Supply Chain Danger – Code of Conduct Compliance


To ensure consistent quality and standards, many global companies implement a code of conduct for every member of their supply chain to follow. This also ensures consistency through the imposition and compliance of ethical standards. When all supply chain members are guided by the same principles, they can act in a manner consistent with the business’ core values.

Supply Chains

Today’s global marketplace means that many individuals and businesses from diverse backgrounds may be integrated in the supply chain. Businesses may have inventory employees and a warehouse in one country with call center employees in another. Vendors may come from other countries. Distributors may be across the globe. Partners may also be located in another country. This means that all broad communications that must be disseminated to the various pieces of the supply chain can benefit from professional translation services to ensure that important information is in all of the languages represented in the supply chain.

Code of Conduct

Responsible global companies establish a clearly written code of conduct. This code of conduct is delivered to all members of the supply chain, which are all required to comply with it. This code of conduct is a set of principles that all members of the supply chain are required to follow so that the actions of all members are consistent with the business’ core values. Some of the principles that may be included in such codes of conduct include:

Compliance with the Law

To avoid legal liability, the business may outline the requirement for the members in the supply chain to comply with all laws, regulations and bylaws. The code of conduct may also address specific laws that must be honored, including labor laws, wage and hour laws and rules instituted by regulatory agencies. Additionally, the code of conduct may emphasize the importance of upholding business contracts.

Labor Conditions

A code of conduct may emphasize the importance of maintaining safe working conditions at each stage in the supply chain. It may include prohibitions against child labor, specific health and safety guidelines, working hours, minimum amounts of compensation and other core values that are important to the business.

Avoidance of Conflicts of Interest

An important part to many businesses’ codes of conduct is to avoid any possible conflict of interest that could potentially interrupt business operations or their reputation to the public. If a conflict of interest does arise, the code of conduct may require the affected member to immediately notify the business of this information.


The code of conduct may include anti-corruption measures, ethical measures in managing partner relationships, complying with fair business practices and methods for the business to operate with honesty and integrity in all they do.

Environmental Policies

The code of conduct may also lay out expectations regarding the environmental practices employed by all of the members of the supply chain. This may include recommendations regarding how to preserve natural resources, how to safely transport products and how to use certain sustainable methods to promote an environmental consciousness.

Compliance Measures

To ensure that all members comply with the code of conduct, businesses must first make sure that they understand it. One way to accomplish this goal is to use professional translation services to ensure that documentation is in each member’s native language. It can be difficult to enforce rules if the business cannot show that the members received a translated contract that they understand. Global businesses have found themselves in troubled legal waters when misconduct has occurred at a different stage in the supply chain, but were ultimately held responsible for the members breaking the supply chain code of conduct. One effective method that one business has implemented is to use professional translation services to translate their code of conduct into multiple languages and to make this information easily accessible to all components of the supply chain. Another business provided an information pack for its factory managers that included practical tips, case studies and fact sheets that identified areas of high risk. The information packs were translated into local languages.