Sedex permits suppliers to exchange data on responsible business practices with the companies they do business with. The non-profit organisation also helps some groups carry out ethical, health and safety audits on suppliers to gain information to manage risk, and make global networks more transparent.
This is important for the food industry, because not knowing who is at the bottom of the supply chain can lead to serious problems, as Europe’s recent horsemeat scandal shows. In response to this, as well as the correlation between food products and consumer wellbeing, the food industry has come to the forefront of sustainable and ethical supply chains.
The goal is to avoid work being contracted (or subcontracted) to suppliers with questionable standards for health and safety, working conditions or environmental performance. Sedex says it is necessary to address issues that impact on an industry through joint projects and collaborative platforms to create synergies. It also stresses the importance of sharing examples of how sustainability can be implemented to grow business, as well as enact positive change. In striving for these, all parties have the opportunity to boast their credentials, protect their reputations and ensure that commerce is more ethical.