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Shire collaborates with Sedex in Continuing Drive to Ensure Responsible Suppliers
28 Nov 2012
Eight years ago, the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange, a non-profit organization otherwise known as Sedex, was created on behalf of a deep desire to drive “improvements in ethical and responsible business practices in global supply chains.”
Today, Sedex has some 27,000 supplier members operating in 150 countries and 23 industry sectors, and more than 430 corporate members—Shire newly among them. It’s a natural fit, says Gordon Ewart who, as a member of the Shire Responsibility team, plays a key role in developing Shire’s ethical procurement policy and in ensuring that Shire continually assesses the broader sustainability risks of key suppliers.
“Our business model heavily relies on outsourcing and long-term partnerships to meet our many goals,” says Gordon. “We have a responsibility to qualify our suppliers and to ensure that they are doing business in a manner that reflects our own values. Our corporate membership with Sedex is pivotal to the process. It’s not just the largest platform for sharing ethical supply chain data with its 430 corporate members. It’s a repository of critical insight into labor standards, health and safety, environmental practices, and business practices and risks in our supply chain.”
According to Gordon, Shire’s own Global Procurement, HGT and SP Global Supply Chains, and Global Health, Safety & Environment teams are collaboratively managing the implementation of the Sedex program. An early objective is to ensure that key Shire suppliers—those providing products and services with potential ethical risks—join Sedex so that their own ethical practices can be assessed and added to the overall database.
“This is a big program,” says Gordon, “with many moving parts. Our first step is to contact more than 3,000 suppliers by early November and ask that they join Sedex, for a $350 USD fee and share information on their Responsibility performance and practices. We’re not presenting the request as a mandate. We’re not going to view any suppliers negatively if they do not join. But their cooperation with our request will serve as a sign to us regarding the supplier’s own transparency and willingness to contain risks pertinent to Shire brands and patients.”