Let's get one thing straight. There's a whole range of good, bad and ugly employers out there.
Many of them - whether they're small growers in Kent or major manufacturing plants in the Far East - are reasonable human beings who want to do right by their workers, but who are under huge pressure to maintain reasonable margins, particularly in these tough economic times.
They don't have much time for highfaluting words about the moral need to treat their workers with dignity. They just want to know what their customers' requirements are, so they can get on with fulfilling them. For them, ethical trade is just another hoop to jump through.
In this context, ethical trade managers have a tough job on their hands to persuade suppliers to make an effort to comply with their code of conduct - even more so if they are only buying a small proportion of the suppliers' output.
One thing's for sure, as one of our corporate members said to me recently: "It's not just about sending a letter out to your supplier with your code of conduct attached and expecting them to get on with it."
Our members use a wide range of techniques to get the message across to their suppliers. These range from regional supplier awareness-raising conferences to developing dedicated supplier websites, playing them DVDs and sending out monthly newsletters.
Another message I've heard loud and clear from many parts is that communicating with suppliers is not a one-off activity. As Louise Nicholls of M&S says: "You need to work continuously to keep your messages at the top of your suppliers' minds."
Clearly, effective communication is only one part of the jigsaw of getting supplier buy-in to ethical trade - the most cleverly crafted messages will hold little sway with suppliers worried about being undercut by less scrupulous employers if they start investing in their workers.
But let's keep that particular can of worms shut for now.