Ethical Performance
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Only half of UK firms audit suppliers’ ethical behaviour

UK manufacturers could be inadvertently relying upon slave and child labourers in their supply chains because they are not always auditing suppliers and relying only on trust, according to new research.

The report from global supply chain risk management company Achilles found that only 51% of manufacturers are regularly auditing their direct (Tier 1) suppliers in terms of ethics, or checking their claims that they do not use child workers, slaves or conflict minerals. And only 38% of manufacturers are auditing their indirect (Tier 2) suppliers on the same criteria. In addition, around one in five large manufacturers said they are confident in suppliers’ ethical compliance purely because of personal relationships.

Richard Collins, an executive director at Achilles, commented: “This survey shows just how unsure large UK manufacturers actually are about the treatment of people within their supply chains.

“UK manufacturers may well soon have a legal, as well as moral, duty to tackle the use of slave and child labourers in their supply chains. We would urge large businesses to get ahead and map their supply chains to identify exactly who their suppliers are, and then audit each one in terms of business performance and ethics. This will help protect their reputation, bottom line and ultimately, the people at the heart of UK supply chains.”


Picture credit: © Samrat35 |

Achilles | UK & NI Ireland | Supply Chain Ethics


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