Glamour was tarnished in the fashion industry over the last month, as up and coming fast fashion brands Boohoo and Quiz were caught in the crossfire of accusations of modern slavery, aimed at suppliers who were paying workers below the minimum wage or forcing workers to come into work with coronavirus symptoms. As a result, Boohoo’s share price has plummeted. Both companies have announced extensive reviews of their supply chains and auditing processes, while Boohoo announced that it would invest £10m to eradicate supply chain malpractice.
“Non-compliance can have a huge impact on reputation and business continuity, at a time when businesses are trying to build back and when having the capability to rely on your supply chain is essential”, says Gemma Archibald, Managing Director of Alcumus SafeContractor, a contractor and supplier accreditation provider.
“It is beyond regrettable to read stories in the media where this realisation has come too late, especially as such instances are so preventable. Clearly there is an increasing need for organisations to ensure their supply chains are compliant and their procedures robust, across all trading practices. As businesses and supply chains become ever more complex, I cannot stress enough how crucial it is to have full supply chain visibility, given the risks associated with non-compliance.”
Even big names have had unfortunate experiences in recent years, such as prison labour or slave labour incidents for Tesco or Kozee. But the trend is clear: businesses are increasingly embracing their responsibility to protect not only their workforce, but also the wider ecosystem that is part of their supply chain.
“The majority of companies using our contractor health & safety accreditation solutions now also mandate additional supplier screening covering sustainability, finance and ethical risks. This has increased significantly in the last year”, adds Gemma.
“Alcumus SafeContractor launched SafePQQ to help companies connect with contractors who share the same values and who want to grow their businesses by working together, without compromising safety, sustainability, or ethics.”
SafePQQ is an online standardised pre-qualification questionnaire which includes the common question sets defined within PAS91. It is an effective and agile process, which provides organisations with greater visibility of their supply chain compliance. Contractors sign up and submit their details online and the information is reviewed once a year, ensuring that supply chain compliance information is regularly updated.
“A small minority of suppliers undergoing a SafeContractor or SafePQQ accreditation process are flagged as potentially presenting a risk, but each such instance can potentially mean millions of pounds saved for our clients, lives protected and workplaces made safer and better. Organisations that use the SafeContractor management portal can view at-risk suppliers at the click of a button. SafePQQ is a simple and effective first filter, to ensure that supply chain risk is mitigated and companies protect their businesses and their reputation”, Archibald added.