Every product has health and environmental impacts as a result of manufacture, use, and ultimate disposal. Today's consumers increasingly demand high-quality as well as safer, ethical, “green” products. This cannot be achieved by a company's processes alone, but depends on the processes of its suppliers. Businesses increasingly recognize that focusing on price and quality of inputs is one-dimensional, and sourcing is not only about unit cost and just-in-time. Responsible sourcing integrates the three pillars of sustainability—economic, environmental, and social—into the procurement process. It is an integral part of effective supply chain management, bundling health, environmental, social, and ethical considerations with the routine purchasing processes of price, product performance, and delivery schedule.

Responsible sourcing addresses upstream activities from raw material extraction to final inputs and should be ...

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