Factory Standards Programme

Monitoring human rights risks

The Factory Standards Programme is our primary tool for holding suppliers accountable to our social and labour, environmental and chemical requirements. At BESTSELLER, all approved production units are subject to the programme, which means they are subject to assessments by our in-country teams or 3rd party auditors. These regular assessments are conducted to check that these factories are complying with our code of conduct and social and labour and environmental and chemical requirements.

The Factory Standards Programme is a continuous quality assurance process that requires documentation collection, worker interviews, and on-site visits from either our local teams or third-party assessors. The data from each factory assessment is fed into our internal information systems. This data serves as the basis for our Social & Labour and Environmental & Chemical Ratings, which are shared with our colleagues at brand level to help them make informed purchasing decisions, and place orders with socially and environmentally responsible suppliers.

We have our own local specialist Social & Labour Teams and Chemical & Environment Teams in our main sourcing countries (Turkey, China, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, and Myanmar), counting approximately 45 full time colleagues.

 

Identifying human rights risks

BESTSELLER conducts annual risk assessments of our human rights risks and use those assessments to inform and update our policies, factory assessment criteria and methodology, and to inform decisions about where to invest resources in risk mitigation.

This risk assessment is primarily concerned with the risk of adverse impacts on people that BESTSELLER can cause, contribute to, or to which we are linked by our Tier 0 and Tier 1 business partners. The scope of this assessment covers all sites where BESTSELLER production takes place that is assessed and verified by BESTSELLER. This includes; cut, stitch, weave/link/knit, iron, pack embroidery, laundry, printing, dying, tannery, assembly, electroplating, casting, upper manufacturers, sample room, warehousing, and homeworker facilities.

We consider the severity and likelihood of these issues and our leverage. We also draw on a range of sources such as data from our Factory Standards Programme, stakeholder and local NGOs and trade unions views, as well as desktop research such as analysis of external datasets like human rights indices.

Under the scope of this human rights risk and salient issues assessment, we have identified numerous issues.

  • Child labour
  • Forced Labour
    • Migrant labour
    • Private Employment Agencies
    • Responsible sourcing for homeworkers
  • Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
  • Sexual Harassment and Gender-based violence
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Wages
  • Working Time

And in high-risk regions, such as Myanmar we have conflict-specific risk regarding

  • Support to non-state armed groups
  • Support to illegal security forces

With each of these risks, we review our policies, assessment methodology, remediation and mitigation efforts, to ensure they meet guidance on best practice, and dedicate resources.

We are developing specific actions for each of these priority areas. For example, in some areas we have developed issue-specific policies (Migrant labour) and standard operating procedures for specific issues and with others which are more systemic in nature we’re participating in multi-stakeholder initiatives (e.g. wages).

We recognise there is more to do to better understand human rights risk and measure impact to ensure our due diligence and action is really addressing these salient issues adequately.

Risks to human and labour rights are not static, and advice on how to address them is continually evolving, so we will regularly review our human rights risk, our accompanying policies, and assessment methodology, as well as the impact of our mitigation efforts.

Our Social & Labour Requirements are designed to address the identified salient risks among our tier 0, 1 and 2 supply chain production units. Our assessment therefore covers over 150 indicators of risk during on-site visits.
Data from each factory assessment is fed into our internal information systems, as the basis for our Social & Labour Factory Rating and our Social & Labour Supplier Rating, which is provided to other business functions, including buying teams, to help brands make informed purchasing practices.
We’re committed to promoting dignity, equality, and safe working conditions for all people across our value chain. As part of that commitment to generating positive impact we engage in industry initiatives, and we also enroll suppliers in a range of workplace programmes. These programmes target industry-specific challenges, such as women empowerment, workers' rights and workplace health and safety.
We identify and monitor environmental risks in our supply chain and use the insights from independent specialist consultants to upgrade our factory assessment methodology, policies, and environmental risk mitigation work going forward. And we measure performance through our Supplier Environment Rating and focus on environmental impact initiatives where they can make a difference.
Where a factory’s assessment reports show room for improvement, a Corrective Action Plan (CAP) is created, and our local colleagues visit the factories and provide them with guidance and training to make sure the necessary improvements are made and implemented according to the CAP.

BESTSELLER has been active in Myanmar since 2014. Since then, our due diligence has increased year on year, and with the unrest and instability following the coup in 2021, BESTSELLER has continuously monitored the situation in Myanmar closely – to act accordingly in line with the occurring situation and to make sure that our corporate social responsibility meets the highest international standards.

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