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Earlier this week, a friend of mine who works in a non-procurement department of a mid-sized company shared that he received tickets to a cultural event courtesy of one of his employer’s vendors.

I joked that I really needed to speak with his company’s head of procurement about implementing an ethics policy. My friend explained how his company supported his attendance – the event was a part of a multi-customer meeting with business value and his company did have an ethics policy and that policy permitted attendance. He also revealed that the invitation to the game included an ethics disclaimer.

An ethics disclaimer?

Yeah, some fine print that said about how no impropriety was meant and that the invitee is welcome to pay the vendor for the ticket if s/he wanted to.

Hmmmm…interesting!

I asked my friend to send the disclaimer to me to share with you. Its text appears below with names removed to protect the…innocent?

 Attention: Government, Public Sector, Public Education/Healthcare Attendees

ETHICS DISCLOSURE

[VENDOR NAME] is pleased to provide attendance to the event above at no cost to government employees and officials when appropriate under applicable laws and agency policies. [VENDOR NAME] is committed to the highest standards of ethical conduct and does not intend to offer an inappropriate gift or create even the appearance of impropriety. The cost of the refreshments and/or logo items provided will be available without charge to attendees of this event. If your organization or local laws require waiver of or payment for items of value, [VENDOR NAME] is pleased to accept payment for any costs to facilitate compliance with gift and ethics requirements. Please refer back to the original invitation for the specific cost details for this event for additional information or assistance to comply with applicable laws and agency policies.

Is it just me or is the need to include a disclaimer almost like an admission that the vendor realizes it is pushing the ethical boundaries? What’s your take on this?

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3 is an internationally-recognized business expert, legendary procurement thought leader, award-winning entrepreneur, and provocative blogger. Charles founded the Next Level Purchasing Association in 2000, oversaw its incredible growth, and successfully led the organization to its acquisition by the Certitrek Group in 2016. He continues to blog and provide advisory services for the NLPA on a part-time basis as he incubates his upcoming business innovations. Charles is also the co-author of the wildly popular, groundbreaking book, "The Procurement Game Plan: Winning Strategies & Techniques For Supply Management Professionals."

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