Table of Contents

1. Environment

2. Social & Labor

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

Environment

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

Intent of the question

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

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

Technical Guidance

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

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

Answer options

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

Helpful Resource

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

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • In order to consider a store included in the program, your company must have documentation (policies, strategies, contracts or action plans) in place wherein the store 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 store 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 stores, 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 stores 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 stores 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.

Intent of this question

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

Energy

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

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

2.1.1 What practices have you 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
  • Speed-controlled escalators
  • 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 building’s energy performance
  • Generating renewable energy
  • Purchasing renewable energy
  • Other

Intent of the question

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

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

Technical Guidance

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

Helpful Resources

Water

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 retail stores. 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 Have practices been implemented to reduce water consumption in your stores? Answer options: Yes/Partial Yes/No

2.2.1 Please indicate what practices you have implemented to reduce water consumption in your stores:

  • Low water use fixtures (e.g. low flow, sensors) and toilets (high efficient, dual-flush, waterless urinals, etc.)
  • Leak detection system
  • On-site wastewater treatment system to enable the recycling of water
  • Other

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

Helpful Resources

Other Impacts

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

Technical Guidance

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

More information: European Commission – Best Environmental Management Practice in the Retail Trade Sector (Pages 362-393 provides an overview of Best Available Techniques in the Retail sector)

Answer options

  • If answered ‘yes’ to this question, your company has implemented resource efficiency programs or practices (other than energy and water) in over 75% of your stores.
  • 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 stores.
  • If answered ‘no’ to this question, your company did not implement any resource efficiency practices nor implemented resource efficiency practices (other than energy and water) in less than 25% of your stores.

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 store personnel / staff in the implementation.
  • Evidence that the implementation has resulted in energy efficiency in the retail stores(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 store personnel / staff in the implementation.
  • Evidence that the implementation has resulted in water efficiency in the retail stores(s). 

Other impacts

  • 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 store personnel / staff in the implementation.

3.1 If answered yes or partial yes, please upload a copy of the action plan (optional)

Intent of this question

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

Technical Guidance

An action plan provides a framework wherein environmental goals can be effectively managed by you and other team members. 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, over 75% of your stores are enrolled in your company’s action plan.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, 25-75% of your stores are enrolled in your company’s action plan.
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, you do not have an action plan or have less than 25% of your stores are enrolled in your company’s action plan.

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation require

  • 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 stores will be engaged or included. 
    • In order to consider a store included in the action plan, your company must have documentation in place wherein the store 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 If answered yes, please 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 stores’ environmental performance.

Technical Guidance

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

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

Helpful Resources

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.

5.1 Which certifications have they received?

  • LEED
  • BREEAM
  • Other (If other, please describe)

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 stores 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, more than 75% of your stores have been certified to a multi-attribute certification program.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, 25-75% of your stores have been certified to a multi-attribute certification program.
  • To answer ‘no’ to this question, less than 25% of your stores 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 stores that have been certified and how they were selected.

6.1 If answered yes, please describe and provide the relevant URLs

Intent of the question

Public communication on the progress of environmental 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 environmental performance associated with store 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

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

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

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

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

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

Interview questions to ask

  • Management responsible for store 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 store 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 store 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 building contractors and/or store vendors 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.

3.1. If answered yes, please describe the violations and what you are doing to support resolving them

Intent of the question

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

Technical Guidance

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

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

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

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 describe the program(s)

Intent of the question

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

Technical Guidance

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

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

A social / human rights responsibility program should include:

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

Helpful Resources

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.

5.1 Please indicate which of the following practices are included:

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

Intent of the question

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

Technical Guidance

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

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

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

Answer Options

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

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 stores and/or contracted employment/labor agencies are meeting local labor laws.
  • Identify the individual(s) responsible for ensuring all store 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 store operations (including any contracted employment or labor agencies).

Technical Guidance

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

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

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

Helpful Resources

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • Organization chart, which outlines how compliance is being managed at the corporate level and in stores 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 stores 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 stores
    • 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 store 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 store 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 store 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

8.1 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 store 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 stores. As a company develops its plan, it should consider the number of its stores and store employees, as well as the risks identified (e.g. geographic-specific) to help the company determine how to improve working conditions for store employees.

There are various research studies conducted and are publicly available (see helpful resources) highlighting the social/human rights risks in retail stores.

Some of the risks that were identified were:

  • Low/ declining wages
  • Work schedule instability (just in time scheduling)
  • Working hours are often atypical
  • Work-life balance needs attention
  • Levels of employer-paid training are low
  • High levels of exposure to posture- and movement related risks
  • Job strain is an issue for workers in large workplaces

Lastly, 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 store 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 store employees.

Helpful Resources

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.

9.1 Who do you engage with? Please select all that apply:

  • 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 or landlords of store leases
  • Other (If Other, please describe)

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

Intent of the question

This question is intended to assess if and 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

The scope of this question is limited to activities taken to improve the working conditions for employees working in any of the stores owned by your company worldwide.

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.

Below are examples of initiatives that companies can participate in:

Europe

The Retail Forum is a multi-stakeholder platform set up in order to exchange best practices on sustainability in the European retail sector and to identify opportunities and barriers that may further or hinder the achievement of sustainable consumption and production.

United States of America

Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) is an American trade association headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. RILA promotes consumer choice and economic freedom through public policy and industry operational excellence. It recently also has added a diversity and inclusion initiative.

How this will be verified

Documentation required

  • 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 initiatives 
  • Records of outcome/feedback from stakeholder consultation/engagement

Intent of the question

This question intends to confirm if the company offers career advancement opportunities to store 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 store employees internally through either formal career advancement programs.
  • To answer ‘partial yes’ to this question, it means your company promotes store employees internally through informal career advancement programs.
  • When answering “no” to this question, this means your company does not promote store 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 store 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 the company, at a minimum, provides all legally required healthcare benefits to store employees.

Technical Guidance

All companies are expected to comply with local law and provide all legally required healthcare benefits to its store 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 store employees.
  • Did not provide health care benefits to store employees because local law already provides these benefits.
  • When answering “no” to this question, your company does not provide health care benefits to store 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 store 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 the company, at a minimum, provides all legally required retirement benefits to store employees.

Technical Guidance

All companies are expected to comply with local law and provide all legally required retirement benefits to their store 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 provided 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 store employees.
    • Did not provide retirement benefits to store employees because local law already provides these benefits.
  • When answering “no” to this question, your company does not provide retirement benefits to store 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 health care benefits to employees. 
  • Identify the individual(s) responsible for ensuring all store 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.

13.1 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 store 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.
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