Do you know where and how your goods are produced?
Can you easily demonstrate that you have a transparent and ethical supply chain?
To ensure the goods and services provided into the public sector are part of an ethical supply chain, public sector buyers look to ensure you have a full understanding of the businesses that you procure goods and services from. During a tender process, you may be asked to provide evidence of your supplier selection vetting/audit procedures.
We recommend you ensure that you hold all relevant supplier documentation on file so that you are ready to answer such queries when a tender lands on your desk to be completed.
Don’t know where to start?
We would recommend you start by pulling together a list of all of the suppliers that you use, record where they are based, your contacts within that business, what products and services they supply to you, what your annual spend is with them and anything else of similar note.
Document your assessment criteria, noting how you vet each of these suppliers – what questions you ask of them, what documentation do you expect to see from them e.g. their accreditation certificates if that is important, their policies or statements on modern slavery, equality and diversity, health and safety, environmental performance or similar.
It will depend on the industry you are operating in and the products or services that you provide, but you may choose to focus on different areas of transparency e.g. is energy consumption something you want to be extra transparent on, what about carbon emissions through mileage/logistics/transportation, how about ethical factors, modern slavery, palm oil usage, deforestation etc…
Depending on the scale of your business you may need to look into a more in-depth way of improving your supply chain transparency in order to robustly answer such questions in a tender process. We think this is useful article on the topic: https://www.cips.org/supply-management/opinion/2019/april/winning-hearts-and-minds-through-supply-chain-transparency/