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Social standards and their monitoring in the supply chain

In order to implement social responsibility in the supply chain at BRAX, we have developed a multi-stage process that all the existing and new suppliers carry out.

Step 1: Initial assessment by CR Department:
Prior to any potential cooperation, the CR Department initially carries out a review with a supplier to establish whether the business is already familiar with compliance and monitoring of social standards. Has the business already carried out a valid social audit from the amfori BSCI and if this is the case what was the audit result? This review helps to establish in advance whether a supplier is ready and committed to roll out our corporate requirements and implement any necessary improvement measures at this stage prior to cooperation. If the initial assessment by the CR Department is negative, for example because the supplier has verifiably infringed social standards in the past, no cooperation is entered into.

Step 2: The amfori BSCI Code of Conduct:
At the latest before we issue the first production order, we require businesses to make a written commitment to compliance with the Code of Conduct – the Code of Conduct governing working conditions of amfori BSCI. The Code includes conditions for socially ethical production. The Code of Conduct must be displayed clearly visible in the national language for all employees at the production facilities. All employees must receive training from the management of the business relating to the content of the agreement and they must be informed about their rights. The CR Department provides proactive support for this.

Step 3: The self-assessment and the BRAX pre-audit:
The signature of the Code of Conduct is only the first step towards ensuring that the business is committed to upholding and complying with social standards. Even more important than the written acknowledgement is for the business to be in a position to understand the meaning of the requirements and ultimately implement these successfully and over the long term. This is why assistance in helping the business to carry out an analysis of the status quo of the business based on a self-assessment. In most cases, the business then carries out a pre-audit. We pay a visit to the business premises in order to establish personally whether the specified standards are being complied with. We also have intensive discussions and hold workshops with the management. If necessary, concrete assistance is given to the employees of the facility. After all, a positive rollout can only be achieved in cooperation with the local people at the facility. An action plan is drawn up at the end of the visit. This must have been implemented by the time the external audit is carried out.

Step 4: The external amfori BSCI audit:
Compliance with the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct is then monitored through a regular audit carried out by an independent, external audit company. This audit is carried out semi-announced meaning that although the business is informed four weeks in advance, the exact audit date is not provided. This is intended to prevent businesses from being prepared for an audit date already known in advance. At the same time, this approach means that businesses observe the regulations all the time so that an audit can obtain the same result on any day of the year – for example independently of the production volume and therefore the associated decreasing or increasing requirement for work and resource input. BRAX supports its business partners at the production facilities as they make preparations for the audit. After an external audit has been carried out, the business and BRAX receive a comprehensive report informing them about the individual objectives (e.g. overtime rules) and their status (e.g. actual number of overtime hours worked). If necessary, a Remediation Plan of corrective measures prepared especially for the business is implemented by the supplier. This is regularly reviewed by BRAX.

Step 5: Further development of the partner cooperation
The work on the BRAX social standards is by no means concluded for the CR Department and its partner businesses following the external audit. Since the objective is to achieve a permanent improvement, we continually provide information on training and education offerings provided by organisations such as amfori BSCI. We continually work together with our partner businesses in order to maintain the high requirement for good and secure working conditions and progress a process of continuous development. This entails being in continuous dialogue with the businesses and their stakeholder groups. We also maintain regular dialogue with our own employees, service providers and suppliers.