How We Assess Our Suppliers on Responsible Sourcing and Ethics
We have developed a supplier prequalification process that is comprised of three pillars — financial stability, business integrity, and responsible sourcing and human rights — and embedded it into our procurement system. We continue to build on this process with requirements for responsible sourcing within our online sourcing tools, enabling greater visibility and management of responsible sourcing within our procurement processes. The process is applied to both new and existing suppliers, and is triggered by our contracting cycles.
The prequalification process includes an initial questionnaire for suppliers that is aligned to the three pillars of supplier prequalification. For each of the pillars, we assess the responses from our suppliers. We then couple these responses with risk data from external sources, including the International Trade Union Confederation Global Rights Index, the Trafficking in Persons Report from the U.S. State Department, and data on child labor prevalence from UNICEF. The outcome of these assessments determines the action required.
If a supplier is identified as potentially higher risk in terms of responsible sourcing and human rights, they are required to undergo a four-pillar Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) . At the end of each audit, the auditor and supplier agree on a time-bound corrective action plan for each gap identified. Our Procurement teams engage proactively with our suppliers to ensure the action plan is completed. In rare cases when suppliers are not willing to adopt improvements, our Procurement teams are empowered to de-authorize the supplier. This action is always a last resort, as our preference is to work in partnership with our suppliers to support them in effectively implementing responsible sourcing practices.
In the business integrity pillar, if potential high risks are identified we work with our Compliance teams to conduct further investigations to understand the nature of the risk and determine whether we can proceed to work with the supplier.
We recognize there are limitations to the supplier prequalification process and audits alone. To better understand how systemic human rights risks relate to our supply chains, we partner with other organizations to help us to identify and understand the social and environmental risks within our global supply chains.