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Responsible sourcing in China

by Asia Quality Focus team

Strikes, suicides, accident in China factories manufacturing for big brands have shocked the world and affected the brands reputation as well as turnover. Responsible sourcing in China is starting to be taken into serious account by international brands and retailers. They understand that responsibility has a price and there are high risks in buying without carefully checking who the supplier is, the working conditions it offers, etc.

What is a responsible sourcing in China?

International trade has done a lot to lift people out of poverty. However, international human rights are sometimes neglected in favor of profits and low cost production, including cheap labor. This is how China has been developing and many other countries would like to follow suit. Nevertheless, brands are more cautious now. They want to learn from past mistakes and avoid new scandals. Responsible sourcing aims to reduce social and environmental risks within the supply chain while taking advantage of lesser developed nations where labor cost is lower.

How to become a responsible buyer in China?

There are some companies who specialize in this particular field. They work together with the retailers to improve livelihood along the supply chain, ensuring the retailers bring social benefits to the country they are working with.

Now, many small and medium companies have a limited budget to invest in such consulting services. Indeed, only big companies can afford such a long term investment. As an alternative solution, buyers should consider performing specific factory audits to source responsibly in China:

The cost for each audit service is affordable, from 600USD for services offered by inspection companies holding the AQSIQ license. At this price, the buyer can understand if its supplier respects the human and labor rights as well as environmental conditions based on international standards.

Factory audits, a “marketing” argument?

It depends on the brand. However, factory audits play an important role in responsible sourcing. They identify strengths and weaknesses of factories to outline the appropriate corrective actions to be taken.

Obviously, to be efficient, factory audits should be performed regularly to verify the good implementation of the corrective actions and they should seek for continuous improvement.


To ensure that the supplier is willing to work together with the buyer, there should be one basic condition: the business volume that the buyer will bring to the manufacturer has to be relevant.

And you: do you practice responsible sourcing in China or in other countries in Asia?

Read the original article here.

The Asia Quality Focus team is an international team of specialists in product inspections, factory audits, lab testing and product certifications for all kinds of consumer goods. To share experience and opinions in how to better and safer source in Asia they created the Quality Control Blog. Feel free to contact them here.

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