Download the whitepaper
This whitepaper highlights:
- The value of codes of conduct
- Whether they support transparency
- How they improve supply chains
Colleen Theron Director – Founder, Ardea International
Rachel Lander Senior Lecturer, University of Westminster Business School
Hannah Purdie Intern, Ardea International
Parker Roth Intern, Ardea International
Joint research project
Ardea International and the University of Westminster Business School undertook a joint research project to discover what role corporate codes of conduct have in improving transparency in supply chains. In this project, the team was motivated to answer the question: How are codes of conduct used to establish supply chain transparency? Upon further investigation, this question was multi-faceted. It was broken down into theoretical and practical elements: defining the key terms, Code of Conduct and transparency and then exploring practical issues for businesses: where to seek guidance; understanding the impact on the supply chain and implementation issues. Further areas addressed were how much reliance should be put on the code itself and effective implementation of codes to maximize impact.
Critical to organisations too is the overall business case for developing Codes of Conduct an why businesses should invest in a strong code of conduct.
What’s included in the White Paper
The paper covers what a code of conduct is and its role in delivering accountability and transparency. It also explains how to use a code of conduct and finally provides suggestions on how to use a code of conduct.
This paper begins in Section 1 by defining what a code of conduct is (both in practical and aspirational terms). It then summarises both the key milestones that influenced the creation of the UN Global Compact (UNGC) and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). The team chose to utilise the UN’s guidance from these documents because the Global Compact provides a general framework for the issues that should be addressed by organisations in their code (UN Global Compact, 2004), and the UNGP provides guidance for what corporate responsibility should look like, along with providing operational principles for implementing that responsibility (UNGP, 2011).
In Section 2, the paper describes the role of a code of conduct by first providing a background discussion on transparency, the power dynamic between buyers and suppliers, and the importance of acknowledging organisational culture. It then discusses the code’s role as a tool for implementing good business practices. Section 3 explains how to use a code of conduct within the organisation. It addresses how to ‘set the scene’ for a code to be effectively implemented, who should write the code, and how to discuss the code with suppliers. Section 4 offers suggestions for how to draft a code, while the final section discusses the results of the team’s survey assessing code implementation.
The research team concluded that, while codes are important, they are ineffective if their requirements are not met with actions to bring about transparency. The code should support an authentic determination to create company values and strong business relationships that encourage honest communication and transparency (see section 2).
How can Ardea help?
Get in touch if your organisation needs help with reviewing or drafting your code of conduct by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
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