Ethical Outsourcing in Tech: A Company's Duty - Importance and Best Practices

Salomon Kisters

Salomon Kisters

Jun 26, 2023

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Outsourcing has become a common practice in the tech industry, with many companies opting for this route to save costs, access specialized skills, and increase efficiency. However, as the world becomes more interconnected, multinational corporations face growing scrutiny and ethical considerations in their outsourcing practices.

The rise of sweatshops, child labor, and low wages in developing countries has increased the pressure on companies to prioritize ethical outsourcing. In this blog post, we will explore the importance of ethical outsourcing in the tech industry and why it is the duty of every company to ensure that they are not contributing to the exploitation of workers overseas.

We will discuss the challenges of implementing ethical outsourcing strategies and provide tips for companies to maintain ethical outsourcing practices that benefit both the business and its workers.

Ethical Outsourcing in Tech

Outsourcing, in its simplest form, is the practice of contracting a third-party company or individual to perform tasks or services that would otherwise be performed in-house. In the tech industry, outsourcing is often used to access specialized skills or to save costs by utilizing cheaper labor in other countries.

Ethical outsourcing, on the other hand, refers to the practice of outsourcing while ensuring that the workers involved in the process are not exploited or mistreated in any way. It involves maintaining high standards of labor rights that are consistent with international norms and practices.

Ethical outsourcing requires companies to take responsibility for their impact on the people and communities affected by their operations. Companies must ensure that their outsourcing practices are aligned with their values and principles and that they do not contribute to the exploitation of workers overseas.

Effects of Unethical Tech Outsourcing

Unethical outsourcing practices in the tech industry can have far-reaching negative effects on both the workers involved and the communities in which they live. The use of cheap labor in other countries often results in exploitation, including low wages, long working hours, and poor working conditions. Workers may not have access to basic human rights, such as the freedom of association and collective bargaining.

Furthermore, unethical outsourcing can contribute to the displacement of local workers in the countries where outsourcing occurs. Companies may choose to relocate their operations to countries with lower labor standards, causing job loss for local workers and exacerbating income inequality. This also leads to a shift in the local economy, as the jobs that are created are often low-paying and offer little job security.

Another negative effect of unethical outsourcing is the lack of accountability for companies involved in the process. Without proper regulations and monitoring, companies may be able to ignore labor rights violations and abuses that occur in their supply chains. This can lead to a lack of transparency and responsibility on the part of the company and puts workers at risk of exploitation.

Responsibility and Accountability

To ensure ethical outsourcing practices, companies must take responsibility for their actions and be held accountable for their impact on workers and communities. This includes transparency in their supply chains and actively addressing labor rights violations.

One way for companies to hold themselves accountable is to implement codes of conduct for their suppliers and regularly monitor their adherence to these standards. Companies can also conduct regular audits of their suppliers’ factories and ensure that workers are paid fair wages, have safe working conditions, and have the right to unionize.

In addition, companies should prioritize sourcing from suppliers and factories that adhere to internationally recognized labor standards, such as the International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions. This ensures that labor rights are not only protected but also promoted and that companies contribute to positive social and economic development in the communities where they operate.

However, responsibility and accountability in ethical outsourcing do not just rest with companies. Governments also have a responsibility to uphold labor rights and ensure that their citizens are not exploited by multinational corporations. This includes legislation and monitoring mechanisms to protect workers’ rights, prevent labor abuses, and hold companies accountable for their actions.

Best Practices

Ethical outsourcing requires more than just a code of conduct or auditing. Companies must adopt a long-term approach and consider the impact of their outsourcing practices on the workers, communities, and the environment. Here are some best practices that companies should follow to ensure ethical outsourcing:

1. Prioritize Ethical Sourcing: Companies must prioritize sourcing from suppliers and factories that adhere to internationally recognized labor standards, such as ILO conventions. This not only protects labor rights but also contributes to the growth of communities where these factories operate.

2. Develop Strong Relationships with Suppliers: Developing strong relationships with suppliers is important for maintaining transparency and accountability in the supply chain. Companies should work with their suppliers to develop a code of conduct that outlines ethical procurement practices.

3. Fair Wages and Working Conditions: Companies should prioritize fair wages and working conditions for their labor force. This includes providing safe working conditions, providing an avenue for grievance redressal, and guaranteeing the right to collective bargaining.

4. Regular Monitoring of Suppliers and Factories: Regularly monitoring suppliers and factories is crucial for ensuring adherence to ethical standards. This includes unannounced inspections, audits, and establishing a direct line of communication with workers.

5. Active Engagement with Local Communities: Companies should actively engage with local communities and stakeholders to ensure that their presence does not have any negative impacts on social and environmental factors. This also involves providing training and skills development opportunities to the local workforce.

Ethical outsourcing is not an easy task, but companies can make it a reality by following these best practices. By prioritizing ethical sourcing, developing strong relationships with suppliers, ensuring fair wages and working conditions, monitoring suppliers, and engaging with local communities, companies can make a positive impact on the communities in which they operate.


In conclusion, companies have a duty to ensure that their outsourcing practices are ethical and sustainable. Ethical sourcing not only benefits the workers and communities involved but also the company itself in the long term. By promoting sustainable development, enhancing brand reputation, improving workforce productivity, and complying with international laws and regulations, companies can create a positive impact on society and ensure the success of their business.

However, embracing ethical outsourcing requires a significant investment of time, resources, and effort. Companies must be willing to go beyond their short-term objectives and consider the larger impact of their outsourcing practices. This involves conducting comprehensive risk assessments, establishing partnerships with ethical suppliers, monitoring supplier compliance, and providing necessary training and support to suppliers.

Moreover, companies must communicate their commitment to ethical sourcing to all stakeholders, including customers, investors, and employees. By creating awareness of their ethical values and principles, companies can build trust and loyalty among these stakeholders, ultimately leading to increased profitability and long-term success.

In summary, ethical outsourcing is not only a moral and social responsibility but also a smart business decision. By embracing ethical outsourcing as a company responsibility, companies can create a positive impact on society, enhance their brand reputation, and ensure the success of their business in the long term.

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