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Why Create Ethical Supply Chains

Posted on: May 13, 2013

Ethical Supply Chains as Roads for the Vehicles of Consciousness

By Prashanti de Jager Ó2011-2012

A supply chain is the path of resources from their source to the consumer.  Typically within this supply chain is the farmer or miner or harvester who sell their raw materials to brokers who then sell to manufacturers who then sell to wholesalers & retailers who then sell to consumers. 

An ethical supply chain is one that involves no exploitation, generates win-wins every step of the way, and innately supports the sustainability of all involved.  Ethical supply chains are driven by and are paths of equality, respect, dignity, strength, fairness, certainty and a sense of responsibility and accountability for the world we create for ourselves and for future generations.

Unethical supply chains are driven by and are paths of fear, greed, weakness, dominance, and a sense of disregard and disrespect for the world we create for ourselves and future generations. As is evidenced by the blatant lack of sustainability and the massive worldwide exploitation of resources, the earth, and the marginalized workers who ‘harvest’ raw materials from the earth, very few supply chains are even remotely ethical.

Sit back and think of this, and see it, if you will.  Supply chains that link raw materials to consumers are channels or roads by which, in one direction, resources and products flow toward consumers, and in the other direction, consumer’s money finds its way to support the ways and means of how those resources are acquired and transformed into products.  Supply chains are perhaps the mightiest roads humans have ever created and because these roads are centered on the consumer, it is the consumer and their collective dollars, euros, krowns, pounds and pesos who has more control over these roads than anyone else.  This is why corporations and governments want to control consumers with fear and the attenuation of mental acuity, otherwise known as the ‘dumbing down of America.’  Conversely, ethical supply chains are literally the roads of vehicles of consciousness and support intelligent informed choice and possibility.

Here are 10 Reasons why to Create & Support Ethical Supply Chains?

1)    Sustainability is not sustainable unless it is market driven sustainability

2)    We need to be responsible stewards of what we have been given

3) Create higher quality goods (When everybody is taken care of everybody does better work)

4) Embrace true value (Sustain a global demand for value based on values)

5) Create a holistic view of the life of a product from the resource to the recycling of packaging, etc

6) Embrace accountability (The difference between a man and a boy is the rite of passage and the acquisition of full accountability is fundamental to this passage. In the same way, the more we collectively embrace accountability the more we collectively accomplish the rite of passage required to enter the future as a more mature and capable species)

7) Commitment to relationship (Our throw-away society is based on throwing away relationships with our farmers and others who toil to produce consumer products.  It is one reason why all relationships on this planet are precarious)

8) Craft and Artisan segments of society are honored and supported

9) Support Family and Community ventures (The world is not doing so great with its present dissolution of the nuclear family and unified community)

10) Stop men from pimping women, children and resources to the highest bidder (The way that many men in many cultures exploit their women and children to do all the work while selling off their natural resources is nothing less denigrating than pimps in their ghetto streets)

The way I see it there are three main types of ethical supply chains.

1) Pull Ethical Supply Chains.  This is where a consumer or a manufacturer demands that their products support sustainability and seek out such sources.  A consumer buying organic veggies from the farmer’s market or Patagonia’s brave decision to not sell any cotton unless it is organic cotton are two examples of ‘Pull Ethical Supply Chains.’ 

2) Push Ethical Supply Chains.  This is where a person or community creates an ethical source of materials, resources, or products and then ‘pushes’ them toward the market, toward the consumer.  Dunagiri and SOS Organics are examples of this, where they are a ‘soil to shelf’ company that directly supports growing the botanicals in their products organically, biodynamically and aligned with fair trade principles, and then takes these products and offers them directly to consumers and retailers.

3) Alliance Ethical Supply Chains.  This is what happens when one of the above becomes solid and supported by the critical mass of knowledgeable consumers, and both consumer and resource source are committed to ‘doing the right thing,’ and thus all the sustainable and ethical practices are supported by both ‘ends’ of the ‘road.’  What I am calling ‘Alliance’ Ethical Supply Chains are basically simultaneously Push and Pull Ethical Supply Chains.  In this scenario, all players along the chain/road consciously work together, all evolve, and all are benefited, socially, financially, environmentally and systemic wellness flourishes.  Creating ‘Alliance Ethical Supply Chains’ is one way you can describe the mission and goals of myself, of Dunagiri and of SOS Organics, as we pioneer new paths, literally new roads throughout the world on which vehicles of consciousness can traverse for the benefit of all beings.

I hope I have not been too preachy, I just want all of us to get better at being able to see the nature of the supply chains we support by purchasing the products we do.  If you are not clear about a given supply chain then inquire into it and please share what you learn.

And one more quick yet important note.  Often the shortest supply chains are the best, for instance, the herbs and veggies growing in your own garden!

Thanks

Prashanti

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