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Promotional Merchandise And Ethical Trading- 5 Top Tips to Protect Your Brand


It only takes a matter of days for a famous brand to lose all its credibility if stories appear in the media about the exploitation of workers manufacturing products on their behalf. Worldwide brands such as Pepsi, Sony or Nike spend large amounts of money advertising their brand with Promotional Merchandise, this article offers you some great advice on how to ensure that the promotional Merchandise you buy or supply is sourced ethically.

Recently in the UK a number of well known high street brands have been caught up in a storm of adverse publicity relating to how their products have been manufactured. Pictures of children working on sewing machines in the sweat shops of Bangladesh or in the backstreets of Chinese villages have caused enormous damage to their reputations. Now let me explain how not to get into these situations?

1. Have your own independent representation in every country you manufacture in

Most major companies either have their own staff or agents on the ground in their chosen manufacturing regions. The local personnell are paid to inspect the working conditions and to check that the national labour regulations of the countries they are based in are adhered to. Anything less than this very basic level of inspection is dangerous and it leaves you open to gross misconduct on the part of an unscrupulous manufacturer.

2. Carry out regular, independent inspections of your factories.

There are a number of Professional Inspection companies such as SGS or Beaureau Veritas who will inspect facilities on your behalf and report back to you with their findings. You can determine the type and level of inspection that may relate to working conditions, wages, sleeping arrangements, medical coverage etc. These reports can then be used by a supplier to demonstrate to a third party that the goods they are providing have been manufactured in ethically and environmentally sound conditions.

3. Consider joining SEDEX

Sedex is the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange, it is a membership organisation set up for businesses that have committed themselves to the continuous improvement in the performance of ethical practices by the members of their supply chains. This is an excellent organisation that has a wealth of experience in assisting companies to set up a system that enables them to trade ethically.

4. Consider Joining the ETI

The Ethical trading Initiative is a relatively new organisation set up in the 1990's. Voluntary organisations, Trade Unions and Companies have been brought together to ensure that the lives and working conditions of the people that produce their goods are continually being improved - from coffee beans to necklaces and from soccer balls to biscuit tins. This organisation is only too keen to help new companies protect and improve the lot of their manufacturing units.

5. Do not trust anything that cannot be proven

Do not leave your reputation or the reputation of your clients in the hands of your suppliers. Do not accept photographs as proof that a factory is complying with your requirements, they could well be sending you images of an entirely different premises. Make sure you pay professional people to visit your manufacturers and carry out a full and proper inspection.

You can find lots more information on all the organisations I have mentioned in this article by looking them up on Google. If you are doing none of the above at the moment then you are taking a great risk, none of these actions require vast amounts of your time or money but they could make a vast difference to the lives of the workers in your supply chain so I do urge you to act today.


Francis Murphy is the Managing Director of BTC Group which was established in 1977. His 30+ years of experience in the Promotional Merchandise arena has helped him develop an organisation that has grown to become the largest privately owned Promotional Merchandise company in the UK. To see a video of what this amazing company has achieved and what it does for it's clients click the link below. http://www.btcgroup.co.uk

Source: http://www.submityourarticle.com

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