12 April 2001 | Liam O'Brien
The UK has become the first of 30 countries to publish a booklet setting out its expectations of ethical business conduct in accordance with guidelines laid down by the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The booklet, published by the Department of Trade and Industry, places a heavier responsibility on buyers for key practices, such as union representation, the environment and child labour, than in the original version of the OECD guidelines produced in 1976.
Companies that are believed to infringe the guidelines, which have no legal force, can be reported to the DTI, which will then investigate the claims and raise them with the firms concerned.
Melinda Johnson, CIPS's head of policy, was encouraged by the initiative. "The institute strongly feels that ethical business practices are the bedrock of purchasing best practice," she said.
CIPS recently published its own ethical policy document for purchasers.