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AIM-PROGRESS members support their suppliers in different ways with one common objective - raising standards in their value chains. In this supplier section, you will find information and guidance on responsible sourcing programs and what you can do at your sites to ensure that you reach and maintain responsible sourcing practices.
Overview of approaches to Responsible Sourcing programs
AIM-PROGRESS members each have a slightly different approach to responsible sourcing but there are common key elements that are leveraged to reduce duplication. Below is an overview of a responsible sourcing program:
Most companies will ask suppliers to sign up to their code of conduct when engaging with them. Some will also include responsible sourcing requirements in their contractual terms with suppliers. Signing a code of conduct with a customer means that a supplier will abide by the requirements which are outlined in that code.
Companies usually have their own supplier codes and policies which are different, but usually they are based on the UN Global Compact's ten principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption.
Not all companies will use this type of assessment approach / questionnaire but if you are asked for one it is important to make sure that you keep it up to date. If if you have made changes at your site that involve any of the 4 pillars of responsible sourcing (human rights & labour standards, health & safety, environment and business integrity) then reflect this in your questionnaire. These assessments can also be a helpful tool for you to identify gaps yourself and put your own corrective actions in place.
The questions in these assessments/questionnaires will look at similar issues as an ethical on-site audit, so use it to your advantage. A supplier may be asked to complete a self-assessment, e.g. Sedex SAQ. A growing number of AIM-PROGRESS members also use third party remote assessments, such as EcoVadis.
The majority of AIM-PROGRESS members undertake 4-pillar on-site audits that cover human rights & labour standards, health & safety, environment and business integrity. The common benchmark for AIM-PROGRESS members to consider mutual recognition of audits is the SMETA 6.1 audit protocol or equivalent.
If during the course of the audit the auditor finds areas that need improvement they will discuss this with you, provide timeframes for when these corrective actions should be completed.
Companies are increasingly carrying out Human Rights Due Diligence in their supply chains, and encouraging their suppliers to do the same. This is often in response to legislation, but also part of leading brands' responsible sourcing program. For practical advice on how to implement the UNGPs and due diligence, you can refer to the publication by Shift: "Doing business with respect for human rights".