Tesco and multi-stakeholder initiatives for responsible sourcing

Last updated 11/04/2019 

Tesco is a member of a number of multi-stakeholder platforms and collaborations that support our broader responsible sourcing strategy on high-risk supply chains, detailed below. Through these we are able to work together with other organisation including retailers, key suppliers and NGOs, to tackle issues that we cannot address alone. These initiatives undertake a number of activities from advocacy toward governments, working to understand the position of women in agriculture, to ensuring greater transparency and addressing issues facing small-scale producers.

Accord on Building and Fire Safety

In Bangladesh we are part of a joint initiative between brands and the global union IndustriALL called the Bangladesh Fire and Building Safety Accord.

The structural safety of buildings and the protection of workers in the event of a fire are major issues of concern. While none of our suppliers were involved in recent tragedies, we view it as our responsibility to ensure the high standards are maintained across our sites and we lend our weight and support to initiatives which improve standards for garment workers across all sites in Bangladesh.

We have 35 colleagues in Dhaka whose job is to support and help to improve standards at the 60 garment factories we work with. We seek to build relationships with our suppliers and build mutual trust. We have committed to supporting the new Transition Accord in Bangladesh, with a view to enabling Bangladeshi regulatory counterparts take back control of these issues and provide long-term benefits to Bangladeshi workers.

ACT – Action, Collaboration, Transformation

Our F&F business is one of 21 brands participating in Action Collaboration Transformation (ACT), an initiative made up of global brands and retailers and trade unions to transform the garment industry and achieve living wages for workers through collective bargaining. It is important that the collective bargaining is at an industry level so workers within a country can negotiate their wages under the same conditions, regardless of the factory they work in, and the retailers and brands they produce for.

We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with IndustriALL Global Union that commits us to work with others in the sector to improve wages in key garment sourcing countries through collective bargaining.

Through the initiative we’ve collectively developed a set of Enabling Principles which include addressing living wages through better purchasing practices, improving skills and productivity, freedom of association and collective bargaining and positively engaging with governments. In China, our non-food business is part of ACT which is an initiative between international brands & retailers, manufacturers, and trade unions to address the issue of living wages in the textile and garment supply chain. More information on ACT can be found here.

Aldersgate Group

The Aldersgate Group is an alliance of leaders from business, politics and civil society that drives action for a sustainable economy. Members include some of the largest businesses in the UK with a collective global turnover of over £400bn, leading NGOs, professional institutes, public sector bodies, trade bodies and politicians from across the political spectrum.

Assam tea

Tesco is a founding sponsor of the partnership between UNICEF and the Ethical Tea Partnership that seeks to improve the lives of women and children in Assam’s tea communities. Working directly with tea gardens, we have funded training for women and the community to prevent gender-based violence which has reached more than 33,000 women over three years. In addition, 30,000 community members have been empowered to protect children across more than one hundred tea gardens. We have also worked with state and district governments to deliver quality services for children and influence national government.

Better Cotton Initiative

The goal of the Better Cotton Initiative (BCI) is to make global cotton production better for the people who produce it, better for the environment it grows in and better for the sector’s future, by developing Better Cotton as a sustainable mainstream commodity. As a BCI member, we have committed to sourcing all our F&F cotton responsibly by 2020. As of summer 2017, more than 70% of cotton for our clothing was sourced through the BCI scheme, well on the way to our target.

Better Strawberries Group

In our Moroccan supply chains we collaborate with suppliers, other retailers, Oxfam and the Ethical Trading Initiative in the Better Strawberries Group which works to improve the working conditions of the predominantly female strawberry pickers in Morocco with a focus on the provision of social security services at the local level.

CBI’s Energy and Climate Change Committee

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) is the UK's premier business organisation, providing a voice for firms at a regional, national and international level to policymakers.  Its purpose - helping business create a more prosperous society.

Consumer Goods Forum

The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries. The CGF has a number of important commitments including a commitment to achieve zero net deforestation by 2020, to eradicate forced labour from member value chains, and to implement The Priority Industry Principles in members’ value chains and operations. These focus on ensuring that every worker has freedom of movement, no worker pays for a job and no worker should be indebted or coerced.

Cool Farm Alliance

The Cool Farm Alliance is a not-for-profit which aims to enable farmers around the world to reduce their environmental impact. Members include other retailers and food companies, including major brands like PepsiCo as well as smaller Tesco suppliers, NGOs and other industry bodies. It owns the Cool Farm Tool, an online carbon calculator which we and other members use in various agricultural supply chains. Tesco was one of the founding members in 2012.   

Corporate Leaders Group

The Prince of Wales’s Corporate Leaders Group (CLG) is a select group of European business leaders working together under the patronage of His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales to advocate solutions on climate change to policymakers and business peers within the EU and globally.

Equapak Foundation

Tesco is the main source of funding for this Foundation which aims to improve social conditions for banana workers, their families and communities in Equapak farms in the south of Ecuador. The foundation involves Equapak, their customers, the Ecuadorean Government and other NGOs. In the last three years, more than 3000 direct beneficiaries have participated in health, education and physical rehabilitation services. Stronger integration between the exporter (Equapak), the farmers, workers and communities benefit all the participants

Ethical Trading Initiative Working Group for Italian Tomatoes

Tomatoes for tinned products are picked during a six-week period in the summer. The majority of labour for manual harvest is supplied by migrant workers who are at significant risk of exploitation through illegal recruitment practices, including indebtedness and coercion. Tesco is part of the ETI group working to pilot a programme to certify labour providers and improve recruitment practices more generally.

Ethical Tea Partnership

Our membership of the ETP, a not for profit membership organisation that works to improve tea sustainability, the lives and livelihoods of tea workers and smallholder farmers, and the environment in which tea is produced, supports a vision of a thriving tea industry that is socially just and environmentally sustainable. The ETP work in India, Sri Lanka, China, Indonesia, Brazil, Argentina and multiple countries across Africa.

Ethical Trading Initiative

The Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) is a leading alliance of companies, trade unions and NGOs that promotes respect for workers' rights around the globe. The ETI provides a platform to collectively tackle issues that cannot be addressed by individual companies working alone. All corporate members of ETI agree to adopt the ETI Base Code of labour practice, which is based on the standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The ETI supports businesses to take the most effective steps to implement the Base Code in their supply chains. Tesco have been members since 1998. We are currently members of four working groups including the Peru working group and working group for Italian tomatoes described above.

Food Network for Ethical Trade (FNET)

Since 2016, we have been part of a joint supplier and retailer network which works to develop our suppliers’ ability to implement a human rights strategy and identifies areas of limited leverage where collaboration is needed. FNET currently has three workstreams focused on: risk assessment and mitigation, collaboration in the areas of transport and logistics, recruitment fees, spices and worker representation and internal and supply chain ethical engagement.

Global Coffee Platform

Tesco joined the Global Coffee Platform in 2018. The GCP focuses on enabling its members and partners (producers, international roasters, traders, donors, NGOs, and governments) to align and multiply their efforts and investments, collectively act on local priorities and critical issues, and scale successful sustainability initiatives across the sector. As the first UK retailer to join the Global Coffee Platform, Tesco embraces the exchange of good practice to create a resilient, sustainable coffee industry.

Issara Institute

The Issara Institute is an independent NGO based in Southeast Asia tackling issues of trafficking and forced labour through data, technology, partnership, and innovation. Issara links global brands and retailers, regional suppliers, technical experts, and local service providers to coordinate targeted action to eliminate trafficking in global supply chains. Tesco have been supporting the project since 2014. The Issara Institute also provides us specific site reports so we can identify issues and work with our suppliers to improve working conditions for migrant workers.

Malawi 2020

In our tea supply chains, we are working in Malawi with Oxfam, the Ethical Tea Partnership, the Malawian tea industry and leading tea brands to create a thriving tea industry in Malawi. The main objective is to pay the living wage to tea workers by 2020 but the programme also looks at issue such as climate adaptation, energy and discrimination. As part of this work, experienced development organisations are educating women on their rights in the workplace. More details of the Malawi 2020 programme’s work on gender can be found here. 

RE100

Run by the campaigning organisation The Climate Group, this campaign aims to accelerate the scale-up of renewable power to help deliver a better, healthier and more sustainable world. It encourages business to sign up to sourcing 100% Renewable Electricity, Tesco has signed up to achieve this by 2030.

Responsible Car Wash Scheme (RCWS)

A collaborative initiative leading the Car Wash industry to help prevent exploitation and protect against risk for workers that could be in forms of modern slavery. It brings together retailers, government and non-government organisations to create an industry standard to address environmental and health and safety risks whilst promoting good business practises. More details can be found here.

Science-based Targets Initiative (SBTi)

The SBTi is a collaboration between the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), World Resources Institute (WRI), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). The initiative’s overall aim is that by 2020, science-based target setting will become standard business practice and corporations will play a major role in driving down global greenhouse gas emissions. Tesco set ambitious science-based carbon reduction commitments in 2017.

Seafood Ethics Action Alliance

The Seafood Ethics Action Alliance (SEAA) has been established by the seafood industry to provide a platform for joint work on human rights in the fishing sector, to share information on emerging issues, agree best practice solutions, and provide a forum for collective pre-competitive action.

Sedex

Sedex is the online filing cabinet for all our suppliers to store their ethical audits- which they can share with us and any other retailer that they may supply. This data gives us visibility of ethical trade issues and helps us to manage improvements. Tesco sit on a number of Sedex’s working groups to help shape the organisations’ activities.

Spanish Ethical Forums

Alongside seven other UK retailers, we continue to support Spanish Ethical Forums, attended by our first-tier suppliers and growers. Annually, eight events are held locally in Spain, which seek to address discrimination against migrant agricultural labourers and investigate the provision of labour. These events have fostered greater collaboration between companies in the sector and have effectively raised awareness of labour issues, such as modern slavery, within the supply base.

Stronger Together

Tesco is a project sponsor of Stronger Together, a multi-retailer initiative which aims to reduce modern slavery by raising awareness amongst suppliers and brands of the signs of modern slavery and how to tackle it. Stronger Together provide guidance, resources and a network for employers, labour providers, workers and their representatives to work together to reduce exploitation. We have enabled all our UK-based suppliers to attend a Stronger Together training session free of charge, and also provide training for all relevant sourcing colleagues. Stronger Together now work in Spain and South Africa as well as the UK.

The ETI Tamil Nadu Programme

Some women in the Tamil Nadu garment industry are recruited through Sumangali and similar schemes; contracts under which they are paid a lump sum at the end of a three-year period, leaving them vulnerable to abuse in the interim. We monitor our direct suppliers closely to ensure no such practices exist in our supply chain and are mapping our ‘second tier’ supply chain in India, including spinning mills, washing, printing and dyeing facilities and have begun visits to the spinners identified. We are also part of the ETI programme providing training to mills across the region.

Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform

The Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform is a not-for-profit and is the primary global food & drink value chain initiative for sustainable agriculture. It has over 90 members, including major brands and retailers. SAI Platform develops tools and guidance to support global and local sustainable sourcing and agriculture practices. Tesco joined in 2016.

Sustainability Initiative of South Africa (SIZA)

In South Africa we have worked with industry and other stakeholders through SIZA to develop the following resources to support our citrus, grape, top fruit and stone fruit supply chains:

  • Accommodation guidelines
  • Transport guidelines
  • Ethical Trade handbook
  • Tesco Training Fund
  • Induction training for workers on their rights and responsibilities in the workplace – SIZA Visa
  • Leadership and mentorship programmes including a strong focus on women.

Sustainable Fisheries Partnership

The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership's (SFP) mission is to engage and catalyse global seafood supply chains in rebuilding depleted fish stocks and reducing the environmental impacts of fishing and fish farming. Since its founding in 2006, SFP has been leading and catalysing fishery and aquaculture improvement projects globally by convening, educating, and advising supply chain stakeholders.

SFP works with Tesco’s suppliers to collect data on our seafood sourcing through SFP Metrics, and to promote improvement in our source fisheries.

Sustainable Seafood Coalition

Tesco has been a member of the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC) since 2011. The Coalition is a partnership of UK businesses that works to ensure a healthy future for our oceans, with the vision that all fish and seafood sold in the UK comes from sustainable sources. Our membership forms part of our broader strategy on responsibly sourcing seafood.

UN Global Compact

The UN Global Compact aims to mobilize a global movement of sustainable companies and stakeholders so that businesses are supported to do business responsibly by aligning their strategies and operations with ten Principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and by taking strategic actions to advance broader societal goals, such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals, with an emphasis on collaboration and innovation.

UN High Commission for Refugees, Syria

We have started to work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Turkey to train our suppliers to identify and support any refugee employees. We know that refugees, particularly from Syria, are at high risk of trafficking and exploitation and we aim to expand this work with Unseen and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in our berry supply chains in Jordan over the coming year.

World Banana Forum

We are a leading member of the World Banana Forum, a not for profit organisation housed with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) which is part of the UN, where we engage with producers, industry organizations such as CORBANA, AUGURA and AEBE, governments, academic organisations and development agencies to promote positive change in the banana industry. We also support NGOs and Trade Unions such as Banana Link, COLSIBA (Confederation of Latin American Banana Trade Unions), FENACLE of Ecuador, SINTRAINAGRO of Colombia, SITRAP of Costa Rica among other workers’ organisations to ensure their voices are heard and make progress on wages and decent working conditions. Tesco promotes dialogue and consensus building within the World Banana Forum to ensure the sustainability and social responsibility of the international banana trade. We have provided financial support to the BOHESI project to ensure better health and safety conditions in banana farms in Latin America and Africa.

We sit on the WBF Gender Conference Organizing Committee (GCOC) to ensure the development of joint strategies and activities on key issues facing women working in global banana supply chains and help fund this work. We are currently working with members of the World Banana Forum to ensure that gender is established firmly on the banana industry agenda.

World Cocoa Foundation

Tesco has been a member of the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) since 2015. This multi-stakeholder industry platform seeks to create a sustainable and profitable cocoa economy, thereby improving the lives of cocoa producers and their families. Through our membership, sourcing and work with our suppliers, we support the work of the Foundation to increase the positive impact of cocoa production on the communities that depend on it. Through the WCF we are able to advocate towards governments for better support for small-scale farmers. We have also signed the Cocoa and Forests Initiative to end deforestation and restore forest areas in Côte D’Ivoire and Ghana.