BRM Foundations – Stores

Higg BRM Foundations How to Higg Guide

Table of Contents

1. Environment

2. Social & Labor

This section will be completed by companies that own and operate or lease retail stores. This excludes stores that are not owned and operated by your company such as store-in-store (operated by department store) or franchised stores (operated by franchisees).

Environment

  • A corporate policy approved by your company’s executive team and/or Board that underpins the commitment to the success of this program.
  • Compliance with all applicable regulations
  • Specific minimum requirements and best practices that go above and beyond applicable regulations.
  • Requirements in contracts that require suppliers and subcontractors to meet the goals of the program.
  • Public disclosure including a description of your impact in this area and details pertaining to your program.

Intent of the question
This question builds on from question 3 in the Management System section by evaluating how your company is addressing the environmental risks in your store operations that were identified as part of your risk assessment process.

While it is possible to make progress in advancing sustainability without a formal program in place, establishing such a program enables a company to coordinate its efforts more effectively and realize continuous improvement over an extended period of time.

Technical Guidance

 Environmental Performance Program – Includes formal policies, strategies, contracts or action plans to improve the environmental performance of the company’s owned and operates stores.

Other stages of store operations – The stages of store design, construction, remodel/retrofit and closing should be included in the program if it has been determined to be a salient impact as a result of your environmental impact assessment.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, over 75% of stores are enrolled in your company’s environmental program
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, 25% to 75% of stores are enrolled in your company’s environmental program
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, less than 25% of stores are enrolled in your company’s environmental program

Helpful Resource

  • Best environmental management practices for the retail trade sector are included in this report.

Intent of this question
This question intends to confirm whether your company has implemented efficiency measures to minimize the environmental impact from store operations.

Energy

The following questions ask specifically about energy improvements, which is different from how we approach improvements in other sections. The reason this section is different is because the industry lacks quantitative data on the water and energy impacts of retail stores. By guiding Higg BRM users to complete this section with more precise data, we can build up the industry’s repository of quantitative data for more accurate analysis and action planning.

2.1 Have practices been implemented to reduce energy consumption in stores? Answer options: Yes/Partial Yes/No

Intent of the question
This question is intended to encourage companies to implement best practices to achieve energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is when we are using less energy to accomplish the same amount of work. When we use less energy, the less energy we need to generate at power plants, which reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves the quality of our air. Getting the most work per unit of energy is often described as a measure of energy intensity.

Common metrics for buildings include energy use per square foot and use per capita.

Technical Guidance

  • If answered ‘yes’ to this question, your company has implemented energy efficiency practices or program in over 75% of your stores.
  • If answered ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has implemented energy efficiency practices or program in 25-75% of your stores.
  • If answered ‘no’ to this question, your company did not implement energy efficiency practices and/or implemented these practices in less than 25% of your stores.

Helpful Resources

3.1 If answered yes, please describe the improvements made over the reporting period.

Intent of this question
This question intends to determine whether the company’s actions has resulted in the improvement of stores’ environmental performance.

Technical Guidance

Please describe the successes achieved in the   which have resulted in environmental improvements of your company’s store operations.

Reflecting on the improvements made, enables staff to measure and report its progress towards achieving the company’s goals/commitment.

Helpful Resources

Social & Labor

In this section we will measure and evaluate the social & labor performance associated with your retail stores workforce. This excludes employees working in stores that are not owned and operated by your company such as store-in-store (operated by department store) or franchised stores (operated by franchisees).

Data Collection

The topics covered in this section are specific to your retail stores workforce an involve a broad range of topics related to your company’s corporate social responsibility associated with the operations of the retail stores that you own, operate or lease. Staff that should be consulted are responsible for Human Resource and/or managing store operations.

Intent of the question
This question intends to confirm that your corporate social/human rights responsibility program, that addresses rights and obligations within the employer-employee relationship, also includes the retail workforce.

Technical Guidance

 Corporate social/human rights responsibility program can be understood as a program that outlines steps and actions to protect the employees’ rights and promote their well-being.

A responsibility of a company is not only limited to the external environment, but a company is also responsible for its employees. Establishing a social/human rights responsibility program not only fulfills that responsibility but also helps companies in attracting and retaining the best talent globally.

A social / human rights responsibility program should include:

  • Assigned staff with responsibility for assessing and managing social/human rights risks within your operations.
  • Internal procedures to ensure operations align with your company’s social/human rights policy.

Helpful Resources

Intent of the question
This question intends to confirm that your company has a process for integrating human resource management and labor law compliance across all of their store operations (including any contracted employment or labor agencies).

Technical Guidance

Staff responsible for human resources (HR) should implement an integrated process to ensure compliance to local labor laws (as part of the Human Resource Policy) is applied consistently across all business operations, including stores.

Process and procedures are needed to ensure alignment with the company’s social/human rights policy. A forward-looking process addresses how the company intends to stay up to date on the changing legal landscape and how remediation or preventative efforts will be taken when non-compliance has been found in stores.

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company has implemented a process to ensure stores are in compliance with local labor law.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, we are developing a process to ensure stores are in compliance with local labor law.
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, your company does not have a process in place to ensure compliance.

Helpful Resources

5.1 Please indicate which of the following practices are included:

  • Employees are able to freely access their original identity cards, work permits and travel documents at any time
  • Employees’ freedom of movement is not restricted
  • No employee has paid illegal or excessive recruitment fees and other charges
  • Validated the agency/broker operates under legally issued license
  • Other (If other, please describe)

Intent of the question
This question intends to confirm that your company is monitoring and ensuring that stores operations are in compliance with local labor laws.

Technical Guidance

Employment / Labor agency: Agencies that are hired by a company to recruit people to fulfil jobs, from temporary to full-time.

Staff responsible for human resources should be assigned to monitor that retail operations (alongside offices, transportation and distribution centers) and contracted employment/labor agencies are complying with local labor law.

Methods of ensuring this could be by establishing a database/system or hire a third party to monitor labor law compliance based on the different geographical areas where your company operates in.

Answer Options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company has selected or described one or more of the practices listed within the question.
  • If answered ‘no’ to this question, your company should upload/provide at minimum the company’s corrective action plan to address non-compliance.

Intent of the question
This question intends to confirm that your company is in compliance with local labor laws.

Technical Guidance

Companies are responsible for ensuring all of their owned and operated sites (including stores) are meeting labor rights compliance. Monitoring of this compliance ensures the store operations reflect jointly shared values and fulfills the commitment of your organization to the store employees.

If you have answered ‘no’ to this question, please describe the number and nature of the violations and how your company is working to resolve and prevent future violations from occurring.

It is recommended that your company consult with legal counsel(s) in the different geographies you operate in, to ensure compliance with local labor law.

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