Verifier Code of Conduct

Verifier Code of Conduct

Integrity

Verifiers must promote a culture of integrity. They must manage and address verification integrity and bribery risks that may exist before, during and after each Higg verification. Verifiers must not knowingly be a party to any illegal activity, or engage in acts that are discreditable to the SAC.

  • Conflict of interest and impartiality: Verifiers must be impartial and avoid conflict of interests that may create an incentive to report inaccurate facts. Verifiers must not accept anything (e.g. bribes, gifts, benefits, hospitality, meals, entertainment) of any value from a facility) including its management, employee, or affiliates) before, during, and after Higg verification.
  • Corruption: Verifiers must be impartial and avoid conflict of interests that may create an incentive to report inaccurate facts. Verifiers must not accept anything (e.g. bribes, gifts) that may impair or be presumed to impair their professional judgment.
  • Confidentiality: Verifiers must maintain confidentiality with respect to information gathered while executing Higg Index FEM verification. Verifiers must take reasonable steps to prevent unauthorized access to information collected during or relating to Higg FEM verification. This includes information available on the Higg.org platform.
  • Intellectual Property Rights: Intellectual property rights are to be respected; transfer of technology and know- how is to be done in a manner that protects intellectual property rights; and, customer information is to be safeguarded.

Performance

  • Following verification standard: Verifiers must perform verifications in accordance with the SAC instructions and standards. The Verification protocols provide a step by step instruction for conducting verifications. Further verification guidance can be found in the most current How ToHigg Manual under the “How this will be verified” section of each question at howtohigg.org.
  • Professionalism: Verifiers must act in a respectful manner to all persons including management, workers, and other facility personnel. Permission to take photos and walk through the facility must be obtained before performing said activities.
  • Safety: Verifiers must act in a safe manner at all times, respecting and following site specific safety rules, including but not limited to, wearing Personal Protective Equipment and reading all caution signs on facility premises.

Verification Outcome Reporting

  • Ensuring authorized access: Verifiers shall have systems in place to ensure all data is collected, stored and transferred in compliance with applicable law, is secure and only accessible by authorized persons.
  • Timely Reporting: Verifiers are required to share verification results via the Higg.org platform in a timely manner as outlined in the verification protocol.
  • Sharing Verification Results: The verification results may not be shared with any other entities for any purposes. The verification results are entered into Higg.org for posting purposes. Sharing of the verification results shall be done via the Higg.org platform by the owner of the information, which is the factory that hired you for verification and gave you “Verifier” permissions on higg.org.

Verification Privacy General Rules

Verifiers should observe the following rules to ensure they are protecting information collected during all verifications:

  • Verifiers will not leave their belongings such as notes or other verification related documents out in the open for public consumption
  • Verifiers shall ask permission from facility staff when accessing information related to verification topics.
  • Verifiers will ensure any electronic devices are secured with a password to prevent access to verification information.
  • Verifiers shall not discuss the, verification results, or any other information gained from the verification with anyone outside of the facility management staff, the verification team or the Verification Program Manager, and only as necessary to finalize the verification results

Sensitive Information Handling Rules

  • The verifier may come across sensitive information during the course of a verification. Sensitive information during a verification may include, innovative designs or processes, price sensitive information, strategy documents, and any other information which differentiates the facility providing them with a competitive advantage. Sensitive information should be guarded under extreme care and with security measures to ensure its confidentiality.
  • Sensitive information is confidential and verifiers should not share it with any person or organization.
  • Verifiers should not request or use sensitive information data unless necessary for the verification.
  • If sensitive information is accidentally provided and is not needed for the verification, Verifiers should return it and not share that information.
  • Verifiers should not include specific details about sensitive information in the verification report.

Acceptable Items to Receive During Verification

Date: 17 September, 2018

As per the Verifier Code of Professional Conduct, Verifiers should not “accept anything (e.g. bribes, gifts, benefits, hospitality, meals, entertainment) of any value from a facility (including its management, employee, or affiliates) before, during, and after Higg verification with the exception of items explicitly allowed under defined circumstances (e.g. lunch, transportation).” Below you will find the explicit exceptions. Verifiers should always use their best judgement in these situations.

Transportation:

  • In most circumstances, it is expected that Verifiers provide their own transportation to and from the facility(s) being verified. In some situations, it may be appropriate for the facility to provide transportation during the Verification.

These situations include the following:

  • If the facility is extremely difficult to find
  • If there are safety concerns for the Verifier in getting to the facility which can be mitigated by having the Facility provide transportation

If the facility does provide transportation, the following rules apply:

  • The facility knows and understands that they are not obligated to provide transportation
  • The transportation is what is typically used for and by factory employees (i.e. the factory car)
  • The transportation is used for Verification purposes only (no side trips or use of Facility transportation is allowed)

If the Verifier is unsure if they should accept transportation from the facility because there is a concern that a it could be viewed as a bribe or be questioned for ethical considerations, it is recommended that they do not accept the transportation. If specific questions occur and the Verifier does not know whether acceptance of a transportation is Ok, they should contact their company leadership and/or the VPM. If transportation was accepted and there is any concern at any time during or after the Verification that a it could be viewed as a bribe or be questioned for ethical considerations, the Verifier should contact the VPM and inform them of the situation and what occurred.

Meals:

In most circumstances, it is expected that Verifiers provide their own meals before, during and after the Verification. In some situations, it may be appropriate for the facility to provide a meal (typically a lunch) to the Verifier during the verification. These situations include the following:

  • If the facility is far away (more than 20 minutes) from lunch options or does not have available transport (see above)
  • If there are safety concerns for the Verifier to leave the facility to eat

If the facility does provide lunch, the following rules apply:

  • The facility knows and understands that they are not obligated to provide a meal
  • The meal is inexpensive (not more than $20 USD)
  • The facility may make the meal (i.e. in the facility Canteen), as long as the Verifier’s meal is the same as the facility employees eat
  • There is no alcohol provided

If the Verifier is unsure if they should accept a meal from the facility because there is a concern that a it could be viewed as a bribe or be questioned for ethical considerations, it is recommended that they do not accept the meal. If specific questions occur and the Verifier does not know whether acceptance of a meal is Ok, they should contact their company leadership and/or the VPM. If a meal was accepted and there is any concern at any time during or after the Verification that a it could be viewed as a bribe or be questioned for ethical considerations, the Verifier should contact the VPM and inform them of the situation and what occurred.

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