AIM-PROGRESS - Program for responsible sourcing
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Supplier FAQs

Below you can find some of the most frequently asked questions by suppliers. If you have any other questions related to responsible sourcing, please contact


What is Ethical Trade?


Ethical Trade means that all levels in the supply chain are responsible for respecting human rights, promoting improved working conditions and better environment, and do not engage in corruptive practices when conducting business.


Why are customers asking for this information?


AIM-PROGRESS members have each built up consumer loyalty over many years. This loyalty is based on trust and can very easily be damaged, consumers expect brands to behave in a responsible manner and be good corporate citizens, part of this means working wth suppliers that comply with local laws and internationally recognised principles, guidelines and standards. In recent years we have seen many cases where brand reputation has been damaged because of activities taking place somewhere in the global supply chain. In order to identify where improvements need to be made AIM-PROGRESS members ask their suppliers for information on their practices and conduct assessments to find out where there might be gaps. 


Why should I engage in Responsible Sourcing? 


By engaging in Responsible Sourcing, you are showing commitment to respect human rights, be responsible towards your workers, the environment, your community and your supply chain. Responsible sourcing brings various benefits, such as cost savings, increased worker retention and productivity, brand/company reputation, compliance with the law and competitive advantage (being preferred by customers).


How are AIM-PROGRESS members working together?


AIM-PROGRESS members recognize that there are multiple benefits to working together on responsible sourcing. We know that we are all asking our suppliers’ very similar questions and that, as we are all working in the same industry, we have a lot of common suppliers, so by collaborating together we can reduce some of the duplication that our suppliers are facing.

AIM-PROGRESS members have established an initiative called Mutual Recognition, which means ‘an audit for one is an audit for all’.Companies that participate in Mutual Recognition have agreed that they will review audits conducted on behalf of other AIM-PROGRESS members to see if they will also meet their requirements. To understand more about specific company requirements you will need to contact your customer contact. If this is the first time that you have been ethically audited by a customer it is important to recognize that you could use the same assessment to meet the needs of your other customers. 


What do AIM-PROGRESS members want to achieve through their Responsible Sourcing programs?

We want to be assured that we are working with the best suppliers. Our suppliers' business practices should not be a concern for us or our customers/consumers. This means we need to have a more thorough monitoring and improvement process, as well as standard documentation that evidences the systems, the level of quality and conditions on the site. 


How can I share my ethical audit with customers?


Customers will have different preferences on how you need to submit the audit report, so you will need to speak to your customer contact for specific advice; however many AIM-PROGRESS members use online platforms where you can upload the report and they can view the information online. If you have had an audit in the past make sure that the corrective action plan has been implemented within the timeframes provided by the auditor and that the actions are verified – no corrective action verification is one of the most common reasons for audits being rejected.


Why should my company pay for the audit?


There are two main reasons for this:

1. You benefit most from the audit as this is about providing sound business advice about your site’s operations which you and all of your customers will benefit from.

2. You will own the output of the audit process, i.e. audit report and Corrective Action Plan. This information can be shared with all your customers.


Can we charge more for our goods given that we provide these assurances?


Whilst in the short term it is recognised that there are some upfront costs in compliance, a proper programme to improve social, environmental and economic conditions in an organisation will make it more productive and efficient, so it is not expected that any additional cost will be charged. 


Where can I find more information about systems and tools for responsible sourcing?


There are various systems and tools available to help suppliers engage in responsible sourcing programs. Click here to find out more. 



Where can I learn more about responsible sourcing for suppliers?


AIM-PROGRESS seeks to promote responsible sourcing practices throughout the supply chain, with particular focus on increasing supplier capability. AIM-PROGRESS members are collaborating to deliver joint supplier capability events to provide information, resources and tools to ensure suppliers understand and comply with responsible sourcing standards. Click here to find out more and check the our useful links





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