Startup Ethically – Part 2

In this second blog on Startup Ethically, I discuss practical steps to address key supply chain risks. In part 1, I described the challenges to creating high quality ethical products and how recent legislative changes have made this question unavoidable. In particular, we dicsussed how globalisation has disenfranchised individuals to apply effective pressure on ethical questions, and presented a network of small businesses as a solution.


That is not to say that consumers and individual citizens have no role in this – they do; they can choose us. By working to act ethically, we empower consumers and citizens to make meaningful choices, driving a virtuous network – one which, we hope, in time, will become a force for the common good and for defending human dignity across the globe.

Whilst there are many uncertainties around how to implement this network and how it will operate, we believe the following four principles will achieve our goal:

  1. Use the network to share supplier and supply chain intelligence, leveraging network effects (the value of the network – supplier intelligence driving informed supply chain choices – should increase with more participants).
  2. Weight information in the network according to Trust scores calculated for each network and peripherally connected organisation.
  3. Share resources across the network to independently verify information in the network and to capture data on off-network organisations.
  4. Make Trust scores and supply intelligence transparently available to end-consumers; work with network and peripherally connected organisations to improve Trust through ethical practices.


A potential implementation follows these principles::

  • All organisations in the network register their direct suppliers. Network organisations encourage their direct suppliers to join the network themselves.
  • All suppliers complete surveys which include quality and ethical assurance questions (in line with ISO 13485 and 9001).
  • Organisations in the network pool a small number of resources to risk-score suppliers and verify supplier ethics (e.g through audits).
  • Supply chain graphs are mapped out from network organisations
  • Quality, ethical, and survey data is shared between the network.
  • Network organisations (including suppliers) are assigned a Trust Score based on their own evidenced ethical practices and the suppliers they engage with.
  • Trust Score is also increased by the number of fully-connected network nodes (i.e higher scores for organisations with full insight into their complete supply chain upwards through raw materials). 
  • Pooled resources are used to objectively verify and adjust Trust scores.
  • Trust Score influences the weight assigned to surveys of suppliers connected to the network organisation.
  • Consumers are able to easily look up the ethical practices of organisations on or peripherally connected to the network.


This network is needed now, more than ever. So, if you share our vision for a more ethical world, where we can sleep easier, knowing that our work is helping to protect the dignity of people across the globe, then we want to hear from you. Help us to found this network. 


We want to hear from you. What do you think of these principles? Are they something you think worth pursuing? Do you have any thoughts or suggestions about our ideas or how best to implement them? Reach out via our website contact form and let us know.

Let’s work together to start up ethically.


Dr Philip Alton

Fouder, Senti Tech Limited.

Senti Tech is developing novel wearable technology to autonomously listen to the lung sounds of people with long term respiratory conditions, aiming to provide individualised treatment recommendations, prevent disease flare-ups, and improve quality of life.