India: Upholding gold standard in sourcing goods and services
In 2017, the ICRC procured goods and services worth over 111 crore Indian rupees (17.08 million US dollars) from Indian suppliers for people in need in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. India is emerging as one of the most important global manufacturing hubs and the ICRC's Asia Sourcing team based in New Delhi engages with manufacturing units which uphold ethics, quality and are socially and environmentally responsible to source goods and services from India.
Being a socially responsible institution, the ICRC places great emphasis on procurement ethics and compliance with quality standards. Not only does it follow realistic and measurable parameters, but it also carries out supplier assessments, audits and coaching followed by rigorous testing in external laboratories.
Through this process, several manufacturers have received recommendations on corrective measures and were able to bring themselves up to the globally accepted norms for production of similar goods and services. These standards ensure that the people working in these units have proper health and safety measures in place and the products match the accepted quality norms. This includes well-equipped machinery, vacuums for keeping dust-free environment, facilities of head cover, gloves and masks for the workers, proper waste management, signages, cleanliness, sanitation, basic medical facilities, separate toilets for men and women, etc. This initiative has been instrumental in adhering to standards that are common with other humanitarian buyers.
The goods that are sourced from India include a diverse range of items such as rice, therapeutic food, kitchen sets, blankets, medical products, medicines, stoves, reusable sanitary pads, hygiene parcels, school kits, sleeping mats, electric cables, transformers, along with other services.