At Wipro, we believe that a supply chain program should consider the socio-economic realities in the geographies where we operate. The supply chain sustainability charter should go beyond legal compliance and take into consideration emergent debates and issues. Fundamentally, our supply chain program is driven more by responsible engagement and commitment as informed by our values, rather than a compliance mindset.
Policy and Guiding Principles
Our Code of Business Conduct which provides the ethical guidelines and expectations for conducting business on behalf of Wipro also directs Wipro’s relationship with its suppliers and is applicable to all suppliers, agents, service providers, channel partners, dealers, distributors and vendors (“Suppliers”). In addition to the COBC, the Supplier Code of Conduct (SCOC) of Wipro further strengthens and augments the COBC with respect to environmental and social aspects of business practices, expected of our supply chain. The SCOC covers key risks in the supply chain like forced or compulsory labor, prohibition on child labor, equal employment opportunity and non-discrimination/ no harassment, minimum wages, environment, health and safety, and compliance with anti-bribery laws. The code is aligned with the requirements of the FCPA (Foreign Corrupt Practices Act) and the UK anti-bribery act. The document also gives an overview of the process followed by Wipro so that it provides a ready reference template for its suppliers. The SCOC is communicated to all suppliers and it is mandatory for suppliers to accept and sign it.
Wipro also has a procurement policy which acts as an internal decision-making guide related to procurement. This policy details the procurement principles that the Global Procurement Group is expected to adhere to as well as other aspects of procurement like supplier selection, supplier diversity etcetera.
Our supply chain governance program is informed by four guiding principles
- Understanding of the socio-economic context: We are mindful of the fact that while one may have ambitious policies, commitments and codes of conduct in place, it must take into account the complex socio-economic realities in which it has to be operationalized. For example, in developing economies, supplier staff may not be aware of the nuances of human and labor rights. In certain cases, the practice may be due to livelihood issues – for example, excessive working hours in some cases may be the norm to secure additional income. Children in family owned or sole proprietorship could sometimes be employed (or “helping”) in the business. Enforcement of unilateral actions in such cases, does not change the practice on the ground but only diverts attention from the problem at hand.
- Ability to monitor, influence and control: The ‘secondary supply chain’ in many categories of procurement extends across multiple branches/levels/tiers. Due to the factors mentioned in the first principle, it would be naïve of us to claim compliance across all the tiers. In many cases, our visibility is limited to the first one or two tiers. For supply chain entities not critical or strategic to us – where suppliers are not a core part of our business or where spend does not contribute to either a reasonable proportion of the suppliers’ revenue or the available market supply. Our ability to influence supplier practices is that much more limited. Industry bodies and large government procurement programs have a larger role in influencing change.
- Regulatory Compliance: Given the spread of supply chain across different geographies as well as sectors, the compliance landscape can be quite complex. The impact of supply chain on different stakeholders is dependent on the nature of business and operational context. As a result, the compliance requirements of one supplier category can vary from another. However, it is often found compliance is not reflective of the ground reality. At Wipro, we try to uphold all the regulations and wherever there is a conflict, our best efforts are to minimize any dissonance
- Integrating best practices in supply chain engagement: Managing supply chain externalities is of key interest to business due to the deepening of complexities in the supply chain and the resultant risks. Customers and investors are looking at compliance levels and ethics of organizations as a key differentiator in their decision process. Industry forums like Electronic Industry Citizenship Coalition, Sedex, Ecovadis etcetera are working towards indirectly driving continuous change in ethical and responsible business practices in global supply chains. Industry ratings such as Dow Jones Sustainability Index and CDP are increasingly giving importance to the supply chain performance of organizations. There are many emerging standards and frameworks dedicated to this cause. We intend to adopt and integrate best practices from all these sources to drive sustainability in our supply chain.