Introduction

This section will be completed by companies that are selling products of third-party/wholesale/national brands.

Out-of-scope: This section does not apply to retailers that have sales or production volume of third-party/wholesale/national brands that account for less than 1% of their sales or business volume.

Steps in the OECD due diligence process that are addressed in the Retailer – Environment section
Step 2. Identify & Assess Adverse Impacts in Operations, Supply Chains and Business Relationships.
Step 3. Cease, prevent or mitigate adverse impacts
Step 4. Track Implementation and Results
Step 5. Communicate how impacts are addressed

Environment

Product

1.1 Please describe or provide supporting documentation

Intent of the question

This question is intended to ensure that retailers have a robust understanding of the environmental impacts associated with the products they sell, so they can work with their brand partners to set strategies and targets to improve on these identified impacts. This question also supports your internal process to identify and prioritize the key environmental risks and impacts holistically across your product portfolio.

Technical Guidance

To answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company must have an analysis, assessment, or study (carried out in the last five years) that includes one or more of the following:

  • Documentation of environmental risks and impacts based on the manufacturing through to use phase of key product categories.
  • Description of the percentage of production or sales the above analysis, assessment or study covers.
  • Documentation related to the materials used and the finished goods production processes — data collected through brand partners must be credible data or verified by an accredited third party.
  • Analysis of specific opportunities within the stages of product design & development and consumer use phase to address environmental risks or impacts.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Copy of the analysis, assessment, or report (carried out in the last five years) that identifies the key environmental risks, impacts, and opportunities associated with the products you sell. 
  • Analysis through Product Life Cycle Assessment or other credible tools. 

Note: Any analysis, assessment, or study should be backed up by credible data or verified by an accredited third party.

Intent of the question

This question intends to ensure that retailers are confirming and tracking the products they sell which have environmentally preferred attributes/certifications. Developing a sustainable products strategy will only be possible when a company understands and has visibility across the entire materials portfolio and knows whether environmentally preferred attributes or certifications have been used.

Technical Guidance

As part of this question you will be asked to complete a table wherein you specify the percentage of products with an environmentally preferred attribute or certification.

  • Attributes: Refers to material types and/or products that have either a certification or a verifiable and credible claim to improve environmental impact(s) / sustainability.
  • Certification: A third party certification program confirms the integrity of the environmentally preferred attributes within the material. Third-party certification programs support a systemic approach to integrate environmental performance in the raw materials. Examples of certification programs include, but are not limited to: GOTS, Textile Exchange, PEFC, and Forest Stewardship Council.

Explanation of the terms used within the table:

Type of certification / attribute

Certifications such as, but not limited to:

Environmentally preferred attributes (not certifications) that can be considered, such as Better Cotton Initiative or bio-based polyester, are available via page 16 of this Textile Exchange Guide.

Baseline %

IIn order to demonstrate improvements or reductions, it’s important to know what your starting point is.

A “baseline %” is a starting point of the initial reporting percentage. This percentage will enable your company to track over time whether you are on track to make progress against your set target(s).

Baseline yearThe initial reporting year, which you are measuring targets against is also known as the baseline year (the above “baseline %” is based on).
Target %

A target is a particular goal to be delivered by a company for a specific period. The Target % is an indicator of where you want to be from the baseline %.

Target types that are most commonly used are either absolute or normalized.

Absolute target addresses the total amount/quantity per year or per month. In the product context this could be total amount of products sold with a GOTS certification in a year.

Normalized target is a comparison of totals or usage against a predefined variable. An example is the amount of water used to produce a pair of jeans. In the product context this could be the reduction of x liters/pair of jeans and the % reduction of water used for a pair of jeans.

Target yearThe year in which the “target %” has to be achieved.
Last calendar year %The percentage of products which carry end-of-use certifications and/or attributes in the last calendar year.
Additional commentsAny notes or comments to provide clarity to the information you have submitted.

Answer Options

  • If you have answered “yes” to this question, your company has tracked the environmental attributes of more than 75% of your entire product portfolio.
  • If you have answered “partial yes” to this question, your company has tracked the environmental attributes for 25-75% of your entire product portfolio.
  • If you have answered “no” to this question, your company has tracked the environmental attributes of less than 25% of your entire product portfolio.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

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

  • Documentation of the products that were sold in the previous calendar year with environmentally preferred attributes/certifications. 
  • When certifications have been used please share the related scope and transaction certificates of the product. 

Interview questions to ask:

  • Please describe the process that was used to determine or verify that the products have environmentally preferred attributes or certification.
  • Please describe the process that was used to collect certificates associated with the products. 

3.1 If answered yes, please indicate whether this includes the following:

  • On-product labelling
  • In-store signage and educational materials
  • Environmental attribute information highlighted on product pages in digital environment

Intent of the question

This question is intended to assess whether your company communicates to customers about the environmental attributes and/or third-party certifications associated with the products sold through your company.

Technical Guidance

Communication of this type is supportive of transparency between companies and their customers and provides customers with an opportunity to make informed purchasing decisions.

Your company may communicate about:

  • The impacts associated with the materials used in your products and how your company addresses those impacts.
  • The sustainable production processes.
  • What specific materials and standards were used within your company’s product sustainability strategy.

Formats for communication can include:

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

To answer ‘yes’ to this question, a company must be able to provide, or demonstrate they have achieved, one or more of the following:

  • Information on how the company manages on-product and/or in-store signage and labelling with regard to sustainability standards used – specifically, for any of the environmentally preferred materials and/or third-party materials. For example, how are on-product or in-store claims made and how does the company ensure that these claims are verified and accurate.
  • Tracking and evaluation of customers awareness levels and customer response to the communication campaign implemented by the company. This could include measures of visibility of engagements (e.g., unique views, customer footfall in relevant store section, etc.); and/or measures of response/behavior change from customers (e.g., online comments, re-tweets/links, purchasing behavior, customer service feedback, purchasing behavior change, direct evidence of behavior or attitude change through surveys, behavior tracking, etc.).

Helpful Resources

  • An overview of global ecolabeling standards can be reviewed from Eco Label Index or Global Ecolabelling
  • An overview of global sustainability standards can be reviewed here
  • Good on You

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Communication vehicles used to make this information accessible to customers.
  • Tracking and evaluation of customer’s responses to the company’s communication campaign.

Supply Chain: Product & Textiles

4.1 If you answered yes, select all criteria that are included:

  • Animal Welfare
  • Biodiversity/Land Use/Habitat Loss
  • Deforestation
  • Energy/Fuel Use (or Fossil Fuel Depletion)
  • Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions
  • Air Emissions / Air Pollution (non GHG)
  • Solid Waste
  • Hazardous Waste
  • Chemical / Hazard / Management
  • Water Use / Water Scarcity
  • Wastewater / Water Pollution / Eutrophication
  • Other (Please describe)

Intent of the question

The intent of this question is to assess whether your company includes environmental criteria in the traditional sourcing decision criteria of price, delivery, performance, and quality. This question is also designed to identify whether your company’s sourcing/buying team has an internal process for assessing and making decisions that includes environmental criteria and performance.

Technical Guidance

Leading retailers develop and use integrated scorecards, also referred to as balanced scorecards, to ensure that environmental criteria are a factor in the decision-making process for evaluating new and existing suppliers, products, materials, and packaging. An integrated scorecard enables decision makers to consider sustainability attributes in business decisions. Integrated scorecards that compare the environmental performance of materials, products, packaging, and brands are effective at motivating people to act, as these scorecards create competition and motivation to improve.

The integrated scorecard should meet the following requirements:

  • Put your company’s commitments into action by making environmental criteria part of the decision- making process.
  • Include relevant environmental criteria and be used in regular departmental meetings, sourcing decisions and supplier selection, and products, materials, and packaging decisions.
  • Include environmental criteria as well as the traditional purchasing criteria of price, performance, delivery, and quality. The environmental criteria should be given similar weighting to the traditional criteria when making business decisions.
  • Included in internal discussions and used when choosing new suppliers and evaluating existing suppliers. The integrated scorecards for suppliers should be updated regularly and included in internal discussions and decision-making. Scorecards should also be included in check-ins and meetings with suppliers in order to ensure that progress is being made over time.

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

  • The criteria and elements are 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.

An example of how to use a scorecard is in choosing new brands and evaluating existing brands. Examples of relevant environmental criteria for a brand integrated scorecard are in the list below. These would appear along with traditional supplier evaluation criteria such as price, performance, and quality.

  • Higg Brand & Retail Module (Higg BRM) data and results with a focus on how the brand manages its salient environmental risks and impacts.
  • Third-party environmental certifications.
  • Use of environmentally preferred materials in product and packaging.
  • Environmental management of the manufacturing supply chain.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Internal communication/policies/procedures on the integrated scorecard (this includes both business and sustainability criteria). 
  • Sample score cards. 
  • Supporting documents which demonstrate that both business and sustainability criteria are included in purchasing decisions. 
  • Business agreements with suppliers which include the integrated scorecard as criteria for doing/maintaining business. 
  • Percent of your supply chain included within the scope of your company’s scorecard. 
  • Demonstrating that goals related to responsible sourcing practices are incorporated into annual performance targets for individuals with sourcing/purchasing responsibilities, and are also incorporated into sourcing/purchasing staff individual goals. 

Interview questions to ask

  • Which criteria and elements were included within the scorecard? What was excluded?
  • What weighting, if any, is given to each criteria? 
  • Are any minimum thresholds applied to criteria?
  • Who is responsible and accountable for various criteria in the scorecard?
  • How is the scorecard used in business decisions? 

Are there examples of suppliers being selected or rewarded on the basis of the sustainability criteria?

5.1 If answered yes, please describe how this is done.

Intent of the question

This question intends to confirm that your company has engaged with your brand partners on your sustainability ambitions, and, as a result of this, your brand partners have established shared environmental goals and objectives.

Technical Guidance

The 2019 Sustainable Apparel Coalition and Globescan research report concluded that consumers want more transparency from brands and retailers. Brands and retailers who do not disclose information about social and environmental sustainability performance risk losing relevancy with consumers.

These consumers are eager to see more information about a brand’s overall sustainability efforts, and to know that they can trust the information shared with them by these brands. Consumers want to feel that brands truly represent them and their individual values. They also want to know more about manufacturing — and how, and by whom, individual products are created.

Retailers are in a unique position to collaborate with and unite all of their brand partners around a common goal to advance environmental sustainability.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Documentation of process/guidelines for selecting the brand partners and the subsequent engagement with them. 
  • Documentation of the shared environmental goals or objectives and how these were determined.
  • Plan of action and the key indicators for success for both the retailer and partner brands. 

Interview questions to ask

Staff designated to lead this engagement can explain: 

  • The process of how brands were selected and engaged.
  • How the shared environmental goals and objectives are going to drive impact.  

What the division of responsibilities are between retailer and partner brands to achieve the aforementioned goals and objectives.

6.1 If answered yes, please select all that apply:

  • Providing educational resources which wholesale brand partners can access at their
  • Facilitating interactive educational sessions which wholesale brand partners can attend.
  • Offering an always-on forum for wholesale brand partners to contact your company and receive support for improving environmental performance.
  • Lowering barriers to access to environmental-related multi-stakeholder working groups or
  • Other (If Other, please describe)

Intent of the question

This question intends to confirm that your company is taking responsibility within the value chain to support brand partners to improve.

Establishing a support program is an important step towards improving environmental performance and driving behavioral changes in your brand partners. This program should be designed and tailored to the brand’s needs, build their capacity, and should ensure the transfer of knowledge across the supply chain by leveraging best practices and case studies.

Technical Guidance

If you have answered ‘yes’ to this question, at least one of the answer options has been selected.

Helpful Resources

Industry initiatives to join:

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Documentation of the support program (purpose, objectives) and the resources that are made available to brand partners. 
  • Description of the staff and resources the retailer has allocated to build capacity in brand partners.

7.1 Please indicate whether this includes the following:

  • Award(s) or recognition for strong environmental performance.
  • More favorable business terms for brands demonstrating strong environmental performance.
  • A formal emphasis on environmental performance in strategic business planning conversations with wholesale brand partners.
  • Other (If Other, please describe)

Intent of the question

By creating incentives for brand partners, retailers can provide an important business case for action, as well as building strong long-term relationships.

Technical Guidance

Brand partner recognition programs are used by companies to incentivize and reward positive environmental performance. Rewards and incentives may include increased order volume, longer contracts, etc.

In order to answer ‘yes’ to this question, companies should have at least two of the following:

  • A clear process by which to track brand performance beyond compliance, with criteria that capture more ambitious activities or standards – with official recognition for those brands achieving a high level of performance. This recognition can include specific status or categorization within the brand partner management systems of the retailer.
  • Non-commercial recognition of leadership performance by brands, such as in-house or public articles, or case studies explaining how best practices were carried out, as well as prizes/awards with no monetary value.
  • Semi-commercial rewards for brands with strong sustainability performance, such as a specific level of brand partner status (e.g., preferred partner, gold partner, strategic partner, etc.) which includes sustainability performance alongside other business criteria (this type of status usually comes with higher order volumes, or likely more frequent orders, without a specific underlying agreement) OR, access to specific useful resources such as improvement programs and/or technical expertise.
  • Commercial rewards for brands with strong sustainability performance, such as making explicit commitments of higher orders, signing longer-term business agreements, facilitating or making investments at brand level e.g. through green bonds.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Links to external materials highlighting your activities (e.g., corporate social responsibility reports, press releases or information posted on your website or another website). 
  • Program materials and/or communication developed for your brands to explain the program (e.g., brand performance criteria, data collection, verification, and evaluation processes). 
  • Share terms and conditions related to brand incentives or any other related documentation (outlining the specific contexts in which suppliers are given incentives, and how these incentives align with the broader business and sustainability goals of your company). 
  • List of brands enrolled in the program.
  • Outcome of these brand partner recognition programs.
  • Connection with the balanced scorecard system for brands

Intent of the question

Participation and investment in industry collaboration with other stakeholders is critical for addressing shared, systemic challenges, and working on the root cause of those challenges to drive real change.

This question is designed to confirm that your company is collaborating with other stakeholders to address shared, systemic challenges.

Technical Guidance

In order to answer ‘yes’ to this question, you should have all of the following points:

  • Organizing joint training and capacity building sessions for brand partners on the Higg Brand & Retail Module in collaboration with other SAC retailer members.
  • Participating in environmental performance improvement initiatives for brand partners in collaboration with multi-stakeholder initiatives.
  • Sharing company owned environmental performance training programs, resources and knowledge publically with the wider industry.

In order to answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, you have one but not all 3 of the above activities.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

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

  • A signed partnership or collaboration agreement with the relevant stakeholders. 
  • Evidence of participation and engagement in shared platforms, including multi-stakeholder events.
  • Evidence of direct engagement with other companies to host or share joint environmental training programs.

Use & End of Use

9.1 If you answered yes, please indicate the repair options offered for the products sold by your company in the last calendar year:

  • An in-house repair offering operated by your company.
  • A third-party repair offering operated by a third-party organization.
  • Product that includes repair kit offerings so product owner can make repair themselves.
  • Other (If Other, please describe)

Intent of the question

This question is intended to assess whether your company provides customers with options that enable them to repair the products sold by your company. This after-sale service can be an effective way of supporting your customers in repairing their products and thereby extending a product’s longevity.

Technical Guidance

To answer “yes” to this question, your company must provide customers with access to a product repair offering. This offering can be operated directly by your company or offered to your customers via a partnership with the brand/product maker or a third-party repair provider.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Proof of the product repair offering by your company or by a third-party organization.
  • Records related to tracking the annual portion of the products sold that were covered by in-house repair offering and/or third-party repair offering.

Social & Labor

This section will be completed by companies that are selling products of third-party/wholesale/national brands.

Out-of-scope: This section does not apply to retailers that have sales or production volume of third-party/wholesale/national brands that account for less than 1% of their sales or business volume.

Steps in the OECD due diligence process that are addressed in the Retailer – Environment section
Step 2. Identify & Assess Adverse Impacts in Operations, Supply Chains and Business Relationships.
Step 3. Cease, prevent or mitigate adverse impacts
Step 4. Track Implementation and Results
Step 5. Communicate how impacts are addressed

 

Product

1.1 Which of the following areas do your policies and standards address? Please select all that apply:

  • Banned or restricted supply chains.
  • Minimum social/human rights performance requirements for product manufacturing.
  • Participation in collaborative industry initiatives.
  • Reporting against industry standards.

1.2 What percentage of products comply with your policies/standards?

1.3 Please describe or provide supporting documentation of policies/standards.

Intent of the question

This question evaluates whether the retailer has set minimum standards and/or policies for their brand partners, to protect the rights of workers and to ensure safe & healthy working conditions in the manufacturing supply chain.

Technical Guidance

An effective social/human rights program outlines the expectations that a company will uphold within their organization and its manufacturing supply chain to protect human rights and the right to safe and healthy working conditions. These expectations should be aligned with internationally recognized standards such as the International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

In order to answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company must be able to:

  • Select (at minimum) one of the answer options related to your policies/standards.
  • Specify the percentage of products that comply with your policies/standards.
  • Describe or upload supporting documentation of your policies/standards.

Helpful resources

Examples of retailers with a social/human rights policy/standard

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • A copy of the social/human rights policy and/or standard.
  • Documentation of the process to communicate the requirements to brand partners and the escalation process for brand partners that do not comply. 
  • Organization chart or description of the responsible staff who are tasked with brand engagement and ensuring these partners are upholding the requirements outlined in your policies/standards.

2.1 If you answered yes, select all that apply:

  • On-product labelling.
  • In-store signage and educational materials.
  • Information highlighted on product pages on company’s website or ecommerce site.

Intent of the question

This question is intended to assess whether your company communicates to customers about the social/human rights certifications and attributes associated with the products sold through your retail operations.

Communication of this type is supportive of transparency between companies and their customers and provides customers with an opportunity to make informed purchasing decisions.

Your company may communicate about:

  • The impacts associated with the manufacturing of your products on workers’ rights and how your company addresses those impacts.
  • What specific standards were used within your company’s product sustainability strategy

Formats for communication can be through:

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

To answer ‘yes’ to this question, a company must be able to demonstrate that they have achieved one or more of the following:

  • Information on how the company manages on-product and/or in-store signage and labelling for any of the social/human rights attributes or certification standards used. For example, how are on-product or in- store claims made, and how does the company ensure that these claims are verified and accurate.
  • Tracking and evaluation of customers’ awareness levels, and customer response to the communication campaign implemented by the company. This could include measures of visibility of engagements (e.g., unique views, customer footfall in relevant store section, etc.) and/or measures of response/behavior change from customers (e.g., online comments, re-tweets/links, purchasing behavior, customer service feedback, purchasing behavior change, direct evidence of behavior or attitude change through surveys, behavior tracking, etc.).
  • Information highlighted on product pages on company’s website or ecommerce site.

Helpful Resources

  • An overview of global ecolabelling standards can be reviewed
  • An overview of global sustainability standards can be reviewed
  • Good on You

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Communication vehicles used to make this information accessible to customers.
  • Tracking and evaluation of customers’ responses to the communication campaign implemented by the company.

Supply Chain: Product & Textiles

3.1 If answered yes, what information about the partner brands’ social/human rights risks (and/or management of risks) does this incorporate? Select all that apply:

  • Forced Labor or Human Trafficking
  • Child Labor
  • Wages and Benefits
  • Working Hours
  • Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining
  • Health and Safety
  • Access to Water and Sanitation
  • Decent Work
  • Discrimination, Harassment and Abuse
  • Sexual Harassment and Gender-Based Violence
  • Bribery and Corruption
  • Right to Health
  • Right to Privacy
  • Right to Security of the Person
  • Minorities’ and Communities’ Rights
  • Land Rights

Intent of the question

The intent of this question is to assess whether your company incorporates social/human rights criteria into the traditional sourcing decision criteria of price, delivery, performance, and quality.

This question is also designed to determine whether your company has an internal process for assessing and making decisions that includes social/human rights criteria and performance.

Technical Guidance

Leading retailers develop and use integrated scorecards, also referred to as balanced scorecards, to ensure that social/human rights criteria are a factor in the decision-making process for evaluating new and existing suppliers, products, materials, and packaging. An integrated scorecard enables decision makers to consider sustainability attributes in business decisions. Integrated scorecards that compare the social/human rights performance of materials, products, packaging, and brands are effective at motivating people to act, as these scorecards create competition and motivation to improve.

The integrated scorecard should:

  • Reflect your company’s commitments into action by making social/human rights criteria part of the decision-making process.
  • Be updated regularly and reviewed as part of regular departmental meetings to manage the health of the entire supply chain.
  • Be used to evaluate new and existing suppliers. This includes reviewing score cards with suppliers to ensure progress is being made to improve performance.
  • Be used to make sourcing decisions and supplier selection (e.g. products, materials, and packaging).

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

  • The criteria and elements are 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.

An example of how to use a scorecard is in choosing new brand partners and evaluating existing brands. In the below example, these three criteria would appear along with traditional brand partner evaluation criteria such as price, performance, and quality.

  • Higg Brand & Retail Module (Higg BRM) data and results with a focus on how the brand manages its salient social/human rights risks and impacts.
  • Third-party social/human rights certifications.
  • Protection of workers’ rights and safeguarding the livelihoods of workers.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Internal communication/policies/procedures on the integrated scorecard (this includes both business and sustainability criteria). 
  • Sample score cards. 
  • Supporting documents that demonstrate that both business and sustainability criteria are included in purchasing decisions. 
  • Business agreements with suppliers that include the integrated scorecard as criteria for doing/maintaining business. 
  • Percent of your supply chain included within the scope of your company’s scorecard. 
  • Demonstrating that goals related to responsible sourcing practices are incorporated into annual performance targets for individuals with sourcing/purchasing responsibilities, and are also incorporated into sourcing/purchasing staff individual goals. 

Interview questions to ask:

  • Which criteria and elements were included within the scorecard? What was excluded?
  • What weighting, if any, is given to each criteria? 
  • Are any minimum thresholds applied to criteria?
  • Who is responsible and accountable for various criteria in the scorecard?
  • How is the scorecard used in business decisions?
  • Are there examples of suppliers being selected or rewarded on the basis of the sustainability criteria?

4.1 Does this include collecting information about/documentation of their performance relative to your company’s standards/policies/targets? Answer options: Yes/No

Intent of the question

This question evaluates to what extent the retailer confirms that brand partners are in alignment with the company’s expectations on social/human rights.

Technical Guidance

Brand partners are crucial in helping retailers achieve success by ensuring business is conducted in an ethical and responsible manner along the value chain.

Developing a risk-based approach in the management and evaluation of brand partners’ efforts is essential to understand whether their efforts are creating any change to protect workers’ rights and to safeguard their livelihoods.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

In order to answer ‘yes’ to this question, your company must be able to provide: 

  • A copy of your social/human rights policy and/or standards.
  • Documentation of the process for brand partner management and performance evaluation relative to your social/human rights policy and/or standards.  
  • Organization chart or description of the responsible staff who are tasked with brand engagement and with ensuring these partners are upholding the requirements outlined in your policies/standards. 

Interview questions to ask:

  • How will the information (on brand partners complying with the social/human rights standard/policy) be used and shared internally? 
  • What is the escalation process for brand partners who do not comply with your minimum standards/policy?
  • Within the last calendar year, were any brand partners found non-compliant? If so, please explain how this was resolved/remediated.

5.1 If answered yes, please select all that apply:

  • Providing educational resources which brand partners can access at their convenience.
  • Facilitating interactive educational sessions which credible third-party company partners can attend.
  • Offering an always-on forum for credible third-party company partners to contact your company and receive support in improving social/human rights performance.
  • Lowering barriers to access for social/human rights-related multi-stakeholder working groups or initiatives.
  • All of the above
  • Other (If Other, please describe)

Intent of the question

This question intends to confirm that your company is taking responsibility within the value chain to support brand partners to improve.

Establishing a support program is an important step towards improving social/human rights performance and driving behavioral changes in your brand partners. This program should be designed and tailored to the brand’s needs (building their capacity) and should ensure transfer of knowledge across the supply chain by leveraging best practices and case studies.

Technical Guidance

If you have answered ‘yes’ at least one of the answer options (listed above) has been selected.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Documentation of the support program (purpose, objectives) and the resources that are made available to brand partners. 
  • Description of the staff and resources the retailer has allocated to build capacity in brand partners.

6.1 If answered yes, please select all that apply:

  • Award(s) or recognition for strong social/human rights.
  • More favorable business terms for companies demonstrating strong social/human rights performance.
  • A formal emphasis on social/human rights performance in strategic business planning conversations with company partners.
  • All of the above
  • Other (If Other, please describe)

Intent of the question

By creating incentives for brand partners, retailers can provide an important business case for action, as well as building strong long-term relationships.

Technical Guidance

Brand partner recognition programs are used by companies to incentivize and reward positive social/human rights performance. Rewards and incentives may include increased order volume, longer contracts, etc.

In order to answer ‘yes’ to this question companies should have at least 2 or more of the following:

  • A clear process by which to track brands’ performance beyond compliance, with criteria that capture more ambitious activities or standards – with official recognition for those brands achieving a high level of performance. This recognition can include specific status or categorization within the brand partner management systems of the retailer.
  • Non-commercial recognition of leadership performance by brands, such as in-house or public articles or case studies explaining how best practices were carried out, as well as prizes/awards with no monetary value.
  • Semi-commercial rewards for brands with strong sustainability performance, such as a specific level of brand partner status (e.g., preferred partner, gold partner, strategic partner, etc.) which includes sustainability performance alongside other business criteria (this type of status usually comes with higher order volumes, or likely more frequent orders, without a specific underlying agreement) OR, access to specific useful resources such as improvement programs or technical expertise.
  • Commercial rewards for brands with strong sustainability performance, such as explicit commitments of higher orders, signing longer-term business agreements, facilitating or making investments at brand level.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

In order to answer this question, you should provide at least one of the following materials: 

  • Links to external materials highlighting your activities (e.g., corporate social responsibility reports, press releases or information posted on your website or another website). 
  • Program materials and/or communication developed for your brands to explain the program (e.g., brand performance criteria, data collection, verification, and evaluation processes). 
  • Share terms and conditions related to brands’ incentives or any other related documentation (outlining the specific contexts in which suppliers are given incentives, and how these incentives align with the broader business and sustainability goals of your company). 
  • List of brands enrolled in the program.
  • Outcome of these brand partner recognition programs.
  • Connection with the balanced scorecard system for brands.

Intent of the question

Participation and investment in industry collaboration with other stakeholders is critical for addressing shared, systemic challenges, and working on the root cause of those challenges to drive real change.

This question is designed to confirm that your company is collaborating with other stakeholders to address shared, systemic challenges.

Technical Guidance

In order to answer ‘yes’ to this question, you should have all of the following points:

  • Organizing joint training and capacity building sessions for brand partners on the Higg Brand & Retail Module in collaboration with other SAC retailer members.
  • Participating in social/human rights performance improvement initiatives for brand partners in collaboration with multi-stakeholder initiatives.
  • Sharing company owned social/human rights training programs, resources and knowledge publically with the wider industry.

In order to answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, you have one but not all 3 of the above activities.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

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

  • A signed partnership or collaboration agreement with the relevant stakeholders. 
  • Evidence of participation and engagement in shared platforms, including multi-stakeholder events.
  • Evidence of direct engagement with other companies to host or share joint environmental training programs.

 

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