Supply chains need to be ethically responsibile
While corporate supply chains are historically motivated by financial directives, evolving consumer priorities now require businesses to be socially responsible. The demands of the global marketplace put pressure on supply chains to be flexible and to function effectively.
In recent decades, the priorities of supply chain management in the United States heavily emphasized outsourcing, allowing the production, assembly and distribution of goods to take place in three separate countries. Though the process was often scrutinized it fortified the need for corporate citizenship, which had to extend beyond the organization to contractors and suppliers overseas. Corporate social responsibility (CSR) promotes environmental, health and safety concerns globally.
Maintaining CSR standards can be difficult when the result of outsourcing came in the form of conflicting regulations. Companies based in the U.S. have the unique challenge of overcoming geographic borders, political boundaries and cultural differences in order to establish workplace standards that need to be adhered to on an international level.
Companies like Nike and, most recently, Apple have come under media fire for workplace practices abroad. While companies are still navigating how to streamline best practices in regards to human resources and collaborative production, CSR remains a crucial aspect of supply chain management.
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