About Purchasing Practices

Our buyer rating system examines seven key categories of retailer purchasing practices that affect working conditions for workers.

Research has shown that buyer purchasing practices can prevent supplier compliance with company codes of conduct and put at risk the lives and dignity of workers in supply chains. While poor purchasing practices have led to many problems, including child labor and employee retrenchment, many of their negative effects fall into four categories.

  • Failure to pay wages and benefits required by law and buyers’ codes of conduct
  • Use of excessive overtime, some of which may be forced
  • Unauthorized subcontracting to unsafe facilities with poor working conditions
  • Increase use of temporary labor making employment more precarious

Better Buying sheds light on purchasing practices so that they can be improved and suppliers will be better supported in providing safe and fair conditions for workers.

Suppliers rate seven areas of their buyers’ purchasing practices, including:

  • Planning and forecasting
  • Design and development
  • Cost and cost negotiation
  • Sourcing and order placement
  • Payment and terms
  • Managing the purchasing process
  • Win-win sustainable partnership (formerly CSR harmonization)


Purchasing Practice #1

Planning & Forecasting

Planning and forecasting measure the visibility buyers provide suppliers into ordering plans. It also measures…


Purchasing Practice #2

Design & Development

Design and development capture the extent buyers are late or inaccurate in providing necessary technical…


Purchasing Practice #3

Cost and Cost Negotiation

Cost and cost negotiation captures whether suppliers receive sufficient funds to meet all the buyer’s…


Purchasing Practice #4

Sourcing & Order Placement

Sourcing and order placement considers two topics–whether supplier compliance to codes of conducts is incentivized…


Purchasing Practice #5

Payment and Terms

Payment and terms measures whether suppliers are paid on time and at the price agreed…


Purchasing Practice #6

Managing the Purchasing Process

Managing the purchasing process looks at whether the time suppliers need for production is offered…


Purchasing Practice #7

Win-Win Sustainable Partnership (formerly CSR Harmonization)

Win-Win Sustainable Partnership includes both the internal alignment of buyer staff on corporate social compliance…


Suppliers, register now and begin rating your buyers.

Suppliers, you can start by:

  • Registering your company on the Better Buying rating site.
  • Then, proceed to anonymously rate each of your buyers on the seven key categories of purchasing practices.
  • Questions on all purchasing practice categories must be answered in order to complete a rating. The system automatically saves a rating you have started so you can complete it later if that is more convenient. After submitting a rating, you will be able to view the score earned by the buyer.
  • While suppliers may rate their buyers at any time, Better Buying calculates ratings scores twice each year. At the end of each rating cycle, all the ratings for a single buyer are aggregated, turned into an overall score that averages all supplier ratings of a specific buyer, made available to the buyers and suppliers submitting the ratings, and eventually made public.
  • At no time is the identity of the supplier or the supplier-submitted data made available to buyers or the public.
  • A star rating system is based on objective and data-driven questions encompassing all seven categories of purchasing practices and then weighted to produce an overall score. Ratings are updated by suppliers every six months. The result: suppliers, buyers, and the public can get up-to-date information about a buyer’s purchasing practices and how they are changing – hopefully for the better – over time.