The Case for Purchasing with Principles

November 13, 2014 Staples Advantage


Spend a few minutes watching people shop at a grocery store, and you’re bound to notice a frequent, familiar action many shoppers have in common—picking up an item and turning it over. Where once, the price tag was king, shoppers are now reading the nutrition label to see exactly what they’d be consuming if they bought that item. But are people as concerned about what goes into making the other items they purchase, use and consume?

This month, Levi Strauss made headlines when it announced a program to provide financial incentives to suppliers who met certain environmental, labor and safety standards. The better they perform on these measures, the better the incentives. It’s a small measure for a big company, but it brings up an interesting point—are companies reading the “nutrition labels” of their suppliers to see what’s going into their products?

Go Green Case Study

Case Study: The University of Colorado shows off its “green” side and saves

Ultimately, value is about more than just what you’re paying for your products, and vendors should be able to articulate their supply chain standards and help you determine whether these standards are in line with your own corporate responsibility goals and missions. With consumers willing to pay an average of 27% more for products sourced under good working conditions, it’s clear that consumer and end user standards are high.

It can be difficult to know the “right” questions to ask of suppliers when evaluating current and potential partners, but as you’re evaluating current and prospective suppliers, consider the value of their diversity, sustainability and human rights initiatives as you comparison shop.


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