Audit harmonization can reduce supplier costs by thousands, and drive investment in social and labor conditions

Initial analysis of Better Buying Purchasing Practice Index (BBPPI) 2021 data indicates that adoption by buyers of standardized CSR reporting can save suppliers thousands of dollars and drive key investments in working conditions, new technologies, and social and community programs.

Suppliers whose customers accept standardized rather than buyer-specific factory audits are reporting significant savings, according to early analysis of findings from the Better BuyingTM Purchasing Practices Index 2021.

85.4% of suppliers who rated the purchasing practices of their customers in relation to win-win sustainable partnerships as part of the Better BuyingTM 2021 ratings cycle, reported that their customers are now accepting existing audits or assessments of factory working conditions in lieu of asking for new audits specifically for themselves.

20.3% reported that their buyers had specifically adopted Social Labor Convergence Program’s Converged Assessment Framework (CAF), a tool designed to combat audit fatigue and duplication by providing suppliers with one set of factual, verified data on the social and labor conditions in their factories. This sub-set of suppliers reported savings of thousands of dollars, in some cases as high as $20,000 a year, which were typically being reinvested in workplace improvements, new technologies, improved social protections for workers, and community programs.

Dr. Marsha Dickson, President and Co-Founder of Better Buying Institute, comments: “These emerging insights reinforce the value of audit harmonization, and of tracking its impact on suppliers and workers year on year, via Better BuyingTM’s  authentic, independent data.”

“They also reveal the tremendous appetite among suppliers for driving change, innovation and improvement, and the impact they can make when they have the financial resources to do so.”

Janet Mensink, Executive Director of the Social & Labor Convergence Program (SLCP), comments: “These initial findings by Better Buying Institute show that SLCP’s vision of redeploying resources from auditing to improving working conditions is becoming a reality for many suppliers. SLCP’s Converged Assessment Framework (CAF) also benefits the brands and retailers working with these suppliers; not only by saving them time and money but also by providing a high-quality and rich data set that is compatible with existing standards. SLCP offers a strong foundation for a win-win sustainable partnership between suppliers and buyers, and we are pleased that the BBPPI 2021 provides evidence to demonstrate SLCP’s success to-date.”

Better Buying Institute will be publishing a Deep Dive Report on audit harmonization, and win-win sustainable partnerships between buyers and suppliers in early 2022.

The Better BuyingTM Purchasing Practices Index Report, which includes findings from the 2021 annual ratings cycle, will be published in October.