Jason Quinn gives the inside track on how Absa secured a leading procurement ethics award


The CFO says the development of a supplier code of ethics was crucial in winning this award.

Absa Group Procurement has been awarded the Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply (CIPS) Ethics Kite Award for being a leader in reinforcing ethical values. “The award is a significant achievement in that it recognises work that we have undertaken in extending Absa’s ethical values across our procurement and supply chain practices,” says group FD and 2020 CFO of the Year Jason Quinn.

He explains that the bank’s procurement team has “done excellent work in promoting responsible and inclusive procurement practices, applying appropriate standards of integrity and good practice in building thriving, inclusive and healthy supplier relationships”.

At Absa, procurement resides within the finance portfolio and, as such, the work undertaken by the procurement team is overseen by the group head of finance, Jason adds.

“An example of the standout work undertaken by the group procurement team was the development of a Supplier Code of Ethics and the related engagement with our supplier base to raise ethical awareness,” he says. “The implementation of a digital platform, Coupa Risk Assess, to ensure the Supplier Code of Ethics considerations are factored into the procurement onboarding value chain, further built on the work to reinforce these ethical values.”

Jason explains that the procurement team successfully navigated the shift to remote working during the Covid-19 pandemic through the development of digital platforms that proved valuable in ensuring active, collaborative and meaningful training and assessment related to the Supplier Code of Ethics. “Ultimately, it is this work that was ultimately recognised through the UK-based CIPS Ethics Kite Award.”

Absa’s chief procurement officer, Vusi Fele, expressed his heartfelt appreciation to all his procurement colleagues for the individual and corporate commitment, drive and efforts employed to ensure the bank achieves the coveted CIPS Ethics Kite Award.

“This independent accreditation is also testament to the continued leadership we demonstrate on our ethical posture and Absa Way throughout the group and our approach to suppliers and service providers embedded in the Absa Supplier Code of Ethics.

Absa’s group procurement teams across its South Africa and regional operations were each assessed against the CIPS global standard, which requires that companies and organisations demonstrate respect and awareness of international ESG standards against criminal conduct, including bribery, corruption, fraud, human rights and environmental abuse, and protects against potential supply chain malpractice.

The CIPS Corporate Ethics Kite Mark carries numerous advantages for organisations, including enhancing reputations, boosting morale, protecting the organisation and understanding international standards against criminal conduct.

CIPS Africa’s head of CIPS for business, Craig O’Flaherty congratulated Absa in securing the Ethics Mark. “Organisations have a crucial role in upholding the highest ethical standards. Their actions help to ensure that our shared commitments to improve environmental, social and governance outcomes for people and the planet remain a priority.”

He adds that, in winning this award, Absa is a shining example to other organisations across Africa to follow their lead and commit to the highest standards of ethical procurement.

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