As consumers grow more conscious of their purchasing choices, companies that seek low cost suppliers are feeling the pressure of public concern about product sourcing and how “low cost” can often translate to “high cost” for workers and the environment.
It’s a sad fact that some manufacturers keep their costs down by ignoring the rights of employees. The Global Slavery Index estimates that today 29.8 million people are in modern slavery; that’s more than Australia’s entire population.
As individuals, it can be hard to identify ways to make positive change when so many ethical dilemmas face the world. However, at Conquest Equipment, we’re firm believers that when it comes to sourcing products, ethical procurement is one activity to which we can all contribute.
As Michael Mathews, Conquest Equipment’s Managing Director explains, Conquest feels strongly about partnering with like-minded suppliers from around the world that share the company’s values.
“Conquest does business in an ethical, responsible and sustainable way,” says Michael. “Whilst we know that there are many who do not operate like this, we choose to develop strong partnerships with suppliers, customers and the Conquest Team who want to make positive change.”
What is ethical procurement?
Ethical procurement, also referred to as responsible procurement, is a process which:
- Respects fundamental international standards against criminal conduct (like bribery, corruption and fraud) and human rights abuse (like modern slavery), responding immediately when such activity is identified.
- Results in progressive improvements to the lives of people who contribute to supply chains and who are impacted by supply chain decisions.
Protecting basic human rights, including fair pay and workplace safety, should be fundamental for workers everywhere. It also makes good business sense. As laws adapt to reflect the importance of ethically sourced products, companies are introducing stricter procurement processes and may be subject to audits to ensure that they are adhering to ethical supplier codes of conduct.
Ethical business in practice
Conquest is committed to conducting business with the highest standards of integrity, in accordance with our international obligations, and in compliance with all applicable laws. We only work with suppliers who share and follow our high standards in whichever country they operate.
“We are a people-focused company – it’s one of our values to provide the best generosity, support and care to the people we meet,” Michael says.
“Our floor cleaning equipment is sourced from ethical, reputable factories where workers’ rights are honoured. For example, our Tomcat machines are manufactured in the USA and Conquest floor sweepers and power scrubbers are manufactured in Italy.
“It’s important that our customers know that the quality of our services and machines doesn’t come at the expense of others, and confident that Conquest actively promotes ethical procurement.”