How do you ensure that your suppliers adhere to appropriate CR standards?
Our suppliers are asked to adhere to our Suppliers’ policy whereby they are expected to aspire to similar CR standards as Bunzl’s own operations. Bunzl’s principal suppliers are world class organisations with well developed policies and practices in this area, for example, SCA tissue, Kimberley-Clark, Georgia Pacific, Ecolab and 3M. We first wrote in 2011 to those suppliers that provide us with 50% of our product by value to make them aware of our CR policies and aspirations and to encourage them to adopt a similar approach. We wrote to these suppliers again in 2015 to update them on our progress and to understand how their policies and practices have evolved.
We have our own quality assurance/quality control (QA/QC) audit team (based in Shanghai) whose main aim is to perform regular social and environmental audits of our suppliers in Asia to ensure that such matters as labour, health and safety and environmental practices meet our standards. This team audits approximately 80% by value of product purchased of our suppliers in Asia. We work with any suppliers who do not meet our standards to help them improve. We have identified a number of issues within the audit which we consider to be “zero tolerance” issues relating to labour practices. Any suppliers identified as having zero tolerance issues in their operations become a key focus for the audit team and the relevant procurement professional within Bunzl. Such suppliers are provided with an action plan to correct the identified issues and completion of these actions are monitored by our audit team. The Board of Bunzl plc monitors these identified suppliers and the ensuing actions to ensure suppliers are working with us to reach the standards we require.
As Bunzl expands its own operations into new territories our supply chain continues to expand. In 2015 the remit of the Bunzl Risk Management Committee was extended to include supply chain risks and its membership now includes senior procurement professionals. In 2016 the Committee commissioned a project to confirm and identify social risks across Bunzl’s supply chain based on geography and product category. The initial data collection has been completed and we are now analysing the results, reviewing our current supplier interventions and considering the need to develop further actions to engage with those suppliers identified as high risk to ensure they are all working towards our CR standards. In addition we are developing a training programme for our procurement teams worldwide to promote their understanding of social risks.
We recognise continuous improvement in supplier management as an integral part of our CR programme and are committed to delivering goods which are produced sustainably.
How will Bunzl comply with the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015?
As required by the Act, in February 2017 Bunzl will provide a statement on the steps taken during the 2016 financial year to ensure that slavery and human trafficking is not taking place in any of its supply chains, and in any part of its own business. This will be published on www.bunzl.com.
Bunzl has for over ten years been taking steps to address these issues and has a comprehensive suite of Corporate Responsibility policies that cover key impacts to our business, full details of which can be found on this web-site.
Our policies commit to compliance with the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights (the’UDHR’) and to working with suppliers to ensure that adequate standards are maintained in all areas of CR and in particular relating to their employees where we require that at least internationally recognised minimum requirements for workers’ welfare and conditions of employment are met. The minimum requirements are those defined by the International Labour Organization or the Ethical Trading Initiative”. The UDHR, the International Labour Organization and the Ethical Trading Initiative all prohibit forced labour i.e. slavery and human trafficking.
Within our own operations our Employees policy is implemented and monitored by a team of human resource professionals. In addition we have a team of internal auditors who periodically visit Bunzl locations and audit the operations to ensure that they meet relevant standards. Further the profile of our operations in terms of locations and roles, (the majority of our businesses are based in North America, Europe and Australasia and are involved solely in the procurement, consolidation and supply of manufactured goods) means in our view the risk of the use of forced labour is low.
Within our supply chain, the majority of our suppliers are based close to our selling companies. Bunzl has written on a number of occasions to the top 50% of suppliers by value of goods purchased, to ask them to aspire to similar standards of corporate responsibility as Bunzl, including no forced labour within their own operations or within their own supply chain.
We also import supplies from south-east Asia and in 2008 we set up a procurement office and a quality assurance and quality control (‘QA/QC’) team based in Shanghai. The QA/QC team audits our key suppliers across south-east Asia and specifically check if there is any forced labour within supplier’s operations. If such issues are identified then Bunzl will work with the supplier to rectify the issue and if the issue is not rectified within an appropriate time frame then Bunzl will cease trading with that supplier. We are currently reassessing the risk profile of all of the countries in which we operate and from where we receive supplies to consider whether we need to add any further safeguards with regard to forced labour.