Social and ethical issues in the supply chain are gaining importance in all types of organizations. Therefore some public and private organizations have already started to introduce socially responsible purchasing practices. However, current practices are limited and seem unsystematic. There is also a difference between few front-running organizations and the rest. It is therefore useful at this early stage to disseminate the knowledge and experiences based on the best-performing organizations. This paper does that by developing a model of the socially responsible purchasing process that is based on the empirical and secondary data. The model reveals the five elementary steps that are necessary in the implementation of systematic socially responsible purchasing practices: developing internal policies; setting purchasing criteria that regard social issues; applying assurance practices; managing supplier relations; and building internal capacity. The model also points to the different activities in the process and their associated challenges. Copyright (C) 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd and ERP Environment.