Social audits for better working conditions
As an international market player, we take our responsibility and believe it is only logical our producers have good working conditions. That is why we joined amfori BSCI, a platform of companies that wants to improve the working conditions at producers worldwide.
Observance of the code of conduct
Colruyt Group was one of the founders of amfori BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative), an international platform of more than 2000 companies. Together we want to encourage the producers and suppliers we work with - particularly in high-risk countries - to respect universal human rights and local labour laws.
We ask suppliers of imported and private label products to sign the amfori BSCI code of conduct. This is based on international conventions such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the United Nations Global Compact and the conventions of the International Labour Organisation. The code of conduct comprises eleven principles:
- the rights of freedom of association and collective bargaining
- no discrimination
- fair remuneration
- decent working hours
- occupational health and safety
- no child labour
- special protection for young workers
- no precarious employment
- no bonded labour
- protection of the environment
- ethical business behaviour
Inspection by recognised audit bureaus
A member of amfori BSCI, we carefully check whether our trading partners respect the code of conduct. We do this through social audits, which are always conducted by recognised audit bureaus. If we notice that a producer does not respect the working conditions, he must make the necessary improvements if he wants to continue working with us. Together with other BSCI members, we support them in this through training courses, among other things. If the next audit shows no improvements or willingness to improve despite the efforts of Colruyt Group, we terminate the collaboration.
In 2020, amfori conducted BSCI social audits at 471 producers. 452 producers meet the requirements, 19 suppliers follow an improvement plan and will receive a follow-up audit within a year.
In 2022, 260 of the 404 producers we work with received a social audit. Compared to last year, this is a drop from 81% to 64.4%. This can be explained by the transition to amfori BSCI's new audit platform.
Since the start of the social audits, we have seen a continuous, gradual improvement in working conditions. This is partly due to the audits, but also to the guidance and support we provide from amfori BSCI. Our investments in audits therefore effectively lead to improvements.
The more members we have, the more audit results we can share with each other. Amfori BSCI members are able to view the audit reports of common producers conducted by other members. A producer who already scored well will only be re-audited after the maximum period of 24 months. On the one hand, this saves the producer a lot of time, and on the other hand, it allows us to use our resources in a more targeted way, making our efforts more efficient.
Going the extra mile
We do not stop at certificates and audits but proactively take additional steps in the belief that we as a company need to do our homework.
- We push for better transparency in the supply chain and strengthen supplier engagement and cooperation.
- We work on risk analyses to prioritise and avoid pain points in the chains.
- We take initiative to make products more sustainable, both socially and environmentally.
- We work out a due diligence procedure to identify, prevent and mitigate actual or potential violations.
- We take into account respect for social working conditions and human rights in our purchase policy.