Robert Evans, Procurement DirectorBy Rob Evans, Procurement Director at The Vita Group

Behaving with integrity is a core value at The Vita Group. It means that we look at everything we do and how it’s done through an ethical lens to ensure that we are living up to the high standards we set ourselves.

The intricacies of today’s supply chains mean that it’s important this approach isn’t siloed and that we’re actively looking at how our partners and suppliers operate, which we have discussed in other blogs. Close collaboration throughout business networks is vital to driving down emissions and it’s similarly critical to implementing robust ethical procurement practices that cover a range of social, ethical and legal responsibilities.

A central guide in our ethical procurement efforts is The Vita Code of Conduct, which commits us to a zero-tolerance approach to corruption, bribery and anti-competitive behaviour. This is driven by the ethos that to truly act ethically, we must go above and beyond compliance and take every step necessary in being a responsible employer, manufacturer and member of the community.

Ethical conduct

The Code of Conduct outlines how we work with our suppliers and all our employees who deal with third parties receive annual online training in relation to our Code and ethical expectations.

A crucial aspect of the Code is that it requires all new suppliers and customers to complete a third-party due diligence testing process. Recently, this has seen us introduce an enhanced ‘Know Your Supplier’ questionnaire that incorporates a range of ESG-related issues such as sustainable performance, human rights protection and health & safety. Specific questions include the percentage of women in the workforce and at senior management levels, child labour and modern slavery policies, whether important industry standard accreditations are held and if global warming measurements are carried out.

In total, suppliers are asked 42 questions which creates a scorecard to show how they rate against six key criteria. They are also asked to confirm receipt of Vita’s ethical code so that there can be no ambiguity about the standards we expect.

Conflict minerals

An important part of our ethical procurement processes is guaranteeing that no conflict minerals are used at any point. We take a lot of time over this, as several of the ingredients we use in our products could potentially be mined in conflict zones, such as tin, gold, tungsten and tantalum.

This is critical, even though we procure very small amounts of these materials. For example, tin is mainly used as a catalyst in a reaction between two other chemicals within products we procure which account for less than 0.25% of overall spending. Nevertheless, we ensure that our suppliers, who are purchasing tin for their products, provide us with conflict mineral reporting. In this way, we’re able to follow the supply chain all the way back to the original mine and can be assured that it has been responsibly sourced. We’ve even developed our own Conflict Minerals Reporting Template (CMRT) for suppliers to complete so that we know everything has been thoroughly checked and so that we can pass this information on to our own customers and maintain a flow of high-quality, reliable information.

Clear communication

Getting ethical procurement right means covering a lot of very technical and complex issues in depth and we work hard to make sure that everyone, both in our teams and at our suppliers, knows how the processes should be carried out.

This is why ethical procurement is such an important part of key documents that we share with suppliers, such as our ‘Enhancing Everyday Life’ ESG vision as well as the previously mentioned Code of Conduct. To reflect new core policy issues, an updated version of the Code was translated into all 14 of the languages spoken in the countries where Vita has sites to communicate these changes to all staff, partners, suppliers and stakeholders around the world.

To avoid any confusion around these policies, we arranged roadshows with our suppliers in 2021 when we launched our Sustainability Policy and our Sustainable Procurement Policy, which embedded our Supply Chain Responsibility Policy and commitment to self-certified supplier assessments.

These events were designed to explain our ESG strategy and the areas that we see as being central to our combined performance on key ethical issues. We also used these opportunities to outline our expectations and explain the monitoring process moving forwards.

The right choice

Ethical procurement is about making the right choices, not necessarily the easy ones, and ensuring that we’re collectively undertaking all the due diligence steps that will safeguard the integrity of our work. This is reflected in our governance structure that monitors risk and compliance, however, we know that the world is an ever-evolving place and so we are always exploring new ideas to ensure that this structure continues to surpass ethical best practices.

Posted 6th March 2023

Back to Vita Blog

You will now be directed to a third party website to view our vacancies and our Applicant Tracking System (ATS).

If you choose to create an account on the ATS, please refer to the separate Privacy Notice and Terms and Conditions when you register. We are not responsible for the protection and privacy of any information which you provide whilst visiting other sites which are not governed by our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

If you wish to proceed to the third party website please click ‘continue’ otherwise please click 'cancel' to return to Vita’s website.