ISM Conference Workshop Encourages Supply Managers to Take the Lead in Social Responsibility

FOR RELEASE: April 25, 2004

CONTACT: Jean McHale
  ISM Public Relations
  800/888-6276 ext. 3143

(Tempe, Ariz.) — Supply managers can leverage their strategic organizational roles to set the standard for socially responsible business practices, say two presenters at the Institute for Supply Management™ (ISM) 89th Annual International Supply Management Conference and Educational Exhibit. Craig R. Carter, Ph.D., assistant professor of supply chain management, University of Nevada, Reno, and Barbara B. Lang, president and chief executive officer, DC Chamber of Commerce, co-presented Social Responsibility Meets Supply: You Can Take the Lead immediately following the debut of ISM's Principles of Social Responsibility at the conference-opening General Session on Sunday, April 25, 2004, in Philadelphia.

Dr. Carter and Lang gave workshop attendees greater familiarity with the Principles of Social Responsibility document adopted by the ISM Board of Directors. The co-presenters offered insight into how the first-of-its-kind document was developed and why a framework for supply professionals was created.

"It is vital that corporate America and all businesses take the lead to ensure that there is equity and parity in how we do business and who does business with us in providing the services for day-to-day operations," Lang says. "As business leaders, it is our responsibility to set the social standard to see our economy thrive." Lang is a member of ISM's Board of Directors and chaired the ISM Commission on Social Responsibility, which explored the impact of social responsibility issues on supply management.

In the workshop, Dr. Carter and Lang discussed how to conduct a social responsibility audit and examined the business case for installing meaningful corporate social responsibility programs. "Supply managers play a key boundary-spanning role between their organization and external stakeholders, suppliers and even suppliers' suppliers," Carter says. "Irresponsible actions by supply managers in areas such as ethics, human rights and the environment can significantly damage a firm's public image, with consequential backlash by customers, regulatory agencies and shareholders. Conversely, there are many 'win-win' opportunities in the arenas of the environment, diversity, human rights, safety and community that can positively influence a corporation's image and its bottomline."

Dr. Carter was also a member of ISM's Commission on Social Responsibility. Both Dr. Carter and Lang are ensuring an ongoing commitment to social responsibility issues in their role as members of the ISM Committee on Social Responsibility, which is carrying on the work of the Commission on Social Responsibility and will measure the impact of these efforts on supply professionals and their suppliers. The Committee established a baseline for current socially responsible behavior by conducting a survey of supply professionals. The document Social Responsibility and the Supply Management Profession: A Baseline Study is a companion piece to the ISM Principles of Social Responsibility booklet. Both documents can be viewed on the ISM Web site at

ISM acknowledges and thanks the Committee on Social Responsibility members: Committee Chair Beth Heinrich, C.P.M., Motorola Semiconductor; Craig R. Carter, Ph.D., University of Nevada, Reno; Lisa E. Earp, NIKE Inc.; Joan N. Kerr, SBC Inc.; Carla S. Lallatin, C.P.M., Lallatin & Associates; Barbara B. Lang, DC Chamber of Commerce; William F. McGrath II, Alcoa Global Business Services-Procurement; Gwendolyn Turner Pfizer Inc., and Scott R. Sturzl, C.P.M., Institute for Supply Management.

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