Improving Purchasing Practices

We are proud to work with many progressive manufactures who champion decent work and go beyond our minimum ethical trade requirements.

However, we know we must play our part too and we recognise that at brand-level, poor purchasing practices can undermine the efforts of manufacturers and directly increase the risk of human and labour rights abuses occurring in global supply chains.

What are purchasing practices?

Many brands do not own their own manufacturing sites, instead they develop their products with third-party suppliers and factories. This is realised through several practices including planning and forecasting, design and development, cost negotiation and payment terms. These elements – if mismanaged managed or deliberately avoided – can prevent supplier compliance to company codes of conduct and put the lives and dignity of workers in supply chains at risk and can lead to many of the worst human rights abuses such as child labour, excessive working hours and unsafe working conditions.

With the primary focus on addressing in-work poverty, we began reviewing our purchasing practices in 2017 in collaboration with Better Buying™, a global initiative that provides retailers, brands and suppliers a cloud-based platform to obtain data driven insights into purchasing-related activities, aimed at supporting buyers’ and suppliers’ financial performance, as well as to help maintain stable and responsive supply chains.

With Better Buying™ acting as an independent intermediary, we invited our suppliers to anonymously provide feedback on our own purchasing practices and management systems.

During the three rating cycles which lasted over a year, the results were analysed for trends and identified our strengths and weaknesses. The feedback process helped us improve the business relationship with our supply chain partners, highlighting shared responsibilities, creating common goals and strengthening our longstanding partnerships.

Since partnering the Better Buying™ initiative, we continue to collaborate with our suppliers to reduce financial risks and create opportunities for reinvestment in socially and environmentally progressive activities.

Continuing this work, we are now participating in the ACT Purchasing Practices Self-Assessment, which will give us an opportunity to reassess our practices and collaborate with other key industry peers.