Five Lessons in Choosing an Ethical Production Partner
The people you work with will make or break a business, particularly so if you are planning for a purpose driven one. The field of ethical or sustainable production is a murky one and filled with labels and acronyms that may be intimidating for someone without years of expertise in the relevant industry. Here are five key lessons to break it down.
01 | DECIDE YOUR MAIN CATEGORIES OF CONSIDERATION AND WHAT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU
- Business imperatives
- Product integrity
- Social / environmental impact
- Management robustness
This is the most fundamental starting point for ensuring that your values and vision for your business translates to actual practice.
02 | WEIGHT EACH OF THESE CATEGORIES AND DEVELOP CRITERIA FOR YOUR SCORING
These are criteria to score the above main categories. For example, because craft and heritage were so important to us, this is what we developed for Product Integrity, which matters for 30% in our overall selection.
- Individual craftsmanship in production
- Industry expertise / generational depth
- Quality control and assurance
- Supply chain transparency
03 | VISIT EACH OF THESE SUPPLIERS PERSONALLY
There is nothing better than a face-to-face meeting and field trip to understand a company’s culture, how they work, whether they treat their people fairly, and whether you will enjoy a working relationship with them. If long term partnership is what you’re looking for, this is imperative. A Skype call is the bare minimum!
04 | SAMPLE ACROSS A FEW TO COMPARE QUALITY AND PRICE
And most importantly, don’t just go for the cheapest one. This exercise is for you to compare the quality of different suppliers and the way they work, whether it’s how and when they ask for payment to how they interact with you as a business partner and how important your business is to them.
05 | TRUST
If you’re working with a partner in a different culture, sometimes trust and a phone call is much better than repetitive emails and chasing. Figuring out the work culture of another country is also imperative before making quick judgements. Like how in India, everything is possible until it’s not.
It is necessary to consider these factors when choosing an ethical production partner as it would affect how your business will grow and progress in line with your goals and philosophy. A mutual understanding between you and your partner is essential in ensuring a good communication and partnership ahead.
FROM THE EDITOR
At Conscious, we are inspired by remarkable people and organizations and so we set out to tell stories that highlight human interests, global initiatives, innovation, community development and social impact. You can read more stories like this when you subscribe.