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Ethics in Procurement

The Ethics Alliance

Ethics in Procurement examines the ethical issues and tensions that arise in payment of suppliers, and provides a framework for ensuring fair transactions.

The Ethics Alliance is a corporate community, designed to share challenges and take a collaborative approach to finding solutions. At our inaugural gathering, an Alliance member called out the crippling impact late payments was having on his business. Through conversation, it became evident this was an issue shared by many members and unintentionally caused by others, and was a problem we wanted to help solve. 

This guidebook came together after a series of interviews with members and a follow up roundtable discussion that explored both systemic and principle-based solutions. It examines some of the procurement-based issues identified through that process, looking at the causes of ethical tension and offering frameworks for each stage of the procurement process. 

Formulated as a practical solution, the paper considers common challenges including: 

Should companies have an open tender and invite all to bid, or save time and money by targeting known suppliers?

  • Should companies accept the cheapest complying bid, or pay more to a company that distributes a proportion of its profits to a good cause?
  • Should companies be transparent in their dealings with suppliers, or will this open them up to disputes?
  • Is it reasonable for companies to impose a significant administrative burden in the first round of a tender process by asking for information which is not directly relevant to the project in question?
  • Plus, it provides a framework to make payment processes fair, practical and ethical.

You can download this publication from The Ethics Centre website>>

The Oath

  • Trust is the foundation of my profession.
  • I will serve all interests in good faith.
  • I will compete with honour.
  • I will pursue my ends with ethical restraint.
  • I will help create a sustainable future.
  • I will help create a more just society.
  • I will speak out against wrongdoing and support others who do the same.
  • I will accept responsibility for my actions.
  • In these and all other matters;
    My word is my bond.