Labour conditions in our supply chain
Millions of people who work in our supply chain rely on us for their livelihoods, and our trade makes an important contribution to the communities of many more. In turn, we rely on our suppliers to provide us with products our customers want. Ensuring good labour standards throughout our supply chain is not only the right thing to do, but also makes good business sense.
We were a founder member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and we expect all suppliers to meet the standards set out under the ETI Base Code and ensure their workers the rights within it. For more information see www.ethicaltrade.org.
We want to help our suppliers, wherever they are based, achieve the high standards that we expect and we provide support and guidance. However, we stand behind our policies on ethics and this means that we discontinue business with suppliers who fail to commit or demonstrate improvement. In 2009, we launched Trading Fairly, a new approach to ethical trading.
To make Trading Fairly a reality, we invest substantially in supporting suppliers to deliver it. Our ethical trade managers in Bangladesh, China, South Africa and South America help suppliers and stakeholders address local and national challenges.
Although our Buyers in commercial teams have a key role to play in supporting Trading Fairly, it always helps to have individuals who can spread best practice and identify and act on issues early. Our Ethical Champions support Trading Fairly on a day-to-day basis, working closely with commercial teams to review the potential impact of decisions, escalate complex issues and ensure our suppliers are adequately supported. We now have over 50 Ethical Champions across our UK and international businesses, many of whom hold Technical roles within their category, and as such are ideally placed to take a strategic view of supplier management and on-going development.
Improving standards in the clothing industry
The Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector (RAGS) challenge fund was set up by UKaid (Department for International Development, DFID) to support projects that are aimed at improving working conditions for women and other vulnerable workers in ready-made garment production industries, in low-income countries in Asia and Africa, supplying the UK market.
Tesco is contributing to two projects alongside RAGS:
We are in the process of establishing a new skills training centre in Bangladesh to improve working conditions, productivity and efficiency in ready-made garment (RMG) factories, a major opportunity given that many operate at relatively low efficiency compared to those in other countries.
Once open, the Skills Foundation will help boost participating factories' efficiency, making them more cost effective and better equipped to compete in the global textile market.
After launching, the training centre will be open to all Bangladesh RMG factories whether or not they supply Tesco.
The Skills Foundation also aims to improve working hours and wages, whilst supporting factories to achieve improved quality and increased productivity through courses in human resource management and professional skills training. The initiative is funded by Tesco, with an additional grant from DFID's Responsible and Accountable Garment Sector (RAGS) Challenge Fund.
This project is a collaboration between DFID, Tesco and five other UK retailers. It focuses on improving the management systems of ready-made garment manufacturers. The goal is to make responsible business and efficient production the norm in the Indian and Bangladesh Garment Export manufacturing sectors. Phase One of the project has involved building management skills and improving worker conditions in 10 pilot factories in India and Bangladesh and there have been some very positive results including increased efficiency, reduced absenteeism and reduced turnover along with improved worker morale. Phase Two will consist of training and implementation support for 100 factories and is commencing soon.
Development through trade
As a large retailer we source across a wide range of sectors and countries. Overall, our trade helps to create and sustain jobs that - in general - enable workers to enjoy better conditions than in the past. The direct supply chain to our UK stores alone employs over one million workers.
CR review 2012
Our seven part strategy aims to broaden the scope of the business to enable it to deliver strong sustainable long-term growth.
We believe it is possible to provide for all our customers, whatever their needs, whilst upholding strong standards across our business and in our supply chains.
Retail businesses can play a powerful role in tackling climate change. We are determined not only to play our part, but to play a leading role.
Around the world
Every year we define Community-related projects for each of the markets in which we operate stores, reflecting our Community Promises and local priorities.