The Royal British Legion prove their commitment to ethical procurement by achieving the Corporate Ethics Mark


Leigh Kopec FCIPS Chartered, Head of Procurement & Contract Management at The Royal British Legion, and his staff of 8, proved their commitment to responsible and ethical procurement by successfully completing the CIPS Ethical Procurement e-learning and test and being the first charity to achieve the CIPS Corporate Ethics Mark. We interviewed Leigh to find out more about why he felt it was important.

Why did you feel it was necessary to gain the Ethics Mark?

As a new function at The Legion, we have been transforming procurement to include new and better ways of finding and working with suppliers. It’s crucial both internally and externally that we are aware of ethical and sustainable sourcing practises. We are here to safeguard the expenditure of generously donated funds and to ensure we maximise the value from that spend, which we see as far more than financial value. Demonstrating robust understanding and processes that mitigate supply chain risk is integral to our approach to sourcing goods and services. Having the CIPS Corporate Ethics Mark evidences how crucial this is to us and validates our approach internally and externally.

How did you get the funding?

All nine members of the procurement team are CIPS members, and are either MCIPS qualified or somewhere on their journey to becoming MCIPS. As CIPS provides the test free of charge to members, the cost impact was only the time given to the team to complete the training and test which I saw as time very well spent in terms of CPD and improving awareness and knowledge within the function.

What was the general feedback from the team?

All members said it helped to raise their awareness about key issues and has kick-started a third party ethics and sustainability work stream within procurement to improve our policies and processes across RBL. Most said the training was extremely detailed and the test is actually quite challenging, which is a positive thing. This is not a ‘whizz through the training’ and an easy tick box test at the end as many e-learning things can be. It requires concentration and thought which means the learning really does go in.

We are now proudly displaying the Mark on our email signatures and are integrating it, with some copy, into our intranet site and our externally facing documentation (e.g. ITTs). We have also celebrated receiving the Mark on social media (Linked In) which has had an incredibly positive response from across the procurement and supply sectors. The reaction internally has also been very positive with an article being penned for our internal communication magazine The Legion.  

Would you recommend it to others?

Absolutely, for CIPS members it is free to do and for non-members provides an inexpensive way of keeping up to date. The training is really worthwhile, far beyond the value of having the certificate at the end. It will remind you of some key things to look for in supply chains and will help you to think about how you address ethical and sustainable supply within your organisations. For the sake of a couple of hours, the value you get from going through the training is really worthwhile. And you have a lovely certificate to proudly display at the end of it all.

For CIPS members it also entitles you to apply for Chartered Status, assuming you have the requisite CPD, so for me personally it was crucial I did this. Three of my nine team members have now upgraded to Chartered status since completing the ethics training.

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