According to a five-year research project by Doremus and Financial Times that started in 2003, when two suppliers offer the same product/service or similar quality and a similar price, executives in the USA will rank High Ethical Standards as their top priority when selecting a supplier.
In fact, 86% of senior executives in North America and about 64% in Europe would stop a sale if they perceive a lack of ethical standards on the side of the supplier. This indicates that having and implementing strong ethical standards can be a significant competitive advantage in tough economic times.
As an example, take a look at this statement by one of our customers, Xerox. On their Supplier Relations page you’ll find the statement “We assess the quality, cost, delivery and sustainability of the supplier’s products and services and ensure their business is run with high ethical standards and in alignment with social responsibility principles.“
But what are these ethical standards? Xerox requires suppliers to abide by a Code of Business Conduct that provides standards in five critical areas of corporate social responsibility: labor, health and safety, environment, management systems and ethics.
Xerox has adopted the Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition (EICC) Code of Conduct for corporate social responsibility as its code of conduct for suppliers. To learn about EICC standards, you can visit their site here: http://goo.gl/y4KNc5. Another example of supplier expectations by another customer of ours, GE Healthcare, can be found here: http://goo.gl/TuAAVl.