18 January 2001
More than three-quarters of FTSE 100 companies will have a social responsibility report within the next 10 years and their suppliers should be ready to prove that they can meet their major clients' expectations.
These FTSE firms already have environmental reports and the move towards vetting suppliers for social responsibility is growing, Leo Martin, director of Internet company GoodCorporation.com, told SM.
"Nike is an example," said Martin, who is a former director of economics with KPMG consultants and is a fellow of the Overseas Development Institute. "Nike spent a lot of money checking out their suppliers after last year's problems with child labour in Asia."
Social responsibility website GoodCorporation.com will go live later this year and is seeking SMEs that want to take part in trial runs of its vetting service. Companies wanting to subscribe will have to sign a charter and regularly submit themselves to independent verifiers.
Corporate social responsibility is becoming more important and Nike's problems are not unique, noted Peter Smith, chairman of the CIPS management board and head of the CIPS ethical business group. The institute will publish an ethical policy document on its website in February.