As the leading global manufacturer of threads, zips and related products, Coats plays a key role in the apparel and footwear supply chain. Our success in the marketplace relies on responsible behaviour and good corporate citizenship. We also want to extend this to our customers and suppliers.
In 2015, Coats developed a detailed Supplier Code. The Code describes the standards and values we expect from our suppliers in terms of labour practices, environmental management, responsible sourcing and business conduct.
Coats China programme:
During 2015, Coats China successfully rolled out the Code to 75 of its key suppliers (pictured). Out of a total of 880 different suppliers, these 75 are strategic to Coats’ business in China because between them they represent over two-thirds of Coats’ purchases of goods and services there. The suppliers were invited to one of four workshops at different sites in Shanghai, Shenzhen (2) and Tianjin.
Global rollout programme
In 2016, following the success in China, the Code was rolled out globally, to all of our suppliers located in our primary markets. The Coats team ran a total of 20 one-day workshops across 15 different countries. In addition to the events that took place in China in 2015, there have been Supplier Code workshops in Turkey, Vietnam, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Brazil, Mexico, Sri Lanka, India, Hungary, Germany, Italy and the USA.
During the workshops our team presented the Supplier Code and explained the background to the initiative. In breakout sessions the attendees learned how to apply the Code in their own organisations. After the workshop sessions the suppliers were asked to assess their own CR performance and review how closely they currently comply with the Code. If they found any compliance failures, Coats asked suppliers to map out an improvement plan. Coats will provide ongoing support to help them fully comply with the Code and align their CR performance with our values.
Coats representatives from our secondary markets attended those workshops to, in turn, roll out the Code in their own country and any other neighbouring countries. All of the secondary and tertiary markets have now rolled out the Supplier Code to their own suppliers and so far more than 80% have been engaged.
Feedback from the 592 suppliers who attended a workshop was very positive. This was reflected in the high levels of interest and engagement seen throughout the workshops. Anonymous feedback from the events suggested that 67% of suppliers who attended the event ‘Strongly agreed’ that the Coats Supplier Code will be a useful tool for their organisation to improve in the areas of business ethics, safety, environmental management and labour practices. 71% also ‘Strongly agreed’ that the workshop was a worthwhile use of their time.
Coats is committed to working closely with its partners to develop responsible business practices. We are constantly looking for ways to improve our standards of environmental and ethical supply chain management.
Next steps are to follow up with specific half-day events in certain countries to focus on particular areas of the Supplier Code, where Coats feels that suppliers require more help in their understanding of the Code and compliance to it.