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Anti-corruption | Diversity and Inclusiveness — Workforce and Supply Base | Environment |
Ethics and Business Conduct | Financial Integrity and Transparency | Global Citizenship | Health and Safety |
Human Rights | Labor Rights | Sustainability

Ethics and Business Conduct

Every supply management professional is responsible for behaving ethically and actively promoting ethical conduct throughout the supply chain.

Organizations are encouraged to develop, publish and enforce an ethics policy. Supply management ethical standards include:

  1. Impropriety. Prevent the intent and appearance of unethical or compromising conduct in relationships, actions and communications.

  2. Conflict of Interest. Ensure that any personal, business and other activities do not conflict with the lawful interests of your employer.

  3. Issues of Influence. Avoid behaviors or actions that may negatively influence, or appear to influence, supply management decisions.

  4. Responsibilities to Your Employer. Uphold fiduciary and other responsibilities using reasonable care and granted authority to deliver value to your employer.

  5. Supplier and Customer Relationships. Promote positive supplier and customer relationships.

  6. Sustainability and Social Responsibility. Champion social responsibility and sustainability practices in supply management.

  7. Confidential and Proprietary Information. Protect confidential and proprietary information.

  8. Reciprocity. Avoid improper reciprocal agreements.

  9. Applicable Laws, Regulations and Trade Agreements. Know and obey the letter and spirit of laws, regulations and trade agreements applicable to supply management. Also see the Resources section.

  10. Professional Competence. Develop skills, expand knowledge and conduct business that demonstrates competence and promotes the supply management profession.

Please visit the ISM website at for a link to the complete ISM Principles and Standards of Ethical Supply Management Conduct With Guidelines.

Ethics Resources Developed by ISM

  • Ethics: A Behavioral Awareness Tool (Course #3954) is a free, self-paced ISM Knowledge Center Web course. You can use this course to practice ethical decision-making skills and test your response to situations and ethical dilemmas. This self-paced course was developed in concert with ISM's Ethical Standards Committee and will acquaint you with ISM's Principles and Standards of Ethical Supply Management Conduct with Accompanying Guidelines. Click on the word "Ethics" on the left of the screen to access the course information.

  • Principles and Standards of Ethical Supply Management Conduct — Guidelines for Ethical Procurement Practices were originally published in 1986 by the Purchasing Management Association of Arizona and later served as the model for the NAPM Ethical Standards Committee in the creation of the Principles and Standards of Purchasing Practice. The document was reviewed and updated by the ISM Ethical Standards Committee on an ongoing basis and has evolved to become what is known today as the Principles and Standards of Ethical Supply Management Conduct. The most recent update was completed and adopted by the ISM Board of Directors at their January 2012 meeting. The update contains added focus on international language and includes a principle for social media practices.

  • Social Responsibility and the Supply Management Profession: A Study of Barriers and Drivers to Ethical Practices This report contains the results of a survey conducted in late 2005 by the ISM Ethical Standards Committee to gain an understanding of what is happening within organizations on the ethics front and draw conclusions to help management be more effective in ensuring ethical behavior.

  • Ethical Practices, Drivers and Barriers: Supply Professionals and Their Peers Weigh In This PowerPoint presentation was given at the 2006 ISM Annual International Supply Management Conference, on behalf of the ISM Ethical Standards Committee. The presentation includes highlights of the results of the 2006 Ethical Practices Survey (Social Responsibility and the Supply Management Profession: A Study of Barriers and Drivers to Ethical Practices) as well as some of the open-ended comments given by survey respondents.

Other Resources

  • BELL: The Business Ethics Links Library is a comprehensive starting point for research in corporate ethics and social responsibility, maintained by the William M. White Business Library, Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado at Boulder. The database provides access to codes of ethics for U.S. companies and trade and professional associations, ethics sites at college and university business programs, industry information resources, and company promotion of social responsibility covering such topics as arts assistance, environmental clean up, charitable giving and community programming.

  • Business Ethics Magazine website provides resources and articles including a Business Ethics Directory and Calendar of Events. The site includes a link to subscribe to the paper-based Business Ethics Magazine.

  • CAUX Round Table is an international network of principled business leaders working to promote a moral capitalism. The CRT Principles for Business offer a foundation for dialogue and action for business leaders worldwide and affirm the necessity for moral values in business decision-making. Without moral values, stable business relationships and a sustainable world community are impossible.

  • The Center for Ethics and Business at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles aims to provide an environment for discussing issues related to the necessity, difficulty, costs and rewards of conducting business ethically. The website includes an "ethical toolbox" to help users in handling ethical dilemmas, and an extensive list of links to other ethics websites.

  • The Center for the Study of Ethics in the Professions (CSEP) at the Illinois Institute of Technology was established in 1976 for the purpose of promoting education and scholarship relating to the professions. The library of the center is intended to meet the educational and research needs of persons concerned with the study and practice of ethics in professions. The site includes an extensive collection of codes of ethics as well as resources for writing a code of ethics.

  • Ethical Corporation — This website provides articles on how companies relate to the world around them. In addition to their daily website, the company publishes a monthly print magazine, holds conferences around the world, and occasionally produces reports on business ethics in big firms.

  • Ethics & Compliance Officer Association (ECOA) is a non-consulting, member-driven association exclusively for individuals who are responsible for their organization's ethics, compliance and business conduct programs. The ECOA provides training and a variety of conferences and meetings for exchanging best practices in the area of ethics and compliance. The site includes a link to This Week's Ethics & Compliance News.

  • The Ethics Resource Center (ERC) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan educational organization whose vision is a world where individuals and organizations act with integrity. The Center's mission is to strengthen ethical leadership worldwide by providing leading-edge expertise and services through research, education and partnerships.

  • Ethics Updates is a website founded in 1994 and edited by Lawrence M. Hinman at the University of San Diego. The site is designed primarily to be used by ethics instructors and their students. It is intended to provide updates on current literature, both popular and professional, that relates to ethics.

  • Institute of Business Ethics (IBE), based in the United Kingdom, was established in 1986 to encourage high standards of corporate and business behavior and the sharing of best practices. The website includes useful links to business ethics and corporate responsibility websites in the UK as well as globally.

  • The Institute for Global Ethics (IGE) is an independent, nonsectarian, nonpartisan, nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting ethical action in a global context. The institute's mission is to promote ethical behavior in individuals, institutions, and nations through research, public discourse, and practical action. The site includes a link to Ethics Newsline™, an online publication containing news and information on ethics and current events.

  • International Business Ethics Institute (IBEI) is a private, nonprofit, nonpartisan, educational organization founded in 1994 in response to the growing need for transnationalism in the field of business ethics. The site provides a Business Ethics Primer to give visitors a better understanding of business ethics as well as historical information behind the development of the fields of business ethics and corporate responsibility. The site also includes a News Room consisting of articles and other informational pieces about business ethics, corporate responsibility and related issues, and an online bibliography of these topics.

  • The International Federation of Purchasing and Supply Management (IFPSM) is the made up of 43 national and regional purchasing associations worldwide, encompassing an estimated 200,000 purchasing professionals. ISM is one of the member organizations of this non-political, independent and non-profit oriented international organization. IFPSM facilitates the development and distribution of knowledge to elevate and advance the procurement profession, thus favorably impacting the standard of living of citizens worldwide through improved business practices. The organization has a code of ethics posted on its website.

  • Josephson Institute of Ethics is a nonprofit membership organization that conducts programs and workshops for influential leaders including mayors, high-ranking public officials, congressional staff, and others. The website provides articles and other resources for ethics.

  • The Markkula Center for Applied Ethics at Santa Clara University promotes research and dialogue on ethical issues in critical areas of American life. The center works with faculty, staff, students, community leaders, and the public to address ethical issues more effectively in teaching, research, and action. The center's program areas are: business, healthcare and biotechnology, K-12 character education, government and public policy, technology, and emerging issues in ethics.

  • Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production (WRAP) is an organization that was founded as the Worldwide Responsible Apparel Production and changed their name in August 2007 to reflect their growing involvement with diverse industries. WRAP is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the certification of lawful, humane and ethical manufacturing throughout the world. The website includes news as well as links to training and accreditation resources.

Nondisclosure Agreement Information:

The following links provide information on the use or wording of nondisclosure agreements. You might consider the following resources for information and model language for your contracts or other documents.

Note: ISM is not engaged in rendering legal services, advice, or opinions. If legal advice or other expert assistance is required, the services of a qualified professional should be sought.

  • ContractEdge™  Contracts for the IT professional. There is a fee for use.

  • Coollawyer®  This site provides form templates to use free of charge.

  • Law Guru  There is a fee for use of the forms on this site.