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Supply Chain Analysis

We offer independent, critically engaged advice on working with your suppliers to help drive compliance with your policies and to meet your ethical goals.

Our researchers have studied the best (and worst) management of ethical issues in supply chains across more than one hundred business sectors and have built up a wealth of knowledge about how companies can deal with tricky ethical situations in the real world.

Our services also help businesses and charities maximise their positive social and environmental impacts downstream.

We recognise that organisations of different sizes will have very different needs and budgets. We therefore tailor our services to be proportionate as well as robust.


Audit services include:

1. Reviewing standards
What do you want suppliers to commit to? This often includes standards for workers, such as no child labour, and environmental standards, such as no use of certain problem chemicals. What about modern slavery? Are the existing standards coherent, and are they in line with best practice?

2. Communicating standards to downstream suppliers
How are these standards being communicated? Is there a questionnaire? Are there contractual clauses or tender documents? How often are these reviewed? What happens with second and third-tier suppliers? How is this checked?

3. Audit planning and risk management
Some supply chains are very complicated. Is there a risk assessment process built into an audit programme to address the biggest problems first? How is the programme structured over time?

4. Audit visits and reporting
Is there a need for public assurance reports that an independent body has looked at key ethical performance issues? Will a third party be able to see confidential information on second and third-tier suppliers that may not be disclosed to a purchaser? Will audit reporting help stakeholders feel good about what a business or charity is trying to do?

5. Remediation and difficult issues
Are there policies and processes in place for when things go wrong? Are there collaborative projects that can help with particular problems or issues?


To discuss how we can work with you on supply chain audits, call Alex Crumbie on 0161 226 2929, or email

With over 25 years experience of offering flexible and creative solutions to businesses and NGOs, our research team can help your organisation to manage risk, get ahead of the curve on sustainability issues and work with consumers to have real impact.


Example Work

Lush Cosmetics non-animal testing audit

For the last six years, Ethical Consumer has been working with Lush’s non-animal testing team to develop and audit the process that it uses to ensure its policy is adhered to throughout its supply chain.

We perform the role of independent auditors, interviewing suppliers, buyers and management teams that interact with Lush’s non-animal testing policy. Through the process, we also help the company promote its non-animal testing policy throughout its supply chain and assess to what extent it is fully understood by its suppliers.

We produce an annual audit report for Lush, complete with noteworthy changes and recommendations for the development of its processes. This project has helped Lush fine-tune its approach to compliance with its non-animal policy and systematically coordinate its process throughout its global operations. See Lush Cosmetics ethical buying policy


To discuss how we can work with you on supply chain audits, call Alex Crumbie on 0161 226 2929, or email