Ethical Trade and Responsible Sourcing Program

Buying behaviour is changing and the relationship between global brands and the customers who support them is being transformed by the growing emergence of the conscientious consumer. 

Last year in the UK alone, consumer spending on ethical products, across 27 sectors, reached £83.3 billion, according to the Ethical Consumer Markets Report. Mintel research recently reported that 56 percent of US consumers stop buying from companies they believe are unethical. Purchase choices are increasingly influenced by environmental and ethical considerations as consumers seek assurance about their purchase from the sourcing of raw materials to manufacturing and through to point of sale.

Information about supply chains, materials and processes can be an inspiring part of a brand and a product’s story. However, brands are faced by consumer scepticism about their commitment to ethical trade and responsible sourcing.

BRCGS published a White Paper in January that investigates how ethical consumption trends have influenced consumer behaviour, investment priorities, national and international regulation, and how brand owners are responding to calls for the application of universal ethical trade and responsible sourcing standards.

It presents an overview of evidence from a range of sources and considers the challenges involved in ensuring effective supply chain governance and the role that standards play in helping both retailers and consumers make informed choices. The paper also considers how BRCGS is responding to the growing demand from stakeholders to ensure that the goods they produce are made in an ethical and sustainable way, supported by the fair treatment of workers.