07 July 2005 | Rebecca Ellinor
Vodafone is to turn its attention to its smaller suppliers to ensure they behave ethically.
Its latest corporate responsibility (CR) report reveals that while it has been examining its main suppliers, it now plans to scrutinise the work of smaller firms.
Ethical purchasing was one of the top five corporate responsibility issues faced by Vodafone in 2004-05 and is now viewed as a business risk.
This year's report, published last month for the year ending 31 March, reveals that Vodafone in Australia and New Zealand created and piloted a risk-based system to look at suppliers that are more likely to be operating unethically.
The system was developed further by Vodafone Italy and will be extended to the rest of the company in 2005-06, the report added.
A recent survey of 30 CR opinion leaders in Europe and the US, commissioned by the telecoms firm, led to a request for more action and transparency about the supply chain and procedures for ensuring ethical purchasing.
In its latest financial year, the company made payments of £12 billion to third parties for handsets, network equipment, marketing and IT services.
Vodafone said its ethical purchasing code now formed part of its standard contract with global suppliers.