How We Do Business

Ethical trading

We’re only as strong as communities in which we trade. So it makes good sense to be a fair partner by ensuring good working conditions for everyone in our supply chains.

We have around 2,000 product suppliers in over 70 countries and we’re unique in labelling all our products with the country of origin. We also have local buying offices with Regional Compliance Managers in Turkey, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Sri Lanka and China.

In 1999, we developed a set of principles in partnership with our suppliers. These principles set down our requirements for suppliers to comply with all relevant local and national laws, particularly on: working hours and conditions, health and safety, rates of pay, terms of employment and minimum age of employment.

download Global Sourcing Principles pdf

As our relationship with a supplier develops,   we expect them to improve working conditions in line with the more demanding standards promoted by the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), a collaborative group of companies, trade unions and human rights groups set up by the Government in 1998. M&S joined the ETI in 1999. 

download ETI base code pdf

We use a combination of M&S, third- party and self audits to assess supplier performance which are logged on a shared database known as SEDEX. Results are reported in detail to the ETI and summarised in our annual How We Do Business Report.

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