Human Rights policy

Human Rights

Last updated: 12/05/2016

As a global retailer we buy, move and sell products through our operations and store network, and our business interacts with millions of people every day. We have a responsibility to respect the human rights of, and an opportunity to make a difference to, our colleagues, our customers, the communities we operate in and the people who work throughout our supply chain.

We are committed to upholding human rights and support in full the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Labour Organization Core Conventions.

To demonstrate our commitment to high standards and transparency in our business, we have joined the UN Global Compact; an initiative for companies to align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. The initiative is centered on ten principles and we will report our progress against these ten principles on a regular basis.

Below we outline our approach to respecting and supporting human rights for colleagues, those in our supply chain, as well as customers and communities.


We make the right decisions for colleagues by living our value - to treat everyone how they like to be treated. We deliver our Human Rights policy for colleagues in line with local culture and labour laws, for example we:

  • Promote equality and value the diversity that colleagues bring. Employment decisions are made solely on the basis of job-related skills, achievements and performance.
  • Look after our people’s health and wellbeing by ensuring that they are safe at work, and do not work excessively. We provide health & safety training, and protective equipment wherever required
  • Enable colleagues to have a voice due to our fair and trusted methods of resolving issues. Relationships are built on a basis of cooperation and a shared agenda between the company and Trade Union’s or colleague forums.
  • Provide accessible development training to give colleagues skills to do their job and opportunities to build their career if they want to.
  • Ensure our rewards are competitive, simple, sustainable and fair.

Supply chain

Building strong partnerships with trusted suppliers will ensure that we deliver high-quality and safe products that are responsibly produced. As a founding member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), we have long been aware of the potential for labour and human rights abuses to occur in our supply chains but also our opportunity to help create good jobs that enable people to care for their families and develop their skills. We recognise that it is our responsibility as a business to respect and enhance the rights of people in those supply chains, in line with the UN Guiding Principles.

Our starting point is the Base Code of the ETI, which covers the right to healthy and safe working conditions and prohibits forced labour, child labour and human trafficking. Upholding the Code is one of the requirements for our suppliers of doing business with Tesco. We are committed to working with trusted supplier partners to apply this Code and to identify where human rights impacts may occur through engaging with our suppliers, NGOs, trade unions and other groups around the world through our team of 45 locally-based responsible sourcing managers.

If human rights issues are identified, we will seek to both address them and understand the root causes of these abuses. We will work with suppliers, and other stakeholder groups to drive improvement.

We also know that many of the serious abuses that exist in countries around the world can be in lower tiers of supply chains, hidden from easy sight and hard to identify – particularly forced labour. Addressing these requires collaborative efforts with other businesses and civil society. Through our membership of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) we have recently therefore committed to working to eradicate forced labour from our supply chains, and have taken on a leading role within the CGF to develop this work.

Governance and monitoring

Our governance committees consider financial and non-financial risks to our business and the Compliance and Social Responsibility Committees in particular consider risks related to our Human Rights Policy, which are maintained on our company risk register. Key elements of our Human Rights Policy are incorporated into our Code of Business Conduct which is reviewed by our senior managers once a year.
Our established ‘protector line’ is a free professional, confidential and secure service that enables our colleagues, suppliers and their staff to raise concerns to be raised at the earliest stage via telephone and email. Issues are recorded, investigated and where necessary action is taken.