Supply chains hardest area to score on ethics

27 March 2003
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27 March 2003 | Geraint John

Supply chain issues are the most difficult for companies undertaking corporate social responsibility initiatives to address, according to a new report.

Few companies are willing to hold up their supply chains to ethical scrutiny. And those that are score badly compared with other business areas such as health and safety and community investment.

The findings, which form part of the first Corporate Responsibility Index, published by UK lobby group Business in the Community (BITC) this month, suggest purchasing and supply chain professionals have yet to bring their influence to bear.

A total of 122 companies took part in the index. It includes over half of the FTSE 100 companies and is designed to point investors towards companies with the highest standards of corporate behaviour.

Of those 122, only 28 chose to audit their supply chains and the average score was just 48 per cent, compared with 90 per cent for product safety. Almost a fifth scored zero.

Of the top 20 companies in the index, only six - AstraZeneca, BAA, ISIS, Sainsbury's, Marks & Spencer and Safeway - were willing to put their supply chains forward.

Launching the index Stephen Timms MP, minister for e-commerce and competitiveness, said: "Supply chain management is an issue that more and more companies will need to look at and take action on in the coming months."


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