Consumers shunning brands that work with unethical suppliers


New research from OpenText reveals that 57 per cent of the 1000 Australian consumers they surveyed would never buy from a brand again if it was accused of working with unethical suppliers.

The survey noted that consumers are more mindful of the impact of their purchases in this post-pandemic period, with 84 per cent of respondents saying that they will prioritise buying from companies that make it clear they have ethical sourcing strategies in place. This figure is higher than the 73 per cent who expressed such sentiments pre-pandemic.

The survey also reveals that 24 per cent admit that ethical practices only started to matter to them in the last year or so. Over four-fifths of respondents, 81 per cent, are even willing to compromise convenience, such as accepting a slower delivery if they can be sure an item has been ethically sourced or produced. That 81 per cent is made up of 59 per cent who say they would only make such a sacrifice sometimes or for certain items, and 22 per cent who say they are always willing to make this compromise.

“Creating an ethical supply chain requires having visibility into every supplier,” Lou Blatt, senior vice president and CMO at OpenText, said. “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.”

When shopping online, the survey noted that 49 per cent of Australian consumers are making a conscious effort to purchase locally sourced or produced items to support local businesses and reduce their carbon footprint.

Almost two-thirds, 65 per cent, are in agreement that businesses have a responsibility to ensure their suppliers abide by an ethical code. Moreover, 58 per cent 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.

Of the respondents, 61 per cent also agree that government should introduce regulation that holds businesses more accountable for responsible sourcing. In addition, 83 per cent think online retailers should clearly mark whether or not products are ethically sourced where they can. And 78 per cent admit that knowing where a product has originated from or where parts are sourced is important to their buying decision. For 48 per cent, this information always or often impacts their buying decision.

“Transparency is paramount in building an ethical supply chain, and this can only be achieved through the utilisation of trustworthy information,” George Harb, Regional Vice President of Business Ecosystems in APAC at OpenText, said. “Having full visibility across the supply chain empowers organisations to do more to meet customers’ expectations when it comes to ethical sourcing and practices, and enables them to hold partners and suppliers accountable.

“By embracing a single, unified, cloud-based integration platform, organisations will not only optimise the flow of information across the supply chain, but have the transparency to ensure it operates ethically at every stage,” Harb concluded.