The Second Day of Christmas – reputational risk through sourcing controlled products

(11 working days to Christmas – here’s part 2 in our special procurement best practice series).


Thanks for the note asking for our help with your latest sourcing requirement. However, I’m not sure we can help you, given that the two Turtle Doves you require are now a moderately endangered species.

I quote from the Guardian of December 6th: “turtle doves are disappearing from the countryside at such alarming rates that without urgent action the species may cease to exist in the UK ... scientists have warned. The turtle dove population, estimated at 14,000 pairs, has seen a 60% drop in numbers in the five years to 2010”.

I also have to remind you that the Turtle Dove is protected under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as all birds, their nests and eggs are protected by law. It is also listed on the Birds of Conservation Concern (BoCC) Red List.

Any attempt for us therefore to purchase these birds would without a doubt bring severe reputational risk to the company. We’re particularly sensitive to this because we have had a few other problems recently with issues around corporate social responsibility in our supply chain. That piece in the Daily Mail describing us as “swimming in the blood of diamond miners” last month wasn’t good, and who in the catering department thought it was a good idea to put (real) Turtle Soup on the canteen menu, I just don’t know.

We’ve also had problems because of our suppliers employing 5 year old children in their sweat shops, and our copier paper was apparently made from thousand-year-old illegally logged trees in the Amazon rain-forest. The BBC got hold of that story and our share price fell 5% in a day if you remember.

So I think you can see, the last thing we need right now is any involvement in the purchase, or use of rare bird species. On the other hand, we could send a couple of the trainees out to Trafalgar Square and see if they can score you some juicy pigeons....




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