Report Identifies Barriers and Enablers in Responsible Purchasing

Report Identifies Barriers and Enablers in Responsible Purchasing

Procurement professionals say conventional procurement practices may create environments that lead to human rights violations— and companies with such violations in their supply chain face both operational and reputational risks.

The insight was offered during research into the challenges procurement professionals face in responsible purchasing, and published in the Enablers & Barriers in Responsible Purchasing report. The report includes findings and offers valuable observations that procurement professionals can leverage to strengthen their own ethical business practices.

The report focuses on the capital goods industry — goods used in production of goods or services rather than sold directly to consumers — and outlines positive and negative factors that impact procurement programs. Enablers & Barriers in Responsible Purchasing is currently available for download here.

With a goal of filling a knowledge gap in procurement by identifying supporting elements and obstructions to responsible purchasing programs, the report used semi-structured, narrative-style interviews to glean information from six industry professionals working at various global companies. The study highlights their experiences and insights into responsible purchasing practices and solutions.

Sponsored by Assent Compliance and authored by Ozan Gurcan, a PhD student at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, the report can be used by corporate buyers to learn how procurement professionals operate responsible purchasing programs and apply this to their own work.

Key Findings

Participants outlined the following enablers to responsible purchasing:

  • Procurement independence from leadership.
  • Knowledge of responsible purchasing.
  • Supportive working environments.
  • Company-wide ethical standards/values.
  • Long-term risk/reward analysis.

They identified the following barriers:

  • Lack of understanding of responsible purchasing procedures.
  • Difficulties in approving social audits of suppliers.
  • Having suppliers in countries with lax labor regulations.
  • Cultural differences with suppliers.

The report notes that responsible purchasing doesn’t only help worker rights, but also has a positive impact on businesses by:

  • Encouraging investment.
  • Improving morale.
  • Decreasing operational and reputational risk.
  • Enhancing reputation.

Find more insights and solutions to common responsible purchasing problems in the report Enablers & Barriers in Responsible Purchasing.

Gurcan studies at Carleton’s Ethics and Public Affairs unit and is trained in qualitative research techniques as well as moral and political philosophy. His work centers around applied ethics, including bioethics and business ethics.

Assent’s Corporate Social Responsibility Suite offers tools for supply chain data management to support compliance with regulations involving human rights, anti-bribery anti-corruption, conflict minerals and sustainability. To find out more, contact us at