No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Possible Unintended Consequences of Enforcing Supply-Chain Transparency (Part Two of Two)

Companies have been trying to mitigate risks associated with their supply chain through third-party contracts and audit rights, as well as disclaimer language on products and websites. But sometimes too many of these “buyer’s rights” may be construed against the companies claiming them and may result in a company’s liability for violations within its supply chain when no such duty exists independently. It is a modern-era-corporate-responsibility paradox – the more ethical the company wants to be, the more likely it may be subject to consequences of “trying to do the right thing.” The first part of this guest article series by Fernanda Beraldi, international ethics and compliance director and corporate counsel at Cummins, Inc., and Edwin Broecker, a partner at Quarles & Brady, detailed the different legal regimes that affect supply-chain transparency. In this second article, they address some of those unintended consequences. See the Anti-Corruption Report’s series on third-party contracts, “A Guide to Anti-Corruption Representations in Third-Party Contracts: Nine Clauses to Include (Part One of Two)” (Jun. 25, 2014); “Clauses for High-Risk Situations and Enforcement Strategies (Part Two)” (Jul. 9, 2014).

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