A Professor of Management Studies at San Jose State University in California, United States of America, Anne T. Lawrence has called on multinational companies to prioritise social, ethical and environmental issues arising in the global supply chain in their operations.
Prof. Lawrence called on organisations to put in place systems to prevent dangerous working conditions, discrimination, excessive overtime, low wages, environmental pollution and the use of child and forced labour.
The Professor of Management made this call when she delivered a public lecture at the University of Cape Coast on the topic “Social, Ethical and Environmental Responsibility in the Global Supply Chain.” She said the consequence of such actions included loss of huge sums of money in law suits and a dent in their reputation which would lead to a decrease in their customers. She cited several cases in which legal action had been taken against some companies for violation of standards in the course of their business. On the negative effect of the environment, she said the natural resources on which the organisation depended on would drastically reduce.
Prof. Lawrence advised Supply Chain Managers to properly monitor the activities of their suppliers and also build their capacity to avert such problems. She explained that the complexity of supply chain was making it difficult for some companies to take responsibility and added that in order to improve conditions in the industry, companies were collaborating with unions, non-governmental organisations in cross-sector coalition.
The Provost of the College of Distance Education, Prof. John Nelson Buah who chaired the lecture expressed worry that multinational companies were selective in resolving ethical, social and environmental issues. He noted that they normally take things for granted, especially when such crises occur in their subsidiary companies in developing countries. He entreated governments and agencies in charge of supervising these companies to enforce the laws irrespective of the status of companies that flout them.