In a new study, senior executives at multinational companies have identified reputational risk as being an even greater consideration than cost when selecting suppliers and partners.

According to the report published by Baker & McKenzie, companies are more concerned than ever about the reputations of the vendors with whom  they partner, with the 100 individuals surveyed placing reputational risk above cost when assessing a potential third-party supplier or service provider. 

Those surveyed identified corruption, product quality and general compliance among the top issues with regard to managing their company's supply chains.

Based on a survey conducted by an independent London-based research consultant commissioned by Baker & McKenzie, the report provides data and insights on identifying and addressing the key risks that businesses face when using third parties to source, manufacture, transport, distribute and sell their products around the world. Titled The Companies You Keep; Global Supply Chain Management: Five Steps to Managing Third-Party Risk, the report is available at: www.bakermckenzie.com/supplychainreport .

According to the study, more than 80% of the respondents confirmed that the risks of using third-party suppliers or partners are higher in emerging markets, due to increased concerns with corruption and political and legal instability. Additionally, when asked to identify the greatest future risks in the next two to three years, respondents cited region-specific risks and compliance as the leading concerns due to rapidly developing laws in emerging markets, international trade sanctions and anti-bribery laws.

Despite nearly 70% of those surveyed affirming that corruption represents the top risks when engaging third parties in emerging markets, the majority of respondents (83%) indicated that an emphasis on training and education on major compliance issues and guidance on identifying and mitigating compliance risks is the best strategy for overcoming major hurdles.