The year 2014 marks the launch of BSCI's new Code of Conduct, a set of core principles and values that provides a powerful and ambitious reference point to support retail and other importing companies towards the integration of an innovative vision of business that places social responsibility at its core. Based on BSCI’s more than a decade of experience, the new BSCI Code is supported by extensive stakeholder feedback from Europe and sourcing countries, gathered during an open consultation process that lasted for over a year. Thus, the new BSCI Code marks a timely and enduring response to the rapidly transforming demands on the international supply chain for improved business practices and greater transparency.
As a business-driven initiative, BSCI supports companies towards building a successful business model where social and environmental performance goes hand-in-hand with economic considerations. Social compliance is not only a legal obligation but also an opportunity for companies to strengthen their business long term. In this context, the new BSCI Code firmly acknowledges the crucial importance of responsible entrepreneurship to the supply chain today.
11 Principles Aiming at the Highest Labour Protection
While the BSCI Code still calls on producers to comply with the most important labour standards as set by national laws and ILO Core Conventions, two new principles have been added:
- Ethical Behaviour requires participants to collect and communicate accurate information regarding the company's activities, structure and performance, and to counter corruption.
- No Precarious Employment asks producers to ensure workers have documented contracts or that there is documentary evidence of a working contract in compliance with national law. Workers should also be provided with information about their rights.
The 11 principles of the BSCI Code are additionally reinforced by the BSCI Terms of Implementation, the BSCI Glossary and the BSCI Reference, which provide explicit guidance for all participants and business partners to set the Code in motion throughout their supply chains.
Social Responsibility at the Core of Business
The new BSCI Code of Conduct emphasises the benefits of a broad approach to improved working conditions. It underlines the importance for businesses to develop the necessary systems to prevent any risk that may be detected in their supply chain as well as to cascade social responsibility throughout the supply chain.
Risk assessment places an obligation on participating companies to address and mitigate adverse effects in their supply chain, while the cascade principle empowers them to cascade the opportunities that lie in responsible behaviour through to the different actors in the supply chain, thus allowing increased leverage and impact.
The new BSCI Code also gives greater emphasis to the engagement of workers and their representatives, as well as establishing grievance mechanisms as a key means to promote improvements in working conditions. BSCI will continue to support companies through a variety of training sessions to build on business partners' and workers' knowledge and achieve greater results. In this way, each and every actor in the supply chain is empowered to take proactive responsibility in improving working conditions.
Building on cooperation with stakeholders, the improvement of working conditions in the international supply chain will continue to be an essential value of the BSCI and its participating companies. BSCI strongly believes that the new code better empowers all actors to tackle the modern challenges of a globalised supply chain and better reflects their sincere interest in improving working conditions at every opportunity.