It is our suppliers’ responsibility to achieve and maintain the requirements of our Global Sourcing Principles and to enforce them within their own supply chain. They must be able to demonstrate that they are doing so.

We aim to achieve our objectives by developing clear and agreed standards with our suppliers, supported by regular visits and a policy of continual improvement. We apply strict sanctions when our standards are not met, or where there is no commitment to improve standards.

We are committed to working with our suppliers in an open, constructive and transparent manner and we require our suppliers to do the same.

In 1999, we joined the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and developed a set of principles in partnership with our suppliers. These principles were based on the ETI Base Code and established our requirements for suppliers to comply with all relevant local and national laws, particularly on working hours and conditions, living wages, health and safety, rates of pay, terms of employment and minimum age of employment.

We reviewed and updated our Global Sourcing Principles in 2014 to reinforce our expectations on the environment, cover gender equality and a wider range of community human rights issues such as land rights and small holders. To reflect our revised approach to human rights and to incorporate the requirements of the UK Modern Slavery Act we made further revisions in May 2016. These were further updated in 2018.

In updating our principles we have drawn from the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the UN Human Right to Water and Sanitation, the UN Women's Empowerment Principles, and the Children's Rights and Business Principles as well as a number of internationally recognised codes including the ETI Base Code and the Global Social Compliance Programme Reference Code. In doing so, we have attempted to ensure our requirements are aligned with internationally recognised standards in order to help promote comparability between the standards of different buying companies and reduce the level of compliance burden on suppliers.

These principles are a contractual requirement and where relevant are reinforced in our standard terms. They set out what is required and expected from our contracted suppliers – those with whom we have a direct contract for goods and services – to ensure their workplaces and ways of working meet acceptable standards.

It is the supplier’s responsibility to achieve and maintain these standards and to enforce them within their own supply chain. As our business relationship develops, we expect our suppliers to raise their standard and continually improve working conditions and their environmental performance, taking account of international best practice.

Suppliers must agree with us in advance the production site or workplaces to be used and no subcontracting of our orders from these agreed locations is allowed. All products we sell must also be labelled with their country of origin.

Find out more about our approach respecting human rights including land rights and smallholders.