Big Supply Chains, Big Social Responsibility

How Socially Responsible Is Your Supply Chain?

PurchTips Edition #323 Click here for the printer-friendly version

Picture of Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3, author of this procurement article on socially responsible companies.By Charles Dominick, SPSM, SPSM2, SPSM3

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If you follow my work, you are familiar with my prediction that social responsibility will equal or surpass cost as the #1 supplier selection criterion among leading supply chain organizations in the next five years. In this edition of PurchTips, we’ll explore some real-life examples of how some of the world’s largest companies are expanding the definition of supply chain social responsibility through their programs.

  1. Setting standards for supplier employee paid time off. Last week, Microsoft announced that it is requiring all of its suppliers with 50 or more employees to provide at least 15 paid days off to their employees who do work for Microsoft.
  2. Addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic through supply chain programs. Levi Strauss & Company’s sustainability program addresses “both the health and social factors preventing a definitive response to end the epidemic.” Their Terms of Engagement for suppliers prohibits suppliers from discriminating against potential or current employees on those individuals’ “actual or perceived HIV status.” They also require suppliers to have an Exposure Control Plan to prevent the transmission of HIV and other communicable diseases.
  3. Recognizing the LGBT-owned business as a diverse supplier. Aetna, IBM, Google, American Airlines, and Prudential are just a few of the increasing number of big companies that have begun recognizing LGBT-owned businesses in their supplier diversity programs. An LGBT-owned business is a business that is at least 51% owned, controlled, and operated by lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, or transgender person or persons.

While these are advanced examples of supply chain practices of the most socially responsible companies, it should be clear that if you are doing nothing in terms of improving the social responsibility of your supply chain, your organization is falling behind the rest of the world quickly. Learning more about how to bring improved social responsibility practices into your organization should be a priority of every supply chain professional.


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