Again these rules and regulations vary from company

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Again these rules and regulations vary from company to company and can often mean one factory has to satisfy several company audits due to their engagement with many. In addition to planned audits, companies may also conduct on-the-spot checks to make sure that advance preparation is not hiding any potential issues. Many companies also implement an online electronic system, which allows a two-way communication process between the company and the supplier. This often automated system allows the company to follow products through their supply chain and monitor where non-compliance issues may occur. A change in company attitudes in recent years has seen a more proactive approach to solving such issues. During interviews conducted by the author in 2010, two major high street retailers discussed how they aim to work with a supplier should issues occur in following their code of conduct. Whilst non-compliance is treated very seriously, companies are beginning to build stronger relationships with suppliers to implement strategies to prevent further issues happening again in the future. This approach is often taken in preference to a severance of relationships where new relationships would need to be developed covering old ground previously undertaken with existing suppliers. This closer working relationship is now seen as a preferable response to non-compliance issues to only help build the strength in working relationships in the supply chain between two key stakeholders; retailers and their suppliers. The hiding of information is unfortunately a common occurrence during the auditing process with some factories passing some of their large and pressured workloads onto third-party factories. The key issue with this approach is the lack of control and regulation companies have over the working standards of these addi- tional factories. Often labelled as shadow factories (Harney 2008 ) the unregula- tion of such factories can have major consequences in compliance of their code of conduct. These issues can include breaches of health and safety standards such as, lack of fi re exits and excessive working hours. All of which cannot be controlled with third-party suppliers or shadow factories often resulting in non-responsibility in the supply chain. When the company code of conduct is not complied with is Connectivity, Understanding and Empathy 69
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when media expose can happen. The risk of this ironically is one reason which discourages more companies from utilising transparent business practices. 3 The Consumer Retailer Relationship 3.1 The Power of the Consumer The relationship between the consumer and the retailer is often approached with some degree of cynicism. Consumers tend to have a sense of distrust towards the retailer often being centred on money and the price that is being asked for a certain product or goods. This feeling is cemented within the purchasing process, where the consumer will initially search for a product that ful fi ls their need or want identi fi ed.
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  • Business Ethics, Corporate social responsibility, Alana M. James, Bruce Montgomery

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