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  • Our Standards
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Rolling out our supply chain standards

Our success in the marketplace relies on responsible behaviour and good corporate citizenship.  One of these responsibilities is the maintenance of high environmental and social standards within the supply chain.  We continually review our approach to ethical and sustainable supply chain management since it is vital that our relationships with business partners and suppliers are aligned with our approach to CR. 

We continually review our approach to ethical and sustainable supply chain management since it is vital that our relationships with business partners and suppliers are aligned with our approach to CR. 

We have developed a detailed Supplier Code, which outlines the expectations we have of our suppliers. The Supplier Code, which was piloted in 2015 and launched globally throughout 2016, is based on international standards and, in the absence of such standards, accepted good practice. The Code covers labour practices, environmental management, responsible sourcing of materials and products, and business conduct. It also contains requirements around human trafficking and forced and bonded labour.

We engage with our suppliers and partners around the issues outlined in the Supplier Code, and have developed a due diligence and review protocol for our procurement teams to use in assessing supplier credentials.

We have undertaken a risk assessment to identify the areas of highest risk both in our own business operations and in those of our supply chain.  We have mapped our operations and those of our supply chain to identify particular industry/sectoral risks as well as risks from their geographical location. To identify particular country risks, we have taken account of a number of external benchmarks and indices in our risk assessment process, including the UN Human Development Index, ITUC  Global Rights Index, Freedom House Freedom in the World Civil Liberties, UNICEF  % of children aged 5-14 years engaged in child labour, US State Department Trafficking in Persons, and Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index.  Our assessments are reviewed on a regular basis.

The risk assessment helps to focus our efforts on internal communication and employee training and supports the rollout and monitoring of the Supplier Code across all our companies, with an initial focus on the higher risk areas of our business.

After the initial pilot, the Supplier Code was introduced to our suppliers in 2016. Our key suppliers (large volume in areas of high risk) were introduced to the Supplier Code by means of a one-day workshop, hosted by our local Coats site. Following the workshops, suppliers were required to conduct a gap analysis of their own procedures and practices against the Coats’ Supplier Code.  They were asked to report back to Coats with their analysis, denoting areas of non-compliance and providing an action plan for improvement. Our procurement teams monitor the implementation of the plan and provide hands-on advice and support for each of our key suppliers.   The Supplier Code was communicated to our medium risk suppliers verbally, by either phone or at a face to face meeting with procurement.  Low risk suppliers have been sent the Supplier Code by email. 

By the end of 2017, 97% of our suppliers have been informed about our Supplier Code and suppliers representing over 45% of our total spend have attended the one-day workshops.

A review of Supplier Code adherences also forms an integral part of our routine reviews of supplier performance. We have also reserved the right to audit our suppliers and partners, to the furthest extent permitted by law and any contract we have in place, to ensure compliance with the Supplier Code.

Working in partnership

We are also committed to working with others across the industry to develop new products and services and to ensure high standards are maintained across our sector. 

We have worked in partnership with several of our customers to develop a tool called StockMatch. StockMatch helps our customers minimise waste by using a hand-held device to keep track of thread volumes held in storage. See our case studies for more information on both of these initiatives.

In 2016, we signed up to the Zero Discharge of Hazardous Chemicals (ZDHC) Programme, originally launched in 2011 by six leading brands.  Through our commitment to ZDHC, we will be working with the industry to eliminate hazardous chemicals not only from our own operations but also the rest of the supply chain.


Corporate Responsibility case studies

Integrating our approach to Corporate Responsibility across our business operations

Read all case studies