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The UNSPSC System and how to apply it

Quick Start Guide

SlaveCheck uses the UNSPSC® (United Nations Standard Products and Services Codes®) system which provides businesses with 'global best practice' in tracking their products - and the services used to transform and move them  - from source to end-consumer.



See the diagram below. Officeworks has thousands of products in each store. Rather than having to code every product, they just need to select their segment 'Office equipment, accessories and suppliers' and this covers everything in the store. This is called Wildcarding.


However, if one of their suppliers only supplies wooden pencils, the supplier needs to select down through Segment> Family>Class and then select 'Wooden Pencils' from the list of Commodities that appears.

UNSPSC Example 2.jpg

Note that you don't see - or need to know - what the actual code is, you just select the description from the list that best fits your products and/or services and the code(s) get stored in your Org Profile in the database.

Some general tips:

  • Be general. Search as non-specifically as possible. For example, search "stands" instead of "Wrought iron plant stands with dolphin designs" to help you efficiently pick a commodity.

  • Use layman's terms. Your industry-specific knowledge and vocabulary helps you describe an individual product or service but can hinder how searchable you are by potential buyers or suppliers. Use terms that someone without specialized knowledge will be able to identify

  • Don't panic! You can add, remove, change or refine your UNSPSC product and services codes selections in SlaveCheck at any time. And if you can't find the right classification.....(see below)

What if I can't find the right classification?

With a list of 157,000 codes, it's unlikely this will happen. The first time you use UNSPSC, it can take a little time to familiarise yourself with the drop down lists. If you feel you can't find the right description for your products and/or services - don't stress - just select the one or ones that most closely describe them. And you can add, remove, change or refine your UNSPSC selections at any time.

You can also contact the UNSPSC organization directly to request a code. The managing organization fairly promptly either creates a new code or recommends an existing code.
SlaveCheck is collaborating with GS1 US® (see below) to build code-based transparency and modern slavery risk  management through global supply chains.


The United Nations Standard Products and Services Code® system (UNSPSC®), managed by GS1 US® for the UN Development Program (UNDP), is an open, global, multi-sector standard for efficient, accurate classification of products and services.


UNSPSC is being progressively implemented by governments and business

around the world.


The system consists of over 157,000 unique codes that can be used to track

a product as it changes and moves through all stages and all branches of its

product lifecycle - from supply chain sources through to end-consumers.


The UNSPSC offers a single global classification system that can be used for:

  • Tracking products and services through global supply chains

  • Company-wide visibility of spend analysis

  • Cost-effective procurement optimization

  • Full exploitation of electronic commerce capabilities


For more information visit the UNSPSC website.

Why did SlaveCheck choose UNSPSC?

SlaveCheck chose UNSPSC in its Slavery Risk Profile (SRP) to provide businesses with 'global best practice' in tracking their products - and the services used to move and transform them from source to end-consumer - through complex global mazes of supply chains.


Take the cotton supply chain for example:

SOURCE END > cotton seeds or seedlings; agricultural processes for cotton growing operations; fertilizer; insecticide; fuel; water; harvesting; transportation; storage; washing; processing into different fibres and formats; shipping; manufacture into hundreds of different products used across most industries; transport & logistics; distribution & sales < CONSUMER END


Multiply this by the thousands of different products in the world - and all the raw materials that require human services to grow or extract / process / manufacture / assemble / package / store / ship / distribute these products - and you can understand the challenge for companies of 'investigating supply chains from consumer to source'.

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