Does your employer have an ethical procurement policy?

Does your employer have an ethical procurement policy? Are the goods it buys as part of delivering key public services – whether that’s staff clothing or food, electronics, paper, or furnishings – produced without abusing workers?

If not, your branch can work with them to develop a policy, and if there already is one, then UNISON would like to hear about it.

In particular, the union wants to hear of any clauses or statements used in tender documents, together with any other good practice.

UNISON will then use the information to develop guidance for branches talking to their employers about ethical procurement. So please talk to your employer or purchasing department and share the information with the union by emailing

Most goods used in delivering public services are sourced responsibly – but abuses can occur anywhere along the supply chain.

Just some examples from the global, multi-billion pound procurement market include:

  • forced labour harvesting the cotton used to make work clothes;
  • workers being intimidation and discriminated against or being dismissed for joining a union;
  • child labour making electronics or footwear;
  • workers being illegally underpaid;
  • fruit pickers subject to hazardous working conditions.