Survey shows consumers avoid unethically sourced products

By Helen Adams
More than half of consumers would avoid buying from brands accused of working with unethical suppliers, says OpenText

New research from OpenText has revealed that 53% of UK consumers would never buy from a brand again, if it was accused of working with unethical suppliers. Instead, they would look to find an alternative brand that engages in responsible sourcing. 

The new data – from a survey of 2,000 UK respondents – highlights the importance for brands in proactively ensuring all suppliers in their supply chain operate ethically. 

The survey findings also highlight that the pandemic has made consumers more mindful of the impact of their purchases: 

  • Pre-pandemic, 69% of customers said they prioritised buying from companies with ethical sourcing strategies in place
  • Post-pandemic, that had risen to 82% 

The business case for ethical supply chains

  • 48% of UK consumers judge a brand based on not just its actions, but the actions of its suppliers as well
  • 76% are willing to pay more if they can be sure a product has been ethically sourced or produced
  • 29% are willing to spend between 25% - 50% more for that product

“Creating an ethical supply chain requires having visibility into every supplier”, said Lou Blatt, senior vice president and CMO at OpenText. “The ethically minded consumer is exercising more control over their buying power. Brands can no longer claim they act responsibly if they have no visibility into their operations or those of their suppliers.”

Rising demand for ethical business principles

  • 41% of UK consumers now make a conscious effort to purchase locally sourced or produced items to support local businesses and reduce their carbon footprint when shopping online
  • 63% of UK consumers agree businesses have a responsibility to ensure their suppliers abide by an ethical code 
  • 58% believe that businesses that cannot monitor where their goods have come from and don’t know if suppliers are sourcing goods ethically need to rethink their supply chain

Increased focus on transparency and accountability

  • 61% UK consumers agree that the government should introduce regulation that holds businesses more accountable for responsible sourcing
  • 80% also think online retailers should clearly mark whether or not products are ethically sourced 
  • 72% admit that knowing where a product has originated from is important to their buying decision
  • 43% say this information always or often impacts their buying decision.

“To build an ethical supply chain, an organisation must have access to information that it can trust”, commented Mark Morley, senior director at OpenText. “Having insight into every part of the supply chain not only helps companies live up to customer expectations on ethical business processes, but also allows them to demonstrate how they are doing so. By deploying a single, unified, cloud-based integration platform, organisations can digitise the flow of data and transactions between everyone in the supply chain for complete visibility and transparency. Ultimately, organisations also need to ensure that once they have visibility into their suppliers, they only work with those which can demonstrate their ethical qualifications, performance and compliance. This is vital to meeting rising customer demand for ethical and responsible sourcing strategies.”

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