Operations & Logistics

Scope Of This Section

The Operations & Logistics section is intended to outline the best environmental and social/human rights practices companies can adopt in the operations of their offices, transportation and distribution centers.

The Operations & Logistics section is intended to outline the best environmental practices companies can adopt in the operations of their offices, transportation and distribution centers.

We recognize that many companies do not directly own or operate their office buildings, transportation fleets or distribution centers, but rather lease or contract these services through others (landlord and third-party logistics providers).

In those situations, these questions in this section still apply as the program can focus on partnering with these stakeholders to meet environmental goals. While you may not directly control the environmental outcomes, your company can still attempt to work with your landlord and logistics providers towards environmental improvements through sustainable procurement.

Environment

Offices

The scope of this section covers both owned and leased offices or buildings.

1.1 What does your program include? Please select all that apply:

  • 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 contractors to meet the goals of the program.
  • Public disclosure including a description of your impact in this area and details pertaining to your program.
  • None of the above

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 corporate offices 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 office buildings.

Other stages of office operations – The stages of office 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, more than 75% of corporate offices are enrolled in the company’s environmental program
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, 25% to 75% of corporate offices are enrolled in the company’s environmental program
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, less than 25% of corporate offices are enrolled in the company’s environmental program

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • In order to consider an office included in the program, your company must have documentation (policies, strategies, contracts or action plans) in place wherein the office is specially addressed, and described how it is being supported as part of the environmental performance program.
  • The program should include an explanation on whether the stages of office design, construction, remodel/retrofit and closing are included in the program. 
  • Internal or external materials related to the environmental performance program laying out the approach to improving the environmental performance of offices including at least the following information:
  • The description of the policies, goals and targets that have been approved by your company’s executive team and/or board that commits resources to the program. 
  • Policies should specify minimum requirements and best practices that go above and beyond applicable regulations. 
  • Targets should be linked to environmental impacts.
  • The environmental resources (Energy, Water, Waste etc) that were identified as priorities for the company and which offices will be engaged or included. 
  • How the program will be implemented including the staff resources and financial investment needed 
  • Requirements that are captured in contracts with the construction companies in which is described how construction or refurbishment of offices should meet the goals of the environmental program 
  • Team/department responsibilities 
  • Internal or external (third party) best practices, tools or expertise that will be leveraged to help implement these approaches. 
  • Public disclosure including a description of your impact, effectiveness of managing impacts, and details pertaining to your program.

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 corporate offices. By guiding 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 offices?

Answer options: Yes/Partial Yes/No

2.1.1    Please indicate what practices you have implemented to reduce energy consumption:

Answer options: Yes/Partial Yes/No

  • Central Climate System to monitor and manage energy consumption
  • Energy efficient lighting (LEDs, etc.)
  • Energy efficient HVAC systems
  • Monitoring energy consumption systems through sub-metering
  • Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) on all motors
  • Motion sensors, daylight sensors or programmed sensors
  • Electronically-regulated air curtains help to prevent the entry of cooler or hotter air from outside
  • Energy efficient refrigeration systems
  • Low and zero carbon technologies that improve the assessed buildings energy performance
  • Generating renewable energy
  • Purchasing renewable energy
  • Other (If other, please describe)

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

Answer Options

  • If answered ‘yes’ to this question, your company has implemented energy efficiency practices or program in more than 75% of your corporate offices.
  • If answered ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has implemented energy efficiency practices or program in 25-75% of your corporate offices.
  • 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 corporate offices.

Helpful Resources

Water

2.2       Have practices been implemented to reduce water consumption in offices? Answer options: Yes/Partial Yes/No

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 corporate offices. By guiding 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.

2.2.1    Please indicate what practices you have implemented to reduce water consumption Answer options: Yes/Partial Yes/No

  • Low water use fixtures (e.g. low flow, sensors) and toilets (high efficient, dual-flush, waterless urinals, etc.)
  • On-site wastewater treatment system to enable the recycling of water
  • Leak detection system that is capable of detecting a major water leak on the mains water supply within the site boundary
  • Drip feed surface irrigation that incorporates soil moisture sensors
  • Reclaimed water from rainwater or greywater systems
  • External landscaping and planting that relies solely on precipitation during all season of the year
  • Other (If other, please describe)

Intent of the question

This question is intended to encourage companies to implement best practices to achieve water efficiency.

Water efficiency is a multi-faceted concept. It means “doing more and better with less”, by reducing the resource consumption and reducing the pollution and environmental impact of water use at every stage of the value chain. Without efficiency gains, global demand for water will outstrip currently accessible supplies by 40 per cent by 2030 (2030 Water Resources Group, 2009).

Technical Guidance

Answer Options

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

Helpful Resources

Other impacts

2.4 Have practices been implemented to reduce or improve other impacts in offices? Answer options: Yes/Partial Yes/No

2.4.1 Please describe

Technical Guidance

These other impacts could be related to waste and/or material consumption.

Answer options

  • If answered ‘yes’ to this question, your company has implemented resource efficiency programs or practices (other than energy and water) in more than 75% of your corporate offices.
  • If answered ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has implemented resource efficiency programs or practices (other than energy and water) in 25-75% of your corporate offices.
  • If answered ‘no’ to this question, your company did not implement any resource efficiency practices OR implemented resource efficiency practices (other than energy and water) in less than 25% of your corporate offices.

Helpful Resource

How this will be verified

Documentation required

Energy

  • A copy of the implementation of resource efficiency practices or program. 
  • An explanation of why these energy efficiency practices were chosen. 
  • The process of engaging and training the office personnel / staff in the implementation.
  • Evidence that the implementation has resulted in energy efficiency in the office(s). 


Water 

  • A copy of the implementation of resource efficiency practices or program. 

  • An explanation of why these water efficiency practices were chosen.

  • The process of engaging and training the office personnel / staff in the implementation.

  • Evidence that the implementation has resulted in water efficiency in the office(s). 


Other Impact 

  • A copy of the implementation of resource efficiency practices or program 
  • An explanation of why these impact areas were chosen 
  • The process of engaging and training the office personnel / staff in the implementation.

3.1 Please describe or upload the action plan

Intent of this question

This question enables companies to elaborate on the actions they have taken to achieve the environmental goals of office operations.

Technical Guidance

An action plan provides a framework wherein environmental goals can be effectively managed by the individuals/team tasked with this responsibility. The plan helps to break larger tasks into smaller parts over a given time period, which makes it easier to execute and manage.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, > 75% of corporate offices are enrolled in your company’s action plan.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, 25-75% of corporate offices are enrolled in your company’s action plan.
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, you do not have an action plan or less than 25% of corporate offices are enrolled in your company’s action plan.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

A copy of your action plan which should include the following: 

  • A description of the goals and targets that has been approved by your company’s executive team and/or board that commits resources to the program.  
  • The environmental resources (Energy, Water, Waste etc) that were identified as priorities for the company and which offices will be engaged or included. 
  • In order to consider an office included in the action plan, your company must have documentation in place wherein the office is specially addressed and described how it is being supported as part of the action plan. 
  • How the plan will be implemented including the staff resources and financial investment needed. 
  • Internal or external (third party) best practices, tools or expertise that will be leveraged to help implement the actions.

4.1 Which certifications apply?

  • LEED
  • BREEAM
  • Other

What is the intent of the question?

This question is intended to encourage companies to use third-party, multi-attribute, certification program, to integrate sustainability in building(s) they operate.

Technical Guidance

The phases of design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings requires significant amount of energy, water and raw materials. Third-party certification programs support a systemic approach to integrate environmental performance management and resource efficiency into the buildings your offices operate from.

LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM® are examples of third-party verification for international green buildings certifications.

Instead of international green building certificates, many organizations may also follow internal standards or programs. If these standards are as aspirational as international certificates, their programs can be included in the answer of this question.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, >75% of your corporate offices have been certified to a multi-attribute certification program.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, 25-75% of your corporate offices have been certified to a multi- attribute certification program.
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, less than 25% of your corporate offices have been certified to a multi-attribute certification program.
Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • A copy of the third-party certification 
  • Documentation that describes the percentage of offices that have been certified and how they were selected.

5.1 Please describe and provide the relevant URLs

Intent of the question

Public communication on the progress of environmental performance associated with the office operations can be a useful way to transparently share approaches with internal and external stakeholders. This not only drives accountability within the organization but also facilitate in knowledge sharing between the company and its important stakeholders.

Technical Guidance

Formats for communication can be through:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or sustainability reports
  • Annual reviews or financial reports
  • Online web pages and news stories
  • Other communication material

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company is able to share the publicly available information on the environmental performance associated with office operations.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, this information has been shared through your company’s intranet and can be provided upon request.
  • To answer ‘no’ your company does not have this information.

Examples

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Publicly available links and/or pages   
  • Information on how frequently progress is being communicated publicly.

Transportation

The transportation sector is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, the below graph created by the Smart Freight Centre illustrates the importance of gaining insight into transportation flows with a plan to reduce emissions.

Transportation

The transportation sector is heavily reliant on fossil fuels, the below graph created by the Smart Freight Centre illustrates the importance of gaining insight into transportation flows with a plan to reduce emissions.

Scope Of This Section 
This section is intended to outline the best practices companies can adopt to start reducing their product transportation emissions.

We recognize that many companies do not directly own or operate their transportation fleets but rather contract these services through third-party logistics providers. In those situations, these questions in this section still apply as the program can focus on partnering with these logistics providers to meet environmental goals. While you may not directly control the environmental outcomes, your company can still attempt to work with these providers towards environmental improvements through sustainable freight procurement.

If the majority of your product transportation emissions is derived from your own transportation fleets you may include this within the scope of your answer as well.

Supporting Resources 
We highly recommend the free resources from two organizations that support companies in transitioning towards sustainable freight procurement:

Companies can categorize their transportation emissions as per the GHG Protocol:

  • Scope 3, category 4 – upstream transportation and distribution
  • Scope 3, category 9 – downstream transportation and distribution

Explanation on these categories can be found in the image below.

GHG Protocol – Scope 3 standard:
Table 5.7 Accounting for emissions from transportation and distribution activities in the value chain

Please select the percentages of inbound transportation methods that you have documented:

  • Air Freight – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown
  • Rail – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown
  • Road – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown
  • Sea – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown

Intent of the question

This question is intended to assess whether your company has visibility and control of your inbound transportation flows and subsequently knows the vendors of your products. This information is needed to build an understanding of the potential environmental impacts and risks associated with how the products are being transported. Knowing the transportation flows and identity of your vendors can help you to begin identifying their risks and impacts and building relationships with them to improve their site-level performance.

In this article, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has explained why freight matters to supply chain sustainability.

Technical Guidance

Inbound transportation refers to the transport, storage, and delivery of goods coming into a business. The inbound side concerns the relationship between companies and their suppliers. Example: the transportation of commercial products between the factory and distribution centers of the brand and retailer.

Definitions of Transportation Modes

  • Airfreight – the carriage of goods by aircraft.
  • Rail – the carriage of goods by the use of railroads and trains.
  • Road – the carriage of goods by the use of roads through motorized and non-motorized carriages and trucks.
  • Sea – the carriage of goods by sea, consolidated in containers on ships.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, over 75% of the inbound product transportation has been documented.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, 25% to 75% of the inbound product transportation has been documented.
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, less than 25% of the inbound product transportation has been documented.

Helpful Resource

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Relevant documentation or IT system that captures your total inbound product transportation flows, either by weight or by volume, in the previous calendar year.  Documentation that can be used includes: invoices, online monitoring system provided by transportation vendors, or your own internal documentation through Excel or other systems. 
  • Description of the process used by your company to document inbound transportation flows. 
  • Explanation of the relevant staff resources and their roles and responsibilities as part of the aforementioned process.

Please select the percentages of outbound transportation methods that you have documented:

  • Air Freight – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown
  • Rail – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown
  • Road – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown
  • Sea – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown

Intent of the question

The guidance of this question is the same as the previous one, with the exception that it is intended to assess whether your company has visibility and control of your outbound transportation flows.

Technical Guidance

Outbound transportation refers to the transport of goods going out of a business, e-commerce included. The outbound side concerns the relationship between companies and their customers. Example: the transportation of commercial products between the distribution centers to the retail store and/or customers.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Relevant documentation or IT system that captures your total outbound product transportation flows, either by weight or by volume, in the previous calendar year.  Documentation that can be used includes: packing lists, invoices, online monitoring system provided by transportation vendors or your own internal documentation through Excel or other systems. 
  • Description of the process used by your company to document outbound transportation flows. 
  • Explanation of the relevant staff resources and their roles and responsibilities as part of the aforementioned process.

8.1 If answered yes or partial yes, please describe

Intent of the question

This question is designed to encourage companies to collaborate with their suppliers and logistics providers, and to choose the most efficient transportation modes for their inbound shipments that reduces GHG emissions.

Technical Guidance

Inbound transportation flows were explained earlier as part of question 6. How to work with your suppliers and transportation partners

Working on the most environmentally efficient form of shipment not only supports the environment in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it also makes sense from an economic (cost) perspective.

When engaging with suppliers

Companies should build and allow for sufficient shipping timelines to ensure that the most environmentally efficient form of shipment (ocean or rail) is being utilized. This can be standardized through shipping/shipment policy, via business agreements, or through a buying calendar.

  • Shipping/shipment policy which specifies important details about how you ship your goods and the transit time associated with it.
  • Buying calendar (a calendar that combines buy dates with shipping dates). This calendar can be used to determine delivery schedules by taking into consideration loading, and pick and pack dates, in order for products to be delivered to stores as per agreed upon delivery schedule.

Note: The Higg BRM has included guidance in the Brand – Social & Labor section around Responsible Purchasing Practices to ensure that brands do not make last minute changes or order cancellations which could cause or contribute to adverse impacts for their supply chain partners. Please refer to the guidance in that section to ensure you are a collaborative partner to suppliers.

When engaging with transportation logistics providers

  • Discuss with them your current and future requirements on incorporating sustainability in the evaluation of your transportation activities and logistics providers.
  • Gain an understanding from your logistics providers on their current and future ambitions when it comes to embedding sustainability into their transportation activities. For example, questions could include: does the company have a sustainability report; to what extent are they using/planning for alternative fuels for their fleets; are they using environmental certification programs: do they participate in CO2 compensation schemes; or are they taking part in an industry initiative that helps measure and reduce GHG emissions in the transportation sector?
  • Support or invest in logistics providers (either with your time or financially) towards their development and implementation of action plans to improve the environmental sustainability of their transportation activities.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company has collaborated with your suppliers and/or logistics providers on the implementation of action plans (for using the most efficient and environmentally friendly shipment methods).
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, you can demonstrate that your suppliers and/or logistics providers have provided information to your company on how they have measured their environmental impact (GHG emissions) and subsequently have been able to reduce their GHG emissions through reduction plans and/or compensation for the co2 emissions.

Helpful Resources

  • We highly recommend the free resources from two organizations that support companies in transitioning towards sustainable freight procurement:
  • Companies that have developed online platforms/technology to help companies consolidate and optimize global freight shipments are: Flexport, Echo Global Logistics, Crane Worldwide Logistics. Kindly note that this is not an endorsement of these companies and is only intended to point companies to resources they can research further. The Higg BRM will be updating guidance on an annual basis based on user feedback.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

Share any internal or external materials (e.g., shipping/shipment policy, terms and conditions, buying calendar), that could demonstrate that you or your transportation partner(s) have reduced GHG emissions associated with the inbound shipments. 

9.1 If answered yes, please describe

Intent of the question

This question is designed to encourage companies to collaborate with their distribution centers and logistics providers, and to choose the most efficient transportation modes for their outbound shipments to reduce GHG emissions.

Technical Guidance

When engaging with your distribution centers (DCs)

  • Ensure that your owned or contracted DC’s are informed of your sustainability ambitions or strategy on outbound product transportation and how this relates to shipment policies.
  • Ask about the current setup of the DCs to understand level of their optimization concerning GHG emissions reduction.
  • Gain an understanding from the DCs of how they could support the optimizing and/or lowering of environmental impact on outbound shipments from the DCs.

When engaging with logistics providers

Please review the guidance of the previous question.

Helpful Resources

  • Online platforms such as Qui Cargo and Transfix are working towards better utilization of empty trucks and minimizing wasted miles. Kindly note that this is not an endorsement for these companies but is intended to point companies to resources they can research further. The Higg BRM will be updating guidance on an annual basis based on user feedback.
  • Future Proof Your Reverse Logistics (related to the reuse/returns of products and materials)

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Share any internal or external materials (e.g., shipping/shipment policy, terms and conditions, buying calendar), that could demonstrate that you or your transportation partner(s) have reduced GHG emissions associated with the outbound shipments. 

10.1 Please select all practices included in your integrated scorecard:

  • Equipment utilization
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Low emission or renewable fuel sources
  • Modal efficiency
  • Network optimization
  • Training program for drivers
  • None of the above
  • Other (If other, please describe)

Intent of the question

This question is designed to identify whether your company has integrated a mechanism (scorecard) when selecting and evaluating logistics providers, which is based on a number of criteria that include sustainability elements. An integrated scorecard is important because there are a number of different factors in the decision- making, and formalizing this process will allow organizations to support employees to make consistent decisions which include the sustainability aspirations of the company whilst acknowledging and addressing trade-offs between criteria.

Technical Guidance

When answering yes to this question, your company’s integrated scorecard should meet the following requirements:

  • Scorecard puts your company’s commitments into action by making environmental criteria part of the decision-making process.
  • Includes relevant environmental criteria and can be used in regular departmental meetings, sourcing decisions and supplier selection, and products, materials, and packaging decisions.
  • Includes environmental criteria as well as the traditional purchasing criteria of cost, performance, delivery, and quality.
  • Scorecard is included in internal discussions and used when choosing new logistics providers and evaluating existing logistics providers. The integrated scorecard should be updated regularly and included in all internal discussions and decision-making. It should also be included in check-ins and meetings with logistics providers in order to ensure progress is being made over time.

When developing the scorecard, it is important to consider the following:

  • The criteria and elements included within the scorecard.
  • The use of the scorecard in meetings and business decisions.
  • The weighting, if any, for each criteria.
  • How tradeoffs are addressed and whether there are any minimum thresholds applied to criteria.
  • The departments and people responsible and accountable.

Practices explained

  • Options of equipment utilization include empty container inventory management to minimize vehicle miles, back-hauling to minimize empty miles, consolidation of shipments & load maximization, transloading to minimize loads moved, etc.
  • Fuel efficiency – Also known as “fuel economy,” fuel efficiency is a measure how far a vehicle can travel per unit of fuel. Fuel-efficient freight carriages use less oil and thereby emit less pollution.
  • Low emission or renewable fuel sources – Fuel sources that are emitting low carbon emissions or are from renewable sources (hydropower, geothermal, wind and solar) are cleaner sources of energy and low-carbon alternatives to fossil fuels (coal, crude oil, natural gas). A successful transition to a low-carbon economy will require low-carbon alternatives (such as hydropower, geothermal, wind, and solar) and close coordination between policy, technology, and capital through public and private sector partnership.
  • Options for modal efficiency include increased utilization of fuel-efficient modes (rail, sea, intermodal), limited/no use of air freight, modified scheduling to enable optimal loading of fuel-efficient modes of transportation, etc.
  • Network optimization options include optimum warehouse location, optimum store location, use of transportation management software, optimum route planning to reduce miles, optimum reverse logistics, critical density, etc.
  • Training Program for Drivers options include training responsible staff/drivers and departments through in-person or online training modules covering vehicle specifying, maintenance, operations, driving techniques and other factors that affect fuel consumption.
  • Other practices including, but not limited to, innovation opportunities, having a holistic sustainability strategy developed/deployed, setting sustainability KPIs/targets.

Helpful Resources

Sea Freight specific

  • Clean Cargo Working Group – How to calculate and manage co2 emissions
  • Clean Cargo Working Group – 2019 Clean Cargo Emissions Factors Report Published
  • The Environmental Ship Index (ESI) identifies seagoing ships that perform better in reducing air emissions than required by the current emission standards of the International Maritime Organization.

Recommendations when selecting and evaluating logistics providers:

  • Choose partners based on their efficiency measure: Some efficiency measures through environmental management systems that can be considered for carrier selection are: how the vendor manages its GHG emissions; if the vendor has an ISO 14001, ISO 50001, European Eco-Management and Audit Scheme, or similar third-party certified environmental management systems; if the carrier belongs to a transport efficiency program, such as EPA SmartWay or the BSR Clean Cargo Working Group.

  • Engagement with partners on increasing the efficiencies of their fleets or availability of sustainable transportation modes: The aim of this practice is for companies to engage with their carriers to implement efficiencies measures and promote more sustainable modes of transport. For example, evaluating type of transport (e.g., sea vs. road), type of vehicles, option of co-loading, etc.

  • Work with logistics providers to reduce emissions/pollution from transportation: The aim of this practice is for companies to work together with their logistics providers to reduce transport emissions.

Some examples include: require logistics providers to provide GHG emission reports; award and recognize high performing logistics providers with respect to GHG emissions performance; keep track of strategies implemented by logistics providers to reduce emissions; help vendors to develop and implement reduction strategies for fuel emissions, scrubbers, etc.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Evidence of an integrated scorecard for transportation vendors.
  • Internal communication with relevant staff and/or teams (e.g., sustainability, production, merchandising, sourcing, and logistics). 
  • Any relevant material that can demonstrate that both business and sustainability criteria are included in the selection and evaluation of transportation vendors.

11.1 If answered yes or partial yes, which modes of transportation are using them?

  • Air Freight – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown
  • Rail – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown
  • Road – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown
  • Sea – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown

What is the intent of the question?

If we continue under a business-as-usual scenario, the Smart Freight Centre estimates that carbon emissions from transport operations will double by 2050. This question intends to encourage companies to start transitioning to low or no carbon fuels for their inbound transportation modes in order to mitigate long-term environmental risks.

Technical Guidance

The transition to low or no carbon fuels transport relies heavily on the improvements that can be made on engine, vehicle, and fuel efficiency and the increased use of low carbon fuels.

According to the European Commission in their roadmap towards 2050 low-carbon economy (refer to the helpful resources section below), emissions from transport could be reduced to more than 60% below 1990 levels by 2050. The transportation sector could take the following actions:

  • In the short term, most progress can be found in petrol and diesel engines that could still be made more fuel-efficient.
  • In the mid- to long-term, plug-in hybrid and electric cars will allow for steeper emissions reductions.
  • Biofuels will be increasingly used in aviation and road haulage, as not all heavy goods vehicles will run on electricity in future.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, over 75% of inbound logistics (by weight or volume) has been transitioned to low or no carbon fuels.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, 25% to 75% of inbound logistics (by weight or volume) has been transitioned to low or no carbon fuels.
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, less than 25% of inbound logistics (by weight or volume) has been transitioned to low or no carbon fuels.

How this will be verified

  • Third party verification or certification (e.g., ISCC, LCFS and RSB).
  • Internal or external materials (e.g., invoices) that explain how the portion, by weight or volume, of no to low carbon fuel has been calculated.

Helpful Resources

Examples of third-party certification schemes

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Third party verification or certification (e.g., ISCC, LCFS and RSB). 
  • Internal or external materials (e.g., invoices) that explain how the portion, by weight or volume, of no to low carbon fuel has been calculated.
  • Air Freight – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown
  • Rail – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown
  • Road – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown
  • Sea – Yes (>75%), Partial Yes (25-75%), No (<25%), Unknown

Guidance

The guidance for this question is exactly the same as the previous question but from the perspective of outbound logistics.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Third party verification or certification (e.g., ISCC, LCFS and RSB). 
  • Internal or external materials (e.g., invoices) that explain how the portion, by weight or volume, of no to low carbon fuel has been calculated.

13.1 Please describe and provide the relevant URLs:

13.2 Which programs/initiatives have been used to report on emissions associated with inbound/outbound logistics?

  • BSR Clean Cargo Working Group
  • Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP)
  • WRI GHG Protocol
  • Other (If other, please describe)

13.3 Which methodology was used to calculate logistics emissions?

  • GLEC Framework (carries the built on GHG Protocol mark)
  • GHG Protocol
  • EN 16258
  • Other (If other, please describe)

Intent of the question

This question is intended to confirm that companies are reporting on their company’s greenhouse gas emissions, and impacts associated with inbound and outbound logistics, on an annual basis. In doing so, companies are not only transparent and held accountable for their environmental performance (associated with product transportation), but they also demonstrate their commitment to take action and improve on the reported emissions year over year.

Technical Guidance

Introduction on Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Greenhouse gases refer to the sum of seven gases that have direct effects on climate change: carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), perfluorocarbons (PFCs), sulphur hexafluoride (SF6) and nitrogen trifluoride (NF3). The data are expressed in CO2 equivalents and refer to gross direct emissions from human activities. CO2 refers to gross direct emissions from fuel combustion only and data are provided by the International Energy Agency.

Other air emissions include emissions of sulphur oxides (SOx) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) given as quantities of SO2 and NO2, emissions of carbon monoxide (CO), and emissions of volatile organic compounds (VOC), excluding methane. CO2, is measured in million tonnes and tonnes per capita.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions in relation to product transportation

The majority of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions of transportation activities are from carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. Relatively small amounts of methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O) are emitted during fuel combustion. In addition, a small amount of hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) emissions are included in the Transportation sector. These emissions result from the use of mobile air conditioners and refrigerated transport. CO2 emissions units for product transportation are calculated in kg or tonnes. More information can be found here.

Scope – this question covers the following scope:

  • Scope 1: All direct Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions from owned and leased vehicles/fleet.
  • Scope 2: indirect emissions from the production and distribution of electricity, heat and steam purchased by the reporting company for use in its own logistics sites, electric vehicles or other owned asset requiring electricity.
  • Scope 3: Other indirect emissions related to transport-related activities in vehicles not owned or controlled by the company. Source: http://www.ghgprotocol.org/calculationg-tools-faq

Recommendations of the GLEC Framework 2.0:

In alignment with the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, there is no hard and fast rule for excluding emissions from Scope 1, 2 and 3 activities.9 Disclosures of emissions should reflect the ‘substance and economic reality’ of the reporting company and provide sufficient data to enable decision-making on the part of the company, its customers and its stakeholders.

The Greenhouse Gas Protocol states that the reporting company should not set an arbitrary threshold for excluding emissions based on the difficulty of finding information or perceived scale of the impact. Instead, companies should make a good faith effort to account for emissions, and document where emissions have not been estimated or estimated at an insufficient level of quality.

Companies often face the most difficulty accounting for Scope 3 emissions. The Greenhouse Gas Protocol offers the Scope 3 Evaluator to reduce the reporting burden.

Formats of communication can be through:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or sustainability reports
  • Annual reviews or financial reports
  • Online web pages and news stories
  • Other communication material

More information

The programs/initiatives listed in the question:

The methodology listed in the question:

Answer options

To answer ‘yes’ to this question, you must have proof of:

  • Publicly communicating and disclosing your GHG emissions and/or impacts associated with your product transportation.
  • Sharing progress and/or challenges to improve the environmental performance associated with your product transportation operations.

Helpful Resources

Other resources

  • Greenhouse Gas Protocol – FAQs
  • OECD – Air and GHG emissions data – Through this webpage, companies can assess air pollution and GHG emissions data per country. The data has been derived from the International Energy Agency (IEA) to support the understanding of energy related environmental issues; the IEA’s CO2 Emissions from Fuel Combustion provides a full analysis of emissions stemming from energy use.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Provide relevant links/URLs of this communication. 
  • Publicly available documents such as corporate social sustainability reports, press releases. 
  • Copy of, or link to, the report describing the company’s product transportation impacts and GHG emissions.
  • Customers are able to consolidate orders
  • Customers are incentivized to use lower impact delivery options (e.g., ground instead of air)
  • Other (If other, please describe)

Intent of the question

The ease of online retailing has created a booming e-commerce business that totalled $3.46 trillion in 2019. E- commerce makes it easier for customers to order goods from all over the world and to have them delivered to their doorstep. The proliferation of high-speed delivery is not without environmental impact. This question intends to drive companies to educate and encourage end-consumers to choose an environmentally friendly (slower) shipping option with their order(s).

Technical Guidance

  • Customers are able to consolidate orders: Consolidation is the process of combining multiple orders into a single reference number or delivery so that all packages are shipped together in order to reduce shipping impacts.
  • Customers are incentivized to produce lower impact delivery options: Encourage customers to collect product at its own stores (if applicable). By doing so, companies can consolidate the products for e- commerce with the product inventory to be sold in brick-and-mortar stores. By doing so, retailers are reducing the number of shipments needed as well as improving packing density per shipment.
  • Other practices including, but not limited to:
    • Opting for green shipping or electric vehicle solutions from transportation vendors.
    • Directing customers to in-store or designated pickup points.

Answer Options

  • If you answered yes to this question, your company can demonstrate that customers are incentivized to choose the most environmentally friendly/lower impact delivery options. For example; collection from stores or designated pick-up points, ability to consolidate orders, delivery through electric vehicles, etc.

  • If you answered partial yes to this question, your company has taken actions to educate and raise awareness with your customers on the environmental impact of product transportation and how they can contribute to lowering that impact.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Shipping terms, policies, or systems that are in place to incentivize customers to choose the most environmentally friendly product transportation. 

15.1 Please describe with whom and how your company engages

Intent of the question

Participation and investment in collaboration with other stakeholders is critical for addressing shared, systemic challenges and working on the root cause of those challenges to drive real change. In particular, building collaborations with locally relevant actors can be crucial for building up long-term solutions to challenges. This question is intended to encourage companies to go beyond their own organization through wider industry collaboration to transition towards a clean energy economy.

Technical Guidance

We recognize that the majority of companies do not own the fleets that are used for their product transportation. They do however have the opportunity and responsibility to participate in activities with other industry stakeholders to address how they can improve the accessibility and availability of environmental fleets.

The fleets referenced in this question relates to the transportation services you contract from third party logistic providers.

Examples of these initiatives could be:

Answer Options

  • If you answered yes to this question, you should be able to provide evidence of at least two of the materials referenced in the “How this will be verified” section.
  • If you answered partial yes to this question, you can demonstrate that your transportation partners are actively participating in or investing in industry initiatives to improve the environmental conditions of their fleets.

Helpful Resource

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • A signed partnership or collaboration agreement with the relevant stakeholder(s).
  • Evidence of active participation and engagement in shared platforms, including multi-stakeholder events.
  • Evidence of direct engagement with community groups – for example consultation through a credible 3rd party or in direct and relevant response to an ask by community groups. 
  • Outcome of the collaboration with other stakeholders to improve the environmental performance of your transportation fleets/vendors.
  • Provide relevant URLs or links to your participation in or contribution to these initiatives.
  • Commitment or pledge to the initiative which can be found on the initiative’s website/annual report. 
  • Records of outcome/feedback from stakeholder consultation/engagement.

Distribution Centers

16.1 What is included in this 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 distribution center 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 distribution centers.

Other stages of distribution center operations – The stages of distribution center 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, >75% of your distribution centers are enrolled in your company’s environmental program
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, 25-75% of the distribution centers are enrolled in your company’s environmental program
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, less than 25% of the distribution centers are enrolled in your company’s environmental program

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • In order to consider an distribution center included in the program, your company must have documentation (policies, strategies, contracts or action plans) in place wherein the distribution center is specially addressed, and described how it is being supported as part of the environmental performance program.
  • The program should include an explanation on whether the stages of distribution center design, construction, remodel/retrofit and closing are included in the program. 
  • Internal or external materials related to the environmental performance program laying out the approach to improving the environmental performance of distribution center including at least the following information:
  • The description of the policies, goals and targets that have been approved by your company’s executive team and/or board that commits resources to the program. 
  • Policies should specify minimum requirements and best practices that go above and beyond applicable regulations. 
  • Targets should be linked to environmental impacts.
  • The environmental resources (Energy, Water, Waste etc) that were identified as priorities for the company and which distribution center will be engaged or included. 
  • How the program will be implemented including the staff resources and financial investment needed 
  • Requirements that are captured in contracts with the construction companies in which is described how construction or refurbishment of distribution center should meet the goals of the environmental program 
  • Team/department responsibilities 
  • Internal or external (third party) best practices, tools or expertise that will be leveraged to help implement these approaches. 
  • Public disclosure including a description of your impact, effectiveness of managing impacts, and details pertaining to your program.

Many companies do not directly own or operate their distribution centers, but work with third party logistics providers. In those situations, these questions still apply as the program can focus on partnering with these providers to meet environmental goals. It’s important to note that while you may not directly control the environmental outcomes in a distribution center owned by the third party provider, your company can still attempt to work with them towards environmental improvements.

Answer options

  • If answered ‘yes’ to this question, your company has implemented water and energy efficiency practices to reduce resource consumption in distribution centers.
  • If answered ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has implemented efficiency practices in one key-impact area (water or energy).
  • If answered ‘no’ to this question, your company has not implemented any efficiency practices in your distribution centers.

17.1 Have practices been implemented to reduce energy consumption in distribution centers? Answer options: Yes/Partial Yes/No

Energy

17.1.1 What practices have been implemented to reduce energy consumption?

  • Central Climate System to monitor and manage energy consumption
  • Energy efficient lighting (LEDs, etc.)
  • Energy efficient HVAC systems
  • Monitoring energy consumption systems through sub-metering
  • Variable Frequency Drives (VFDs) on all motors
  • Motion sensors, daylight sensors or programmed sensors
  • Electronically-regulated air curtains help to prevent the entry of cooler or hotter air from outside
  • Energy efficient refrigeration systems
  • Low and zero carbon technologies that improve the assessed buildings energy performance
  • Generating renewable energy
  • Purchasing renewable energy
  • Other (If other, please describe)

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 > 75% of your distribution centers
  • If answered ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has implemented energy efficiency practices or program in 25-75% of your distribution centers.
  • 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 distribution centers.

Helpful Resources

Water

17.2 Have practices been implemented to reduce water consumption in distribution centers? Answer options: Yes/Partial Yes/No

The following questions ask specifically about water 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 distribution centers. By guiding 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.

17.2.1 What practices have been implemented to reduce water consumption?

  • Low water use fixtures (e.g. low flow, sensors) and toilets (high efficient, dual-flush, waterless urinals, etc.)
  • On-site wastewater treatment system to enable the recycling of water
  • Leak detection system that is capable of detecting a major water leak on the mains water supply within the site boundary
  • Drip feed surface irrigation that incorporates soil moisture sensors
  • Reclaimed water from rainwater or greywater systems
  • External landscaping and planting that relies solely on precipitation during all season of the year
  • Other (If other, please describe)

Intent of the question

This question is intended to encourage companies to implement best practices to achieve water efficiency.

Water efficiency is a multi-faceted concept. It means “doing more and better with less”, by reducing the resource consumption and reducing the pollution and environmental impact of water use at every stage of the value chain. Without efficiency gains, global demand for water will outstrip currently accessible supplies by 40 per cent by 2030 (2030 Water Resources Group, 2009).

Technical Guidance

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

Other impacts

17.3. Have practices been implemented to reduce or improve other impacts in distribution centers? Answer options: Yes/Partial Yes/No

17.3.1 Please describe

Technical Guidance

These other impacts could be related to waste and/or material consumption.

Answer options

  • If answered ‘yes’ to this question, your company has implemented resource efficiency programs or practices (other than energy and water) in more than 75% of your distribution centers.
  • If answered ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has implemented resource efficiency programs or practices (other than energy and water) in 25-75% of your distribution centers.
  • If answered ‘no’ to this question, your company did not implement any resource efficiency practices OR implemented resource efficiency practices (other than energy and water) in less than 25% of your distribution centers.

Helpful Resource

How this will be verified

Documentation required

Energy

  • A copy of the implementation of resource efficiency practices or program.
  • An explanation of why these energy efficiency practices were chosen.
  • The process of engaging and training the office personnel / staff in the implementation.
  • Evidence that the implementation has resulted in energy efficiency in the distribution center(s).

Water

  • A copy of the implementation of resource efficiency practices or program.
  • An explanation of why these water efficiency practices were chosen.
  • The process of engaging and training the office personnel / staff in the implementation.
  • Evidence that the implementation has resulted in water efficiency in the distribution center(s).

18.1 Please describe or upload the action plan:

Intent of this question

This question enables companies to elaborate on the actions they have taken to achieve the environmental goals of distribution center operations.

Technical Guidance

An action plan provides a framework wherein environmental goals can be effectively managed by the individuals/team tasked with this responsibility. The plan helps to break larger tasks into smaller parts over a given time period, which makes it easier to execute and manage.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, >75% of your distribution centers are enrolled in your company’s action plan.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, 25-75% of your distribution centers are enrolled in your company’s action plan.
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, you do not have an action plan and less than 25% of your distribution centers are enrolled in your company’s action plan.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

A copy of your action plan which should include the following: 

  • A description of the goals and targets that has been approved by your company’s executive team and/or board that commits resources to the program.  
  • The environmental resources (Energy, Water, Waste etc) that were identified as priorities for the company and which distribution centers will be engaged or included. 
  • In order to consider a distribution center included in the action plan, your company must have documentation in place wherein the distribution center is specially addressed and described how it is being supported as part of the action plan. 
  • How the plan will be implemented including the staff resources and financial investment needed. 
  • Internal or external (third party) best practices, tools or expertise that will be leveraged to help implement the actions.

19.1 Describe the improvements made over the last calendar year.

Intent of this question

This question intends to determine whether the company’s actions has resulted in the improvement of distribution centers environmental performance.

Technical Guidance

Please describe the successes achieved in the last calendar year which have resulted in environmental improvements of your company’s distribution centers operations.

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

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Company’s analysis, summary or report listing the improvements made and the supporting evidence (e.g. objective data or records or through third party verifier)  
  • Evidence of efficiency improvements that demonstrate that reductions weren’t made solely from a decline in sales, or number of employees
  • Description of the process to continuously track and manage store resource consumption as part of the company’s environmental action plan.

20.1 Which certifications apply?

  • LEED
  • BREEAM
  • Other

What is the intent of the question?

This question is intended to encourage companies to use third-party, multi-attribute, certification program, to integrate sustainability in building(s) they operate.

Technical Guidance

The phases of design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings requires significant amount of energy, water and raw materials. Third-party certification programs support a systemic approach to integrate environmental performance management and resource efficiency to the buildings your distribution centers operate from.

LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and BREEAM® are examples of third-party verification for international green buildings certifications.

Instead of international green building certificates, many organizations may also follow internal standards or programs. If these standards are as aspirational as international certificates, their programs can be included in the answer of this question.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, >75% of your distribution centers have been certified to a multi-attribute certification program.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, 25-75% of your distribution centers have been certified to a multi- attribute certification program.
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, less than 25% of your distribution centers have been certified to a multi-attribute certification program.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • A copy of the third-party certification
  • Documentation that describes the percentage of offices that have been certified and how they were selected.

21.1 Please describe and provide the relevant URLs

Intent of the question

Public communication on the progress of environmental performance associated with the distribution centers operations can be a useful way to transparently share approaches with internal and external stakeholders. This not only drives accountability within the organization but also facilitate in knowledge sharing between the company and its important stakeholders.

Technical Guidance

Formats for communication can be through:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or sustainability reports
  • Annual reviews or financial reports
  • Online web pages and news stories
  • Other communication material

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company is able to share the publicly available information on the environmental performance associated with distribution centers operations.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, this information has been shared through your company’s intranet and can be provided upon request.
  • To answer ‘no’ your company does not have this information.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Publicly available links and/or pages  
  • Information on how frequently progress is being communicated publicly.

Social & Labor

Employees are a company’s most valuable asset; they champion your business and determine the success or failure of it. It is important for you to treat your employees with the value they contribute, as the work they do determines your company’s success with customers and partners.

In this section we will be focusing on the working conditions for employees across your offices, transportation and distribution center operations.

Scope of this section

The Operations & Logistics section is intended to outline the best social & labor practices companies can adopt in the operations of their offices, transportation and distribution centers.

We recognize that many companies contract the services associated with transportation and distribution centers through third-party logistics providers.

Questions in this section still apply as the program can focus on partnering with these providers to ensure social/human rights goals are met for their workforce. While you may not directly control the outcomes, your company can still attempt to work with these third-party logistics providers towards social & labor improvements through sustainable procurement.

Data Collection

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

Offices

1.1 If no, please describe your plan to implement these practices

Intent of this question

This question is intended to understand if your company’s internal social/human rights and labor workplace standard (as described in the Management System section, question 9) has been implemented across your corporate office operations. Full implementation across corporate offices ensures organizational labor workplace standards are consistently applied.

Technical Guidance

Please refer to the answer provided in the Management System section, question 9.

Internal social & labor workplace standards are tools that provide a consistent set of rules to manage working conditions, workplace behavior, and contributions the company expects from their employees. Work rules protect your business and workers, while creating and maintaining a better work environment for all.

Examples of how companies implement social and labor workplace standards include:

  • Employee Code of Conduct – Outlines a company’s expectations regarding employees behavior towards their colleagues, supervisors and overall organization.
  • Employee Handbook – An employee handbook applies to all employees and can be considered as an addition to their employment contracts. It outlines key information of a company’s culture, policies and procedures. Employers also use the policies in an employee handbook to provide the roadmap to ethical and legal treatment of employees.
  • Internal Code of Ethics and Business Conduct – Outlines a company’s set of rules or standards regarding organizational values, responsibilities and ethical obligations. The code of conduct provides employees with guidance for handling difficult ethical situations related to the business.

Answer options

  • If answered ‘yes’ to this question, your company has implemented internal social/human rights and labor workplace standards in over 75% of your corporate offices.
  • If answered ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has implemented internal social/human rights and labor workplace standards across 25-75% of your corporate offices.
  • If answered ‘no’ to this question, your company has implemented internal social/human rights and labor workplace standards in less than 25% of your corporate offices.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Documents related to the internal social/human rights & labor workplace standard(s) for corporate offices.
  • Documentation that describes the percentage of corporate offices that have been included and how they were selected.

Interview questions to ask

  • Management responsible for office operations can clearly articulate the roles and responsibilities of those responsible for coordinating activities around monitoring and advancing internal social/human rights & labor workplace standards.
  • Key employee(s) responsible for coordinating internal management activities can demonstrate that they understand and are able to explain their roles.

2.1 Select all that apply:

  • 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

Intent of the question

Integration of social/human rights in the office operations may be a complex process that involves several organizational levels in different parts of the world. This question intends to ensure that social/human rights compliance terms are captured in procurement / business contracts with contractors and/or vendors.

Technical Guidance

It is important for companies to align human rights policies with contractual mechanisms to ensure contractors and/or vendors are in compliance of local labor laws. A company may provide social/human rights training to strengthen this awareness amongst business partners.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • A copy of the procurement or business contract for building contractors and/or vendors of office operations that include social/human rights compliance terms 
  • Description of the process to ensure that contractors and vendors are in compliance of social/human rights terms and how often monitoring is conducted.

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 your office operations (including any contracted employment or labor agencies).

Technical Guidance

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

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 offices.

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 office operations.

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

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

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Description of the labor violations
  • Where a citation for non-compliance exists, the company can demonstrate that it has rectified the non-compliance (e.g. corrective action plan).

4.1. Please upload a copy of the action plan

Intent of the question

This question enables companies to elaborate on the actions they have taken to achieve the social/human rights goals of office operations.

Technical Guidance

An action plan provides a framework wherein social/human rights goals can be effectively managed by the individuals/team tasked with this responsibility. The plan helps to break larger tasks into smaller parts over a given time period, which makes it easier to execute and manage.

Companies can take a variety of actions to improve the promotion and protection of social/human rights performance of its corporate offices. As a company develops its plan, it should consider the number of its offices and office employees, as well as the risks identified (e.g. geographic-specific) to help the company determine how to improve working conditions for office employees.

Companies are strongly encouraged to partner with their employees and other subject matter experts to develop action plans and/or related capacity building efforts prior to implementation to avoid unintended negative impacts, as well as get employee buy-in for greater employee engagement.

Answer options

  • In order to answer “yes” to this question, the company can provide the action plan and can demonstrate that the actions taken have resulted in improved working conditions for office employees.
  • In order to answer “partial yes” to this question, the company does not have a formal action plan but can demonstrate that actions were taken and resulted in improved conditions for office employees.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

To answer this question, please ensure you have one or more of the following evidence: 

  • A copy of the action plan with a description of the goals and targets that has been approved by your company’s executive team and/or board that commits resources to the program.  
  • Documentation of processes/internal guidelines/interviews that demonstrate how action plans are defined with employees OR how support and guidance is given to employees. 
  • Demonstrations of training materials/tools or documentation/minutes of training given to employees through eLearning modules, in-person workshops or one-to-one engagements. 
  • The results/outcome of the company’s actions or action plan and how it has supported the employees in improving their working conditions.

5.1. Describe the improvements made over the last calendar year:

Intent of this question

This question intends to determine whether the company’s actions has resulted in the improvement of working conditions for office employees.

Technical Guidance

Please describe the successes achieved in the last calendar year which have resulted in social/human rights improvements for your office employees.

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

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Company’s analysis, summary or report listing the improvements made and the supporting evidence (e.g. objective data or records or through third party verifier)  
  • Evidence of improvements that demonstrate that improvements weren’t made solely from a decline in sales, or number of employees
  • Description of the process to continuously track and manage improvements as part of the company’s social/human rights action plan for offices.

6.1. Who do you engage with:

  • Local communities
  • Local governments
  • Local NGOs
  • International NGOs
  • Tri-party agreement (multi stakeholder initiative)
  • Labor unions
  • Other company or companies that have the same business partners
  • Building owners, landlords, or third-party logistics providers of distribution centers

6.2 Please describe your joint initiatives and/or list the relevant URLs:

What is the intent of the question?

This question is intended to assess how your company participates in and/or invests in activities with other stakeholders to improve working conditions and contribute to a larger shift in the industry. SMEs are encouraged to take part in multi stakeholder initiatives that drive collective impact to bring programs to scale.

Technical Guidance

In order to answer ‘yes’ your company has participated or invested in activities with at least one of the stakeholders listed within the question.

Activities to improve working conditions for employees can include a variety of activities such as employee empowerment / engagement, investing in worker wellbeing campaigns, implementing new procedures and policies to enhance scheduling and employee incentives.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

When answered ‘yes’ to this question, you should be able to provide at least two of the following: 

  • A signed partnership or collaboration agreement with the relevant stakeholder(s).
  • Evidence of participation and engagement in shared platforms, including multi-stakeholder events.
  • Evidence of direct engagement with community groups – for example consultation through a credible 3rd party or in direct and relevant response to an ask by community groups.
  • Provide relevant URLs or links to your participation or contribution to the joint initiative(s).
  • Records of outcome / feedback from stakeholder consultation/engagement.

Intent of this question

This question intends to confirm if the company offers career advancement opportunities to office employees to further develop their careers and skillset.

Technical Guidance

Many companies have management training programs and specific career paths intended to encourage career advancement for employees working within its operations. Some companies may not have formal programs or career paths for career advancement. However, they do promote from within when employees meet the necessary job qualifications for advancement opportunities.

Regardless of whether career advancement is done through formal or informal channels, it is a great opportunity for companies to identify and build talent within its operations who have frontline experience, while retaining top performers.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, it means your company promotes office employees internally through either formal career advancement programs.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, it means your company promotes office employees internally through informal career advancement programs.
  • When answering “no” to this question, this means your company does not promote office employees internally through either formal or informal career advancement programs.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • If you answered ‘yes’ or ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company should provide the following:
  • A description of your company’s formal and informal career advancement program(s).
  • The number of office employees who were promoted during your company’s last fiscal year. This should also include the number of employees promoted to supervisor roles and from hourly to management positions.

Intent of this question

This question intends to confirm that healthcare benefits are provided to office employees.

Technical Guidance

All companies are expected to comply with local law and provide all legally required healthcare benefits to its office employees.

It is considered a leading practice when companies offer additional healthcare benefits beyond legal requirements, to retain and attract employees, as part of creating a more competitive benefits package. Company benefits packages may differ based on geography due to legal requirements and market expectations. It is recommended that your company consult with legal counsel(s) in the different geographies you operate in, to identify all required benefits to ensure compliance with local law.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company provides additional healthcare benefits beyond legal requirements.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has one of the following:
    • Provides at minimum all legally required healthcare benefits to office employees
    • Company does not provide these benefits as it is provided by local law
  • When answering “no” to this question, your company does not ensure health care benefits are provided to office employees and neither is it provided through local law.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

If you answered ‘yes’ or ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company should provide the following:

  • Company’s employee policy/manual and the description of providing legally required health care benefits to employees. 
  • Identify the individual(s) responsible for ensuring all office employees within your full operations receive legally required and/or additional (beyond legally required) health care benefits. 
  • A summary of the process to ensure provided health care benefits comply with local law in the different geographies your company operates.
  • Optional: A description of additional health care benefits offered beyond legal requirements by geography.

Intent of this question

This question intends to confirm that retirement benefits are provided to office employees.

Technical Guidance

All companies are expected to comply with local law and provide all legally required retirement benefits to their office employees.

It is considered a leading practice when companies offer additional retirement benefits beyond legal requirements to retain and attract employees as part of creating a more competitive benefits package. Company benefits packages may differ based on geography due to legal requirements and market expectations. It is recommended that your company consult with legal counsel(s) in the different geographies you operate in to identify all required benefits to ensure compliance with local law.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company provides additional retirement benefits beyond legal requirements.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has one of the following:
    • Provides at minimum all legally required retirement benefits to office employees
    • Company does not provide these benefits as it is provided by local law
  • When answering “no” to this question, your company does not ensure retirement benefits are provided to office employees and neither is it provided through local law.

Helpful Resource

We recommend reviewing the helpful resources of the previous question.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

If you answered ‘yes’ or ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company should provide the following:

  • Company’s employee policy/manual and the description of providing legally required retirement benefits to employees. 
  • Identify the individual(s) responsible for ensuring all office employees within your full operations receive legally required and/or additional (beyond legally required) retirement benefits. 
  • A summary of the process to ensure provided retirement benefits comply with local law in the different geographies your company operates.
  • Optional: A description of additional retirement benefits offered beyond legal requirements by geography.

10.1 Please describe and provide the relevant URLs:

Intent of the question

Public communication on the progress of social/human rights performance associated with the office operations can be a useful way to transparently share approaches with internal and external stakeholders. This not only drives accountability within the organization but also facilitate in knowledge sharing between the company and its important stakeholders.

Technical Guidance

Formats for communication can be through:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or sustainability reports
  • Annual reviews or financial reports
  • Online web pages and news stories
  • Other communication material

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company is able to share the publicly available information on the social/human rights performance associated with office operations.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, this information has been shared through your company’s intranet and can be provided upon request.
  • To answer ‘no’ your company does not have this information.

Helpful Resources

Examples of public communication

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Publicly available links and/or pages  
  • Information on how frequently progress is being communicated publicly.

Transportation

The scope for this section focuses on the workforce associated with your product transportation operations. Transportation operations will be referenced throughout the questions. The scope of transportation operations include the activities associated with the internal and/or external transportation fleets and third-party logistics providers.

Many companies do not directly own or operate their transportation operations but work with third party logistics providers. In those situations, these questions still apply as the program can focus on partnering with these providers to meet social/human rights goals. It is important to note that while you may not directly control the social/human rights outcomes in transportation operations owned by the third-party provider, your company can still attempt to work with them towards social/human rights improvements.

If no, please describe your plan to implement these practices

 

Intent of this question

This question is intended to understand if your company’s internal social/human rights and labor workplace standard (as described in the Management System section, question 9) has been implemented across your transportation operations. Full implementation across all operations ensures organizational labor workplace standards are consistently applied.

Technical Guidance

Please refer to the answer provided in the Management System section, question 9.

Internal social & labor workplace standards are tools that provide a consistent set of rules to manage working conditions, workplace behavior, and contributions the company expects from their employees. Work rules protect your business and workers, while creating and maintaining a better work environment for all.

Examples of how companies implement social and labor workplace standards include:

  • Employee Code of Conduct – Outlines a company’s expectations regarding employees behavior towards their colleagues, supervisors and overall organization.
  • Employee Handbook – An employee handbook applies to all employees and can be considered as an addition to their employment contracts. It outlines key information of a company’s culture, policies and procedures. Employers also use the policies in an employee handbook to provide the roadmap to ethical and legal treatment of employees.
  • Internal Code of Ethics and Business Conduct – Outlines a company’s set of rules or standards regarding organizational values, responsibilities and ethical obligations. The code of conduct provides employees with guidance for handling difficult ethical situations related to the business.

Answer options

  • If answered ‘yes’ to this question, your company has implemented internal social/human rights and labor workplace standards in over 75% of your transportation operations.
  • If answered ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has implemented internal social/human rights and labor workplace standards across 25-75% of your transportation operations.
  • If answered ‘no’ to this question, your company has implemented internal social/human rights and labor workplace standards in less than 25% of your transportation operations.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Documents related to the internal social/human rights & labor workplace standard(s) for transportation operations.
  • Documentation that describes the percentage of transportation operations that have been included and how they were selected.

Intent of the question

Integration of social/human rights in the transportation operations may be a complex process that involves several organizational levels in different parts of the world. This question intends to ensure that social/human rights compliance terms are captured in procurement / business contracts with logistics providers that your company directly contracts.

Technical Guidance

It is important for companies to align human rights policies with contractual mechanisms to ensure social/human rights compliance of their logistics providers. A company may provide social/human rights training to strengthen this awareness amongst business partners.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • A copy of the procurement or business contract for contractors and/or vendors of transportation services that include social/human rights compliance terms 
  • Description of the process to ensure that contractors and vendors are in compliance of social/human rights terms and how often monitoring is conducted.

13.1. If answered no, describe the violations and what you are doing to support resolving them

Intent of the question

This question intends to confirm that your transportation operations are in compliance with local labor laws.

Technical Guidance

Companies are responsible for ensuring all of their operations are meeting labor rights compliance. Monitoring of this compliance ensures the transportation operations reflect jointly shared values and fulfills the commitment of your organization to the transportation operations employees. 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.

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.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Description of the labor violations
  • Where a citation for non-compliance exists, the company can demonstrate that it has rectified the non-compliance (e.g. corrective action plan).

14.1 If answered yes, please describe the program

Intent of the question

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

How this will be verified

Documentation required

If you answered ‘yes’ to this question, your company should provide the following:

  • A copy of your company’s social/human rights responsibility program. 
  • Explanation of how the program aligns with the social/human rights policy and/or equivalent policy.
  • Identify the individuals within the company responsible for the social/human rights responsibility program.

15.1 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
  • None of the above

Intent of the question

This question intends to confirm that your company is monitoring and ensuring transportation 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 transportation operations (alongside offices 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.

If answered ‘no’ to this question, the company can share:

  • Copy of the government-issued violation record(s)
  • Explain the issue(s) for non-compliance
  • Corrective action plan to address non-compliance

Helpful Resources

  • ITF Global – European Trucking Exploitation of Workers
  • 2017 article on harm inflicted to workers in the trucking sector
  • 2019 Report by UC Berkeley Labor Center. This report flags the risk with truck driver misclassifications. One of the findings from the report highlights “Drivers that meet the legal standard to be classified as employees but are misclassified as independent contractors earn very low wages and must finance expensive vehicles with high interest loans to comply with clean vehicle rules”.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

If answered ‘yes’ to this question the company can share: 

  • Internal/external materials that can explain the company’s monitoring program/system to ensure transportation operations and/or contracted employment/labor agencies are meeting local labor laws.
  • Identify the individual(s) responsible for ensuring all transportation operations comply with local labor laws. 

If answered ‘no’ to this question, the company can share: 

  • Copy of the government-issued violation record(s) 
  • Explain the issue(s) for non-compliance 
  • Corrective action plan to address non-compliance

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 transportation 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 transportation.

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 transportation operations.

Answer Options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company has implemented a process to ensure transportation operations are in compliance with local labor law.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, we are developing a process to ensure transportation operations 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

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Organization chart, which outlines how compliance is being managed at the corporate level and in transportation operations and identify the individual(s) tasked with this responsibility. 
  • A copy of your process and/or procedures that describes how your company is ensuring compliance with local labor law and the remediation efforts when non-compliance has been found.
  • Database, system or a third party that is being used to monitor compliance with local labor laws in the different geographies in which your transportation operations operate.

Optional: When working with third-party labor or employment agencies:

  • Policies and/or procedures used to evaluate labor agencies and brokers compliance with local labour law(s) 
  • Copies of contracts with labor agents if applicable 
  • A copy of the Supplier Code of Conduct as a condition of business as part of contracts
  • Measures that are established by the company to ensure the legal compliance of subcontractors in each jurisdiction in which they operate. 

Interview questions to ask 

  • Staff tasked with the responsibility to ensure local labor law compliance can explain:   
  • their roles and responsibilities 
  • process for monitoring the compliance of local labor law in transportation operations
  • escalation process for when non-compliance has been found
  • which remediation efforts could be implemented when non-compliance has been found
  • database/system/third party company has been using to stay up to date on the changing legal landscape

Many companies do not directly own or operate their transportation fleets, but work with third party logistics providers. In those situations, this question will still apply to you as the program can focus on partnering with these providers to meet social & labor goals.

It’s important to note that while you may not directly control the outcomes, your company can still attempt to work with your business partners towards social & laborl improvements.

Intent of the question

This question is determined to evaluate whether companies are paying their employees (within internal transportation fleets) a living wage and/or works with their third-party logistics providers to ensure living wage is provided to their employees.

A fair living wage is a standard recognized by the International Labor Organization as a basic human right. It is determined as earning enough money to allow a person to support themselves day to day and maintain a small amount of savings. Providing employees with a living wage is not only the right thing to do but in turn will strengthen workers loyalty through increased productivity and quality.

In a study conducted by MIT in which the minimum wage has been compared to the living wage, it was found that in many places in the United States, it would take a worker two-and-a-half to three minimum wage jobs to make ends meet.

Technical Guidance

The Higg BRM aligns with the definition set by Action Collaboration Transformation:

“A living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet the basic needs of himself/herself and his/her family, including some discretionary income. This should be earned during legal working hours (i.e. without overtime).”

It is important to first understand the difference between minimum wage and living wage in the country of operation to calculate the wage gap and work towards closing the gap.

In order to do so companies should first collect information about the salaries by ranking from the lowest to the highest paid salary. As a second step, this should be compared with living wage estimates that are available in the respective country. We have referred to several publicly available resources that you could leverage in the helpful resources. Feel free to also reach out to local organization or experts to support you in establishing the appropriate living wage.

Answer Options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, all employees involved in the transportation operations are paid a living wage.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, some of the employees in the transportation operations have been paid a living wage but not all.
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question no living wage has been provided to employees involved in the transportation operations.

Helpful Resources

Stakeholder and industry initiatives your company could reach out to on the topic of living wage:

Living wage data and estimates:

General Resources:

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Company’s living wage policy and how living wage has been calculated for transportation operations employees.
  • If answered ‘partial yes’ to this question: 
    • an explanation of the percentage of employees with and without living wage payment
    • selection criteria for employees being included (or excluded) in the living wage policy

18.1 Please upload a copy of the action plan

Many companies do not directly own or operate their transportation fleets, but work with third party logistics providers. In those situations, this question will still apply to you as the program can focus on partnering with these providers to meet social & labor goals.

It’s important to note that while you may not directly control the outcomes, your company can still attempt to work with your business partners towards social & laborl improvements.

Intent of the question

This question enables companies to elaborate on the actions they have taken to achieve the social/human rights goals of transportation operations.

Technical Guidance

An action plan provides a framework wherein social/human rights goals can be effectively managed by the individuals/team tasked with this responsibility. The plan helps to break larger tasks into smaller parts over a given time period, which makes it easier to execute and manage.

Companies can take a variety of actions to improve the promotion and protection of social/human rights performance for employees involved in your company’s transportation operations. As a company develops its plan, it should consider the number of transportation operations employees (direct and/or through third party logistics providers), as well as the risks identified (e.g. geographic-specific) to help the company determine how to improve working conditions for these employees.

Companies are strongly encouraged to partner with their employees, third-party logistics providers or other subject matter experts to develop action plans and/or related capacity building efforts prior to implementation to avoid unintended negative impacts, as well as get employee buy-in for greater employee engagement.

Answer options

  • In order to answer “yes” to this question, the company can provide the action plan to this question and can demonstrate that the actions taken have resulted in improved working conditions for employees involved in the transportation operations.
  • In order to answer “partial yes” to this question, the company does not have a formal action plan but can demonstrate that actions were taken and resulted in improved conditions for employees involved in the transportation operations.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

To answer this question, please ensure you have one or more of the following evidence: 

  • A copy of the action plan with a description of the goals and targets that has been approved by your company’s executive team and/or board that commits resources to the program.  
  • Documentation of processes/internal guidelines/interviews that demonstrate how action plans are defined with employees OR how support and guidance is given to employees. 
  • Demonstrations of training materials/tools or documentation/minutes of training given to employees through eLearning modules, in-person workshops or one-to-one engagements. 
  • The results/outcome of the company’s actions or action plan and how it has supported the employees in improving their working conditions.

19.1 Describe the improvements made over the last calendar year:

Intent of this question

This question intends to determine whether the company’s actions has resulted in the improvement of working conditions for employees involved in the transportation operations.

Technical Guidance

Please describe the successes achieved in the last calendar year which have resulted in social/human rights improvements for the employees involved in the transportation operation (direct employees or through third-party logistics providers).

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

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Company’s analysis, summary or report listing the improvements made and the supporting evidence (e.g. objective data or records or through third party verifier)  
  • Evidence of improvements that demonstrate that improvements weren’t made solely from a decline in shipments, or number of employees
  • Description of the process to continuously track and manage improvements as part of the company’s social/human rights action plan for transportation operations.

20.1     Who do you engage with:

  • Local communities
  • Local governments
  • Local NGOs
  • International NGOs
  • Tri-party agreement (multi stakeholder initiative)
  • Labor unions
  • Other company or companies that have the same business partners
  • Building owners, landlords, or third-party logistics providers of distribution centers

20.2     Please describe your joint initiatives and/or list the relevant URLs:

Intent of the question

This question is intended to assess how your company participates in and/or invests in activities with other stakeholders to improve working conditions and contribute to a larger shift in the industry. SMEs are encouraged to take part in multi stakeholder initiatives that drive collective impact to bring programs to scale.

Technical Guidance

In order to answer ‘yes’ your company has participated or invested in activities with at least one of the stakeholders listed within the question.

Activities to improve working conditions for employees can include a variety of activities such as employee empowerment / engagement, investing in worker wellbeing campaigns, implementing new procedures and policies to enhance scheduling and employee incentives.

Helpful Resources

Below are examples of initiatives companies can participate in.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

When answered ‘yes’ to this question, you should be able to provide at least two of the following: 

  • A signed partnership or collaboration agreement with the relevant stakeholder(s).
  • Evidence of participation and engagement in shared platforms, including multi-stakeholder events.
  • Evidence of direct engagement with community groups – for example consultation through a credible 3rd party or in direct and relevant response to an ask by community groups.
  • Provide relevant URLs or links to your participation or contribution to the joint initiative(s).
  • Records of outcome / feedback from stakeholder consultation/engagement.

Intent of this question

This question intends to confirm if the company works with their logistics providers to ensure career advancement opportunities are provided to their employees to further develop their careers and skillset.

Technical Guidance

Many companies have management training programs and specific career paths intended to encourage career advancement for employees working within its operations. Some companies may not have formal programs or career paths for career advancement. However, they do promote from within when employees meet the necessary job qualifications for advancement opportunities.

Regardless of whether career advancement is done through formal or informal channels, it is a great opportunity for companies to identify and build talent within its operations who have frontline experience, while retaining top performers.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company confirms and monitors that logistics providers have provided formal career advancement program to their employees.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has confirmed that logistics providers have discussed career advancement opportunities with their employees through the annual performance review.
  • When answering “no” to this question, this means your company does not confirm nor monitor whether logistics providers provide career advancement opportunities to their employees.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

If you answered ‘yes’ or ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company should provide the following:

  • A description of your company’s formal and informal career advancement program(s).
  • The number of transportation operations employees who were promoted during your company’s last fiscal year. This should also include the number of employees promoted to supervisor roles and from hourly to management positions.

Intent of this question

This question intends to confirm that directly contracted logistics providers have provided healthcare benefits to their employees.

Technical Guidance

All companies are expected to comply with local law and provide all legally required healthcare benefits to its employees.

It is considered a leading practice when companies offer additional healthcare benefits beyond legal requirements, to retain and attract employees, as part of creating a more competitive benefits package. Company benefits packages may differ based on geography due to legal requirements and market expectations. It is recommended that your company consult with legal counsel(s) in the different geographies you operate in, to identify all required benefits to ensure compliance with local law.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company has confirmed that healthcare benefits (beyond legal requirements) have been provided and have implemented an annual monitoring program to ensure continuous adherence thereof by your logistics providers.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has confirmed that all legally required healthcare benefits are provided to logistics providers employees.
  • When answering “no” to this question, your company does not ensure healthcare benefits are provided to your logistics providers employees and neither is it provided through local law.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

If you answered ‘yes’ or ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company should provide the following:

  • Company’s employee policy/manual and the description of providing legally required health care benefits to employees. 
  • Identify the individual(s) responsible for ensuring all transportation operations employees within your full operations receive legally required and/or additional (beyond legally required) health care benefits. 
  • A summary of the process to ensure provided health care benefits comply with local law in the different geographies your company operates.
  • Optional: A description of additional health care benefits offered beyond legal requirements by geography.

Intent of this question

This question intends to confirm that directly contracted logistics providers have provided retirement benefits to their employees.

Technical Guidance

All companies are expected to comply with local law and provide all legally required retirement benefits to their employees.

It is considered a leading practice when companies offer additional retirement benefits beyond legal requirements to retain and attract employees as part of creating a more competitive benefits package. Company benefits packages may differ based on geography due to legal requirements and market expectations. It is recommended that your company consult with legal counsel(s) in the different geographies you operate in to identify all required benefits to ensure compliance with local law.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company has confirmed that retirement benefits (beyond legal requirements) have been provided as well as implementing an annual monitoring program to ensure continuous adherence thereof by your logistics providers.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has confirmed that all legally required retirement benefits are provided to logistics providers employees.
  • When answering “no” to this question, your company does not ensure retirement benefits are provided to your logistics providers employees and neither is it provided through local law.

Helpful Resource

We recommend reviewing the helpful resources of the previous question.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

If you answered ‘yes’ or ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company should provide the following:

  • Company’s employee policy/manual and the description of providing legally required retirement benefits to employees. 
  • Identify the individual(s) responsible for ensuring all transportation operations employees within your full operations receive legally required and/or additional (beyond legally required) retirement benefits. 
  • A summary of the process to ensure provided retirement benefits comply with local law in the different geographies your company operates.
  • Optional: A description of additional retirement benefits offered beyond legal requirements by geography.

24.1 Please describe and provide the relevant URLs:

Intent of the question

Public communication on the progress of social/human rights performance associated with the transportation operations can be a useful way to transparently share approaches with internal and external stakeholders. This not only drives accountability within the organization but also facilitate in knowledge sharing between the company and its important stakeholders.

Technical Guidance

Formats for communication can be through:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or sustainability reports
  • Annual reviews or financial reports
  • Online web pages and news stories
  • Other communication material

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company is able to share the publicly available information on the social/human rights performance associated with transportation operations.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, this information has been shared through your company’s intranet and can be provided upon request.
  • To answer ‘no’ your company does not have this information.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Publicly available links and/or pages   

Information on how frequently progress is being communicated publicly.

Distribution Centers

The scope for this section focuses on the workforce associated with your distribution center(s). Many companies do not directly own or operate their distribution center(s) but work with third party logistics providers. In those situations, these questions still apply as the program can focus on partnering with these providers to meet social/human rights goals. It is important to note that while you may not directly control the social/human rights outcomes in distribution center(s) owned by the third-party provider, your company can still attempt to work them towards social/human rights improvements.

In the below two graphs created by UC Berkeley Labor Center, the position of distribution centers in the supply chain and how outsourcing of these operations normally occur are illustrated.

Intent of this question

This question is intended to understand if your company’s internal social/human rights and labor workplace standard (as described in the Management System section, question 9) has been implemented across your distribution center operations. Full implementation across corporate offices ensures organizational labor workplace standards are consistently applied.

Technical Guidance

Please refer to the answer provided in the Management System section, question 9.

Internal social & labor workplace standards are tools that provide a consistent set of rules to manage working conditions, workplace behavior, and contributions the company expects from their employees. Work rules protect your business and workers, while creating and maintaining a better work environment for all.

Examples of how companies implement social and labor workplace standards include:

  • Employee Code of Conduct – Outlines a company’s expectations regarding employees behavior towards their colleagues, supervisors and overall organization.
  • Employee Handbook – An employee handbook applies to all employees and can be considered as an addition to their employment contracts. It outlines key information of a company’s culture, policies and procedures. Employers also use the policies in an employee handbook to provide the roadmap to ethical and legal treatment of employees.
  • Internal Code of Ethics and Business Conduct – Outlines a company’s set of rules or standards regarding organizational values, responsibilities and ethical obligations. The code of conduct provides employees with guidance for handling difficult ethical situations related to the business.

Answer options

  • If answered ‘yes’ to this question, your company has implemented internal social/human rights and labor workplace standards in over 75% of your distribution centers.
  • If answered ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has implemented internal social/human rights and labor workplace standards across 25-75% of your distribution centers.
  • If answered ‘no’ to this question, your company has implemented internal social/human rights and labor workplace standards in less than 25% of your distribution centers.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Documents related to the internal social/human rights & labor workplace standard(s) for distribution centers.
  • Documentation that describes the percentage of distribution centers that have been included and how they were selected. 

Interview questions to ask

  • Management responsible for office operations can clearly articulate the roles and responsibilities of those responsible for coordinating activities around monitoring and advancing internal social/human rights & labor workplace standards.

Key employee(s) responsible for coordinating internal management activities can demonstrate that they understand and are able to explain their roles.

Intent of the question

Integration of social/human rights in the distribution centers operations may be a complex process that involves several organizational levels in different parts of the world. This question intends to ensure that social/human rights compliance terms are captured in procurement / business contracts with contractors and/or vendors.

Technical Guidance

It is important for companies to align human rights policies with contractual mechanisms to ensure social/human rights compliance of contractors and/or vendors. A company may provide social/human rights training to strengthen this awareness amongst business partners.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • A copy of the procurement or business contract for contractors and/or vendors of distribution centers that include social/human rights compliance terms. 
  • Description of the process to ensure that contractors and vendors are in compliance of social/human rights terms and how often monitoring is conducted.

27.1 If answered no, please describe the violations and what you are doing to support resolving them

Technical guidance

In a 2019 report conducted by the IFF Research Agency (which is referenced under the Helpful Resource section), the following social/human rights non-compliance in warehouses / distribution centers were flagged:

  • Breaks – Being told or asked not to take breaks tended to occur when there was a high level of work to get through and targets were not being met. Workers on less secure contracts were more likely to feel pressured to work through their breaks and not challenge employers.
  • Pay – Common issues around pay involved either not being paid for all the hours worked or not being paid on time. Overall, not being paid for the total number of hours worked was slightly more common than not being paid on time. Both instances were generally seen to be due to administrative errors; however, some occasions may have been intentional non- compliance by the employer.
  • Health and Safety – Lack of appropriate equipment and space to conduct work safely was noted by workers. Healthy and safety concerns were reported by both junior and senior members of staff.

According to the IFF Research Agency, the following breaches were less common:

  • Contract – Not being given a written contract was experienced by a small proportion of workers.
  • Harassment – Predominantly verbal harassment was reported by some more junior members of staff.
  • National Minimum Wage (NMW)/National Living Wage (NLW) – Being paid below NMW/ NLW was not experienced by any of the workers that we spoke to, but some workers did believe that this occurred in the industry and non-UK workers were the most at risk.

In addition to the above report, UC Berkeley Labor Center also did a research in October 2019 where they have found the labor issues related to Health & Safety, Worker Productivity and Management, Unionizing and Temporary Employment most prevalent in the U.S. warehouse industry.

We recommend reading:

  • Pages 5-11: Executive Summary
  • Pages 13-29: Warehousing Industry and the Warehouse Workforce in the U.S.

Helpful Resource

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Description of the labor violations.
  • Where a citation for non-compliance exists, the company can demonstrate that it has rectified the non-compliance (e.g. corrective action plan).

28.1 If answered yes, please describe the program

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 distribution centers 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

How this will be verified

Documentation required

If you answered ‘yes’ to this question, your company should provide the following:

  • A copy of your company’s social/human rights responsibility program. 
  • Explanation of how the program aligns with the social/human rights policy and/or equivalent policy.
  • Identify the individuals within the company responsible for the social/human rights responsibility program.

29.1     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

Intent of the question

This question intends to confirm that your company is monitoring and ensuring that distribution centers 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 distribution centers operations (alongside offices, transportation operations) 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.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

If answered ‘yes’ to this question the company can share: 

  • Internal/external materials that can explain the company’s monitoring program/system to ensure distribution centers and/or contracted employment/labor agencies are meeting local labor laws.
  • Identify the individual(s) responsible for ensuring all distribution centers operations comply with local labor laws. 

If answered ‘no’ to this question, the company can share: 

  • Copy of the government-issued violation record(s) 
  • Explain the issue(s) for non-compliance
  • Corrective action plan to address non-compliance

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 distribution centers 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 distribution centers are in compliance with local labor law.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, we are developing a process to ensure distribution centers 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

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Organization chart, which outlines how compliance is being managed at the corporate level and in distribution centers and identify the individual(s) tasked with this responsibility. 
  • A copy of your process and/or procedures that describes how your company is ensuring compliance with local labor law and the remediation efforts when non-compliance has been found.
  • Database, system or a third party that is being used to monitor compliance with local labor laws in the different geographies your distribution centers operates.

Optional: When working with third-party labor or employment agencies:

  • Policies and/or procedures used to evaluate labor agencies and brokers compliance with local labour law(s) 
  • Copies of contracts with labor agents if applicable 
  • A copy of the Supplier Code of Conduct as a condition of business as part of contracts
  • Measures that are established by the company to ensure the legal compliance of subcontractors in each jurisdiction in which they operate. 

Interview questions to ask 

  • Staff tasked with the responsibility to ensure local labor law compliance can explain:   
  • their roles and responsibilities 
  • process for monitoring the compliance of local labor law in distribution centers
  • escalation process for when non-compliance has been found
  • which remediation efforts could be implemented when non-compliance has been found
  • database/system/third party company has been using to stay up to date on the changing legal landscape

Intent of the question

The question is determined to evaluate whether retailers are paying their distribution center employees a living wage. A fair living wage is a standard recognized by the International Labor Organization as a basic human right. It is determined as earning enough money to allow a person to support themselves day to day and maintain a small amount of savings. Providing employees with a living wage is not only the right thing to do but in turn will strengthen workers loyalty through increased productivity and quality.

In a study conducted by MIT in which the minimum wage has been compared to the living wage, it was found that in many places in the United States, it would take a worker two-and-a-half to three minimum wage jobs to make ends meet.

Technical Guidance

The Higg BRM aligns with the definition set by Action Collaboration Transformation:

“A living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet the basic needs of himself/herself and his/her family, including some discretionary income. This should be earned during legal working hours (i.e. without overtime).”

It is important to first understand the difference between minimum wage and living wage in the country of operation to calculate the wage gap and work towards closing the gap. In order to so companies should first collect information about the salaries by ranking from the lowest to the highest paid salary. As a second step, this should be compared with living wage estimates that are available in the respective country. We have referred to several publicly available resources that you could leverage in the helpful resources. Feel free to also reach out to local organization or experts to support you in establishing the appropriate living wage.

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, all distribution centers employees are paid a living wage.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, some of the employees have been paid a living wage but not all.
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, none of the distribution centers employees have been paid a living wage.

Helpful Resources

Stakeholder and industry initiatives your company could reach out to on the topic of living wage:

Living wage data and estimates:

General Resources:

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Company’s living wage policy and how living wage has been calculated for store employees.
  • If answered ‘partial yes’ to this question: 
  • an explanation of the percentage of employees with and without living wage payment
  • selection criteria for employees being included (or excluded) in the living wage policy

32.1 If answered yes or partial yes, please upload a copy of the action plan

Intent of the question

This question enables companies to elaborate on the actions they have taken to achieve the social/human rights goals of distribution centers.

Technical Guidance

An action plan provides a framework wherein social/human rights goals can be effectively managed by the individuals/team tasked with this responsibility. The plan helps to break larger tasks into smaller parts over a given time period, which makes it easier to execute and manage.

Companies can take a variety of actions to improve the promotion and protection of social/human rights performance of its distribution centers. As a company develops its plan, it should consider the number of its distribution centers and its distribution center employees, as well as the risks identified (e.g. geographic-specific) to help the company determine how to improve working conditions for distribution center employees.

Companies are strongly encouraged to partner with their employees and other subject matter experts to develop action plans and/or related capacity building efforts prior to implementation to avoid unintended negative impacts, as well as get employee buy-in for greater employee engagement.

Answer options

  • In order to answer “yes” to this question, the company has uploaded the action plan to this question and can demonstrate that the actions taken have resulted in improved working conditions for distribution center employees.
  • In order to answer “partial yes” to this question, the company does not have a formal action plan but can demonstrate that actions were taken and resulted in improved conditions for distribution center employees.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

To answer this question, please ensure you have one or more of the following evidence:  

  • A copy of the action plan with a description of the goals and targets that has been approved by your company’s executive team and/or board that commits resources to the program.  
  • Documentation of processes/internal guidelines/interviews that demonstrate how action plans are defined with employees OR how support and guidance is given to employees. 
  • Demonstrations of training materials/tools or documentation/minutes of training given to employees through eLearning modules, in-person workshops or one-to-one engagements. 
  • The results/outcome of the company’s actions or action plan and how it has supported the employees in improving their working conditions.

33.1 Describe the improvements made over the last calendar year

Intent of this question

This question intends to determine whether the company’s actions has resulted in the improvement of working conditions for distribution center employees.

Technical Guidance

Please describe the successes achieved in the last calendar year which have resulted in social/human rights improvements for your distribution center employees.

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

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Company’s analysis, summary or report listing the improvements made and the supporting evidence (e.g. objective data or records or through third party verifier)  
  • Evidence of improvements that demonstrate that improvements weren’t made solely from a decline in sales, or number of employees
  • Description of the process to continuously track and manage improvements as part of the company’s social/human rights action plan for offices.

34.1 Who do you engage with:

  • Local communities
  • Local governments
  • Local NGOs
  • International NGOs
  • Tri-party agreement (multi stakeholder initiative)
  • Labor unions
  • Other company or companies that have the same business partners
  • Building owners, landlords, or third-party logistics providers of distribution centers

34.2 Please describe your joint initiatives and/or list the relevant URLs:

Intent of the question

This question is intended to assess how your company participates in and/or invests in activities with other stakeholders to improve working conditions and contribute to a larger shift in the industry. SMEs are encouraged to take part in multi stakeholder initiatives that drive collective impact to bring programs to scale.

Technical Guidance

Activities to improve working conditions for employees can include a variety of activities such as employee engagement, investing in worker wellbeing campaigns, implementing new procedures and policies to enhance scheduling.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

In order to answer ‘yes’, you should be able to provide at least one of the following: 

  • A signed partnership or collaboration agreement with the relevant stakeholder(s) 
  • Evidence of participation and engagement in shared platforms, including multi-stakeholder events 
  • Evidence of direct engagement with community groups – for example consultation through a credible 3rd party or in direct and relevant response to an ask by community groups 
  • Provide relevant URLs or links to your participation or contribution to these initiative
  • Records of outcome / feedback from stakeholder consultation/engagement 

Intent of this question

This question intends to confirm if the company works with their distribution centers to ensure career advancement opportunities are provided to their employees to further develop their careers and skillset.

Technical Guidance

Many companies have management training programs and specific career paths intended to encourage career advancement for employees working within its operations. Some companies may not have formal programs or career paths for career advancement. However, they do promote from within when employees meet the necessary job qualifications for advancement opportunities.

Regardless of whether career advancement is done through formal or informal channels, it is a great opportunity for companies to identify and build talent within its operations who have frontline experience, while retaining top performers.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company confirms and monitors distribution centers have provided formal career advancement program to their employees.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has confirmed that distribution centers have discussed career advancement opportunities with their employees through the annual performance review.
  • When answering “no” to this question, this means your company does not confirm nor monitor whether distribution centers provide career advancement opportunities to their employees.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

If you answered ‘yes’ or ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company should provide the following:

  • A description of your company’s formal and informal career advancement program. 
  • The number of distribution center employees who were promoted during your company’s last fiscal year. This should also include the number of employees promoted to supervisor roles and from hourly to management positions.

Intent of this question

This question intends to confirm that directly contracted distribution centers have provided healthcare benefits to their employees.

Technical Guidance

All companies are expected to comply with local law and provide all legally required healthcare benefits to its distribution center employees.

It is considered a leading practice when companies offer additional healthcare benefits beyond legal requirements, to retain and attract employees, as part of creating a more competitive benefits package. Company benefits packages may differ based on geography due to legal requirements and market expectations. It is recommended that your company consult with legal counsel(s) in the different geographies you operate in, to identify all required benefits to ensure compliance with local law.

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company has confirmed that healthcare benefits (beyond legal requirements) have been provided as well as implemented an annual monitoring program to ensure continuous adherence thereof by your distribution centers.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has confirmed that all legally required healthcare benefits are provided to distribution centers employees.
  • When answering “no” to this question, your company does not ensure healthcare benefits are provided to your distribution centers employees and neither is it provided through local law.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

If you answered ‘yes’ or ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company should provide the following:

  • Company’s employee policy/manual and the description of providing legally required health care benefits to employees. 
  • Identify the individual(s) responsible for ensuring all distribution center employees within your full operations receive legally required and/or additional (beyond legally required) health care benefits. 
  • A summary of the process to ensure provided health care benefits comply with local law in the different geographies your company operates.
  • If applicable, a description of additional health care benefits offered beyond legal requirements by geography.

Intent of this question

This question intends to confirm that directly contracted distribution centers have provided retirement benefits to their employees.

Technical Guidance

All companies are expected to comply with local law and provide all legally required retirement benefits to their distribution center employees.

It is considered a leading practice when companies offer additional retirement benefits beyond legal requirements to retain and attract employees as part of creating a more competitive benefits package. Company benefits packages may differ based on geography due to legal requirements and market expectations.

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

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company has confirmed that retirement benefits (beyond legal requirements) have been provided as well as implemented an annual monitoring program to ensure continuous adherence thereof by your distribution centers.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company has confirmed that all legally required retirement benefits are provided to distribution centers employees.
  • When answering “no” to this question, your company does not ensure retirement benefits are provided to your distribution centers employees and neither is it provided through local law.

Helpful Resource

We recommend reviewing the helpful resources of the previous question.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

If you answered ‘yes’ or ‘partial yes’ to this question, your company should provide the following:

  • Company’s employee policy/manual and the description of providing legally required retirement benefits to employees. 
  • Identify the individual(s) responsible for ensuring all distribution center employees within your full operations receive legally required and/or additional (beyond legally required) retirement benefits. 
  • A summary of the process to ensure provided retirement benefits comply with local law in the different geographies your company operates.
  • Optional: A description of additional retirement benefits offered beyond legal requirements by geography.

38.1     Please describe and provide the relevant URLs:

Intent of the question

Public communication on the progress of social/human rights performance associated with the store operations can be a useful way to transparently share approaches with internal and external stakeholders. This not only drives accountability within the organization but also facilitate in knowledge sharing between the company and its important stakeholders.

Technical Guidance

Formats for communication can be through:

  • Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) or sustainability reports
  • Annual reviews or financial reports
  • Online web pages and news stories
  • Other communication material

Answer options

  • To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company is able to share the publicly available information on the social/human rights performance associated with distribution centers operations.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, this information has been shared through your company’s intranet and can be provided upon request.
  • To answer ‘no’ your company does not have this information.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Publicly available links and/or pages  
  • Information on how frequently progress is being communicated publicly.

 

top
X