13 October 2008 | Rebecca Ellinor
Buyers sourcing in low-cost countries should leave a legacy to enable the local economies to develop.
A number of delegates at a SM roundtable debate this month said if buyers move from one supply area to another they should leave the market they are moving from in an improved state.
"Procurement should be leaving suppliers in a better position," said David Bailey, British American Tobacco's regional indirect procurement manager for Europe. "If we are not developing lower cost suppliers we are open to the abuse of that labour; but if you are helping that country and the people in it, you can feel proud."
Fiona Gooch runs the responsible purchasing initiative at Traidcraft. She said the value of trading with some developing countries is enormous, both from a foreign income and skill development point of view. "The question is very much how we do it and not if we do it."
James Ratcliff, director of sourcing and supply, Kimberly-Clark Europe, said its emerging markets are growing fastest, so by developing suppliers they are developing future supply chains. He added China in particular is keen that its supply base is developed so the country can supply itself in the future.