Business Growth
Conscience Unleashed: A Thrilling Journey into Supply Chain Management Ethics

Conscience Unleashed: A Thrilling Journey into Supply Chain Management Ethics

What Is Supply Chain Management (SCM)?

Supply chain management (SCM) is the process of managing the flow of goods and services to and from a business, including every step involved in turning raw materials and components into final products and getting them to the ultimate customer. Effective SCM can help streamline a company’s activities to eliminate waste, maximize customer value, and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace.

What is an ethical supply chain?

An ethical supply chain is a practice that focuses on the need for corporate social responsibility, working to produce products and services in a way that treats its workers and the environment ethically. Supporting an ethical supply chain means that companies will incorporate social and human rights and environmental considerations into how they do business across the world. The supply chain is no longer a back-office function that consumers have never heard of. Over the past ten years, it’s taken on a more forward-facing role that’s a competitive differentiator and part of the corporate business model.


What are supply chain ethics?

As sourcing has become more global, instances of exploitation and malpractice have come to light, raising questions about how ethical corners may be cut to produce goods cheaply.

When talking about ethics in the supply chain, experts generally focus on:


  • Freedom of employment and association
  • The eradication of child labour
  • Safe and hygienic working conditions
  • Appropriate pay and working hours
  • Humane and non-discriminatory treatment
  • Anti-bribery and corruption
  • Environmental awareness


Why is ethics important in Supply Chain Management?

Workplace Discrimination:

  • Implement anti-discrimination policies and training programs to promote diversity and inclusion.
  • Conduct regular audits and assessments to identify and address any instances of discrimination or bias.
  • Provide channels for employees to report discrimination and ensure swift and appropriate action is taken in response.


Labor Conditions:

  • Ensure compliance with labor laws and regulations, including fair wages, safe working conditions, and reasonable working hours.
  • Collaborate with suppliers to uphold labor standards and provide training and resources to support worker well-being.
  • Monitor supply chain operations closely to identify and address any labor rights violations promptly.


Environmental Responsibility:

  • Adopt sustainable sourcing practices to minimize environmental impact, such as using renewable materials and reducing waste.
  • Implement eco-friendly manufacturing processes and transportation methods to reduce carbon emissions.
  • Engage with suppliers to promote environmental stewardship and support initiatives for conservation and resource management.

Local Economies and Social Responsibility

Local economies and social responsibility refer to businesses’ acknowledgment of their impact on the communities where they operate. It involves businesses taking responsibility for their social and economic effects by supporting local businesses, creating job opportunities, and adhering to ethical practices. Essentially, it’s about businesses being good corporate citizens and contributing positively to the welfare of their communities.


What is ESG?

ESG is the umbrella term for three critical areas of corporate responsibility in organizations: Environmental, Social and Governance. These themes play a crucial role in an organization’s operations; both internally in terms of employee experiences, processes and partnerships; and externally, for customer experience and reputation.

Although not directly financial in nature, ESG certainly has a significant influence on commercial growth and risk – in short, it touches every aspect of a company’s overall wellbeing. Effective supply chain ESG management empowers manufacturers to make a positive impact on society and the world around them, while also effectively mitigating risks and maintaining efficiency for the good of their company, partners and stakeholders.

ESG in supply chains are a win-win for companies and communities

Local Benefits:

  • Local sourcing boosts economies with jobs, higher demand, and a broader tax base.
  • Skills training empowers local workforces, increasing overall economic productivity.
  • Partnerships with local businesses create a more interconnected and diverse economic ecosystem.


Enhanced Economic Conditions:

  • A local supplier base strengthens supply chain resilience during crises.
  • Collaboration on infrastructure projects improves efficiency and quality of life.
  • Sustainable practices lead to a healthier environment, potentially attracting new opportunities.


Financial Crisis Resilience:

  • Strong local relationships enable flexible responses to economic downturns.
  • Shared responsibility fosters collaboration on securing aid or social safety nets.
  • Investments in local social programs promote long-term community stability.

Fair trade and strong supplier relations are essential

Fair Trade:

  • Fair Prices: Fair trade ensures farmers and producers get a fair shake, reducing poverty and boosting communities.
  • Quality Focus: Sustainable practices lead to higher quality products and a healthier environment.
  • Community Investment: Fair trade premiums support education, healthcare, and infrastructure in producer communities.


Positive Supplier Relations:

  • Open Communication: Trust and transparency with suppliers allow for problem-solving and prevent issues.
  • Long-Term Partnerships: Loyalty and shared responsibility ensure reliable sourcing and ethical practices.
  • Supplier Diversity: Reduces risk and fosters innovation by introducing new ideas.


Combating Exploitation:

  • Due Diligence: Investigate potential suppliers to avoid corruption and human rights abuses.
  • Whistleblower Protection: Empower workers to report unethical practices without fear of reprisal.
  • Zero Tolerance: Have a clear stance against corruption and human rights abuses

The globalized world of FMCG also presents ethical dilemmas

Here’s a glimpse into some key emerging challenges:

  • Human Trafficking: The complex web of global supply chains can create vulnerabilities. Companies must be vigilant in ensuring their operations are not linked to human trafficking, a horrific violation of human rights.


  • Data Ethics in Digital Supply Chains: The increasing use of digital technologies within supply chains raises concerns about data privacy and security. Companies need robust policies to protect sensitive data throughout the chain, respecting consumer privacy and complying with data protection regulations.


  • Due Diligence in Uncertain Times: Global economic uncertainties like trade wars or political instability can tempt some suppliers to cut corners. Rigorous due diligence is more important than ever to ensure ethical practices are maintained throughout the supply chain. This includes thorough supplier audits, independent verification, and clear consequences for non-compliance.