Every day, workers in developing countries are subject to conditions that we simply would not tolerate here at home, it is completely unacceptable to us that any part of our supply chain is failing to meet the standards that we hold ourselves to. As members of the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex), we adhere to the Ethical Trade Initiative (ETI) base code as well as a combination of our own values when it comes to our supply chain; here are some of the most important conditions that we require our supply chain partners to meet:
“For us, this is about doing what’s right, not what’s necessary.”
Sedex Membership & Intertek Audits
Needlers are members of Sedex, a not-for-profit organisation that works with buyers and suppliers to deliver improvements in responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chain. We utilise their 2-Pillar SMETA Audits for our suppliers which looks at standards of labour, health and safety, universal rights, management systems, subcontracting and environmental concerns.
We work in partnership with Intertek who are a Sedex approved international auditor to carry out all of our SMETA audits on our overseas suppliers, Intertek have highly trained locally based auditors that know the local industries and can identify issues that other auditors might miss.
We also have annual BRC audits and regular meetings with suppliers carried out by our own team, our MD even regularly visits our international suppliers, that’s how important this issue is too us.
Our Supplier Relationships
Our relationships with our suppliers are very important to us, we acquire international suppliers on a recommendation basis and never spot-buy, it’s vital that we’re able to build a working relationship with suppliers that we can trust to share our own values.
Where we’ve identified issues in our supply chain either through auditing or during our own visits we’ll work closely with our suppliers to help them improve. After the discovery of a non-conformance, suppliers are given up to 2 years to ensure amendments are carried out and everything is brought up to standard.
We work with our suppliers throughout this period to assist them wherever we can, it’s not enough to just cut ties with a supplier if we’re going to properly address these issues, we feel we can do more by helping our suppliers to change than by simply leaving them to carry on as before.
Our Corporate Social Responsibility
The values that we hold in regards to our supply chain can be seen throughout every aspect of our business. We’re committed to conducting ourselves in a way that meets the same rigorous ethical, professional and legal standards that we hold our suppliers to. You can read more about this in our Corporate Social Responsibility document.
All of our supplier audits are available to our customers directly from Intertek upon request, or can be accessed on our customer extranet when you log in HERE
What’s Next for Needlers?
We want to continue the work we’ve been doing to help our suppliers improve their standards, we feel that one of the best ways we can do that is to increase our SMETA audits from a 2-pillar to a 4-pillar audit that would also include an expanded examination of environmental impacts, we’re aiming to achieve this by 2020.
How Can We Make a Difference?
The problems facing workers in the developing world can’t be solved by one company alone, to really make a difference all of us need to be doing everything we can to ensure that our supply chains are ethical, here’s what you can do to help: