of your organisation.
It will also negatively affect your reputation as a procurement professional.
If organisations cross the boundaries of ethics, they are fined and penalised.
It also irreversibly damages the company’s reputation, with customers losing trust and external stakeholders viewing it with distrust.
This is why procurement professionals should be vigilant about unacceptable behaviours and practices across supply chains.
There are a few things that you can do to uphold ethics in procurement:
- Review supply chains: review every supplier, be it direct or indirect, for risk. Pay attention to modern-day slavery and human rights so that you can rest assured that it is okay for you and the company to collaborate with the supplier.
- Identify problem areas and countries: some countries, processes and services are considered high-risk. You should be able to identify them and assess their risks. It is best to focus on specific areas that pose the greatest risks.
- Look at indirect spends: procurement should not only be checking direct spends but also maverick spends, where unethical practices can creep in without the procurement realising it.
- Have a strategy in place: after identifying risks, it is essential that you tackle them. The way to do this is by creating an ethical strategy that every procurement professional in the organisation should know and use when the need arises.
Organisations need to have an ethics policy, and procurement should work to build on this policy to ensure that sourcing occurs in a principled manner, without harming the brand image and reputation of the company.