Working with ethical suppliers

Ben Brocklesby
Ben Brocklesby

Ben Brocklesby, director at Origin, the UK manufacturer of aluminium windows and doors, emphasises the critical importance of prioritising sustainable suppliers and outlines how to identify them.

Incorporating sustainability and social responsibility into decision-making processes is becoming increasingly important for homeowners and businesses alike as they become more conscious of their environmental impact.

With more focus on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), it is imperative to collaborate with ethical suppliers whose values align with your ethical, moral, and sustainable commitments.

Why opt for an ethical supplier?

  1. Safeguarding your reputation

Engaging with ethical suppliers showcases your dedication to environmental stewardship and responsible business conduct. Decision makers increasingly seek to collaborate with environmentally conscious businesses. By proactively reducing your environmental footprint by working with ethical suppliers, you safeguard your reputation, especially as businesses that continue to overlook the environment face growing criticism.

  1. Compliance with regulations

With building regulations becoming more stringent to achieve net zero, it is vital to partner with suppliers who adhere to the latest standards and strive to beat them. Environmentally focused suppliers will consistently ensure that your projects meet or surpass environmental guidelines as standards evolve in line with our progress towards the Future Homes Standard and beyond.

  1. Earning green building certifications

Choosing an ethical supplier will help you achieve green building certifications for your projects. Increasingly, clients are looking to work with businesses that have official eco-credentials. Ethical suppliers can offer products that meet the stringent criteria necessary to attain these prestigious certifications and go about achieving them in the morally right way.

Identifying an ethical supplier

  1. Certifications matter

Seek out suppliers with recognised, official certifications and verify the compliance of their manufacturing processes with environmental regulations and ethical labour practices. Suppliers achieving standards such as environmental accreditation (e.g., ISO 14001) demonstrate their commitment to ‘doing the right thing’ and to minimising the environmental impact of their operations.

This may involve reducing energy and fuel consumption, improving recycling rates, or implementing offsetting measures.

At Origin, we take pride in holding ISO 14001 and BES 6001 certifications that focus on our operations, sustainable materials, responsible resourcing, and robust product design. Our products not only meet increasingly stringent building regulations, but are also designed to surpass them. This significantly enhances the thermal efficiency and performance of new homes.

  1. Transparency is crucial

An ethical supplier will openly share information about their supply chain, materials sourcing, and manufacturing processes if they have nothing to hide. Look for transparency in their communications and their willingness to disclose product-related information.

  1. The significance of materials

At Origin, we recognise that materials play a pivotal role in the journey towards achieving a more sustainable future. This is why we manufacture our products using high-grade aluminium, one of the most recyclable materials on Earth.

Beyond its sustainability, aluminium is sturdy and long-lasting yet lightweight, making it a sought-after choice among homeowners.

  1. Commitment to people policies

Ethical conduct extends beyond environmental efforts and encompasses social responsibility. Investigate a supplier’s dedication to fair labour practices, worker safety, and community involvement.

Origin’s roots as a family business continue to influence our approach today. With over 350 employees, each considered part of the Origin family, we strive to help our staff realise their full potential. We actively participate in our local community by sponsoring Wycombe Wanderers F.C., supporting the local hospice charity, Rennie Grove Peace, and collaborating with local schools and colleges. Suppliers that value their workforce and local communities are more likely to share your ethical principles.

In summary

Who you work with is critical for the future of your business, and it goes beyond just whether they can get the product to you on time (although, our Your Lead Time, Not Ours promise means we do this too). It also extends to the less tangible aspects, such as sustainability, that are becoming increasingly important to corporate clients and homeowners.

To future proof your business, consider auditing your current suppliers to identify who stacks up to your standards and reflects your ethics. Once you’re working with the right suppliers, you’ll be confident going to every job that you are providing the best quality and service for your clients in all aspects.