Ethical sourcing has come into focus again following the allegations of poor employment practices at clothing factories in Leicester and the responses to the allegations have elicited an interesting variety of responses from retailers and brand owners.
In our experience when it comes to ethical sourcing, there seem to be four categories of retailer and brand owner:
1. Those who say they do it and actually do
2. Those who would like to do it but don't have a programme
3. Those who say they do it but don't and have no intention of doing it
4. Those who pay no attention to it at all
Our own focus has been the second category. If an organisation wants to trade ethically it has to have the will, culture and budget in place - without those it would be an uphill battle. And if they haven't either started or made good progress on the journey then our software, ClearChain, can often help them.
And just looking at what happened to Boohoo's share price it's easy to see why as far as ethical trade is concerned prevention is better than cure, especially in fast fashion because of the environmental and social impacts it has on communities.
Regardless of whether ClearChain is used or not, the running order of tasks in an ethical trade programme is likely to be something like this:
- Budget the programme, which will be lower in subsequent years beyond the first
- Define what you want to achieve and why
- Define the standards you will use for each programme
- Define your success criteria over time
- Appoint auditors
- Map your supply chain
- Plan and implement an audit programme
- Complete the resulting corrective action plans
- Report and review progress against objectives
If you have only five suppliers you might be able to conduct the programme using the software tools you already have. If you have hundreds or thousands of suppliers that would be more of a challenge - one which ClearChain was designed to meet.
So if your supply chain is more substantial don't get lost in a sea of spreadsheets and an avalanche of emails when trying to deliver ethical sourcing. Don't feel you have to employ lots of people and don't feel that you have to break the bank.
Talk to us about how ClearChain can help you to deliver your objectives.