CIPS' learning hub, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is already improving healthcare procurement in Africa ©SOPA Images/Getty Images
CIPS' learning hub, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is already improving healthcare procurement in Africa ©SOPA Images/Getty Images

CIPS member focus: building ethical supply chains

7 February 2020

CIPS shines a spotlight on responsible procurement, explains Malcolm Harrison 

In a world where everything is connected, understanding the impact of our sourcing and buying decisions has never been so important. Ethical and responsible procurement is now an economic and reputational imperative and, in some contexts, a legal requirement. Procurement and supply have the opportunity to show the rest of the business that these issues sit firmly with us. 

Working in partnership with suppliers we can demand better governance of procurement with the end goal of creating an environment that is intolerant to criminal conduct, such as modern slavery, corruption or bribery, and minimising or eradicating harmful environmental and social impacts. We must ensure labour conditions for workers in our supply chains are improved and human rights are safeguarded. The bigger picture is a better result for all, including increased business returns for the buyers, suppliers and importantly the workers. 

Last year we revised the CIPS Global Standard with an additional Theme 11 on Ethical Procurement and Supply. The new content looks at competencies around influence and the strategic application of ethical standards across organisations, external stakeholders and wider industry groups. This combined with the ethics eLearning and test helps procurement professionals hone their skills and knowledge to build ethical and sustainable supply chains fit for the future.
Malcolm Harrison, Group CEO, CIPS

CIPS hub for healthcare
Health Procurement Africa (HPA), the CIPS community and learning network designed to share learning, best practice and facilitate discussion, is steadily growing in popularity. Almost one year after CIPS was awarded a grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to improve the procurement of medical supplies across Africa, the hub website is well underway in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya. The mission of HPA is to improve the procurement of healthcare and medicines across Africa by developing a network of professionals, all working towards the most efficient ethical procurement practices. 

A range of diagnostic reviews of public sector organisations in South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya has also taken place, while further action plans are being developed with the goals of increasing skills in the management of critical products and services, while improving procurement processes and policies at health entities. 

CIPS’ learning materials, specifically tailored for this community, are already available on the hub, with more to come. Videos and podcasts that look specifically at health procurement have been uploaded, featuring interviews on the topic of category management with experts including Melinda Johnson, commercial director of the UK’s Department of Health and Social Care, along with colleagues Lucy Mason, strategic procurement senior manager, and Edward James, deputy director – head of procurement. More input from experienced healthcare and medical procurement providers would be much appreciated by users of the website. 

The HPA knowledge hub will support health procurement professionals in Africa to develop a more robust procurement system based on globally-recognised standards. The hub is also being used to publicise real-world and online events, for learning and development, insights, debates, experience-sharing and networking. 

The community aims to cover all aspects from procurement to supply chain management and logistics, ensuring full end-to-end supply chain analysis. For more information, to contribute specialist knowledge or to register visit:

Corporate code of ethics
To help organisations achieve high professional ethical standards, CIPS has developed the Corporate Code of Ethics. Part of its commitment to reinforcing ethical values across all procurement and supply practices, the voluntary code can be adopted by organisations across the world, of any size and from any sector, and sets out the values, business culture and practices the organisation must demonstrate.

Companies can also achieve recognition via an internationally published listing on the CIPS Corporate Ethics Register, which already includes organisations such as Facebook, Heineken UK and John Lewis. Those listed have achieved the CIPS Corporate Code of Ethics Mark by taking proactive steps to safeguard against unethical conduct in procurement and supply. 

The CIPS Code of Ethics is centred around people and organisational development, knowledge management and corporate support. It aims to guide organisations in the training of staff. Gaining the CIPS Corporate Ethics Mark and a listing on the register helps show the company’s commitment to self-governance and accountability. To achieve this, staff responsible for sourcing and management of suppliers should be fully trained by taking the CIPS two-hour e-learning package, followed by an online test. Employees must show respect and awareness of international standards against criminal conduct, including bribery, corruption, fraud and human rights abuse, protecting the organisation from potential supply chain malpractice.

The code aims to help companies protect against supply chain malpractice as well as financial and reputational risk, while demonstrating commitment to integrity in procurement and supply management practices.

Visit the CIPS Corporate Ethics pages.

How to work well with your cobot
In the coming decade, warehouse operations are set to move towards increased adoption of collaborative robots (cobots) working alongside employees and assisting with lifting and repetitive tasks. To keep you informed – and add to your CPD hours – CIPS Knowledge now includes new content, available in the operations management and logistics space. Topics include incoterms, multimodal transport, stocktaking and inventory, with contributions from procurement and logistics specialists Elaine Porteous, Susan Randall FCIPS, Andy Lahy and Sheena Donaldson MCIPS. If you are an expert in this area, could you share your knowledge with members?

Rise to meet the coming change
Look after yourself and invest in skills, delegates at a CIPS Northern Emirates Branch in the UAE were told, during a power talk event.  

Lisa Campbell, chair of the MENA Fellows Committee, and director of procurement at the University of Sharjah, shared her experience of dealing with diverse environments, cultures, stakeholders and supply partners, having worked in several countries in procurement. She highlighted the need for procurement professionals to continue to invest in themselves. 

Soft skills
Procurement’s role in business is going through a huge transformation, she said, and to stay on track, it is important that professionals continue to improve their soft skills; their ability to engage and influence stakeholders, especially those in senior leadership positions. 

She explained that there is an emphasis on the growing importance of networking at events such as these. This is a valuable skill, she said, enabling procurement professionals to learn from and share best practice with others, especially peers working in different industries and sectors.