Our policies and procedures provide us with a robust framework to enable us to operate responsibly ensuring the protection of human rights across our supply chain. The policies are based on the principles laid out in the International Labour Organisation’s Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and are reviewed and updated regularly as we learn from our experiences and best practice.
To ensure we are upholding our commitment to these principles all first tier factories are required to undertake an annual ethical audit whether this be SMETA (Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit), Fast Forward or BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative). These audits are carried out by our three global audit partners and are conducted on an unannounced/semi-announced basis, enabling us to gain an insight into working conditions.
Alongside this our local team offers ongoing support to our suppliers to remedy issues found during audits and follow up audits are conducted to close high risk issues that need independent verification. The impact of Covid 19 has meant working more closely with our suppliers and adapting our audit process where necessary to ensure we are doing all we can to protect workers whilst navigating the restrictions imposed as a result of the global pandemic.
Given the severity of the Covid 19 pandemic, we also acted to enhance worker awareness of the virus and preventative measures that the can take to prevent transmission. We implemented this training across four of our key suppliers in Bangladesh.
Building on the success of previous years, our broader strategy focuses on better supporting our factories and their workers through training to tackle areas of risk in our supply chain.
The projects aim to support our factories with more complex issues and improve the lives and livelihoods of workers. The impact of Covid 19 meant that the training programmes we facilitate in factories throughout
our supply chain were greatly reduced. However, this period gave us the opportunity to re-evaluate our approach to training and develop a plan that is more
in tune with the aims of the SDGs and addresses issues most relevant to each of our key sourcing countries.
This review led us to deciding on four pillars that we would use to shape our factory and community programmes globally moving forward.