24 May 2007
Virgin Group is to focus on human rights and labour standards in its supply chains as it tries to guarantee ethical sourcing.
It has drawn up a code of conduct, questionnaires for suppliers and audit templates. And its buyers will soon begin external training for accredited social auditor status.
Jennie Beament, group procurement director, told SM the issue of ethical procurement presented a challenge for the group: "We decided to reduce it to a project we could understand and avoid the agony of designing massive programmes to reach the whole supply base, meaning we could focus on the area where most Virgin companies have the greatest impact."
KPIs are in place across the group to measure distribution of the code of conduct to key suppliers. Procurement should have identified high-risk suppliers by the third quarter, with risk based on geography, industrial sector and the impact on Virgin's reputation.
They should then begin auditing by the end of the year and have action plans for all non-compliant suppliers in place.
Beament said the group would not necessarily stop using bad suppliers but would educate them in the company's expectations.