Procurement and Marketing – Demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility in the Marketing Services World

Last week we launched a short research paper titled “Demonstrating Corporate Social Responsibility in the Marketing Services World”.

It was produced in conjunction with ProProcure, who provide an eProcurement platform that addresses spend in this area.  In the paper, we start with a brief overview of CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility),  and then get into some specific issues within the area of marketing materials – although this applies to many other goods too.

At heart, this is all about risk management. In order to manage risk in this and many other areas, there are two key stages. First, you have to understand what and where the potential risks might be. Then you have to apply some control, to mitigate or manage those risks.

That applies in this area of marketing materials just as it does in many others. In too many cases we see, buyers (or budget holders) just don’t understand the origin of the goods they are buying. And if you don’t understand, how do you establish that labour conditions are decent, or that basic environmental standards are being met?

Here’s an excerpt from the paper that starts to get into these issues in more depth.

“So what can marketing and procurement executives do to reduce these risks? The most fundamental answer is to understand the supply base. Who is involved at different stages of the supply chain? Who is the ultimate manufacturer?

The key is to insist on transparency and then require appropriate standards. Set specifications and standards for the supply base, including those areas of sustainability sensitivity. Monitor properly, for the most critical suppliers at least (you probably can’t visit every factory every month). But some sort of checking or certification for major and regular providers is feasible. Are the products made in a sustainable fashion? And where appropriate, consider whole-life sustainability initiatives such as disposal and re-cycleability.

If you do use agents, brokers or middlemen (and they can have their place), make sure the arrangements are transparent. Insist on knowing who is the ultimate manufacturer of the goods, and understand each stage of the supply chain”.   

There is we hope something of interest here for anyone interested in CSR as well as those involved in procurement of marketing goods and services – as well as the marketing profession as well of course. You can download the paper here, free on registration.

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