At The Children’s Place, we believe we have a responsibility to the people, communities and the environment that our business impacts. We are committed to operating with the highest ethical standards in every aspect of our business, including our supply chain operations. We expect the agents, vendors and factories with which we partner to also hold themselves to high ethical standards. We make every effort to do business with only those organizations that share these values and respect workers’ rights.
Our supply chain spans dozens of countries through a network of hundreds of factories. We recognize that the factory workers who make our products deserve decent work in safe and healthy conditions. To protect factory workers’ rights, we have developed a Supplier Code of Conduct and detailed requirements that we expect all approved vendors and factories to follow.
In 2014, we updated our Supplier Code of Conduct to further reflect internationally accepted norms and to align with industry best practice. Furthermore, these standards are informed by the International Labor Organization (ILO)’s core conventions, the United Nation’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and the United States’ Occupational Safety & Health Administration’s (OSHA) law and regulations. The Code represents the foundation of our responsible sourcing commitment. We conducted workshops for factories in major sourcing markets in order to help factory managers understand our expectations and collaborate on solutions to some of their most pressing challenges.
Our goal is to continuously improve working conditions in The Children’s Place supply chain. Factory monitoring is a tool that helps provide insight into true factory working conditions. It is only with this information that we can understand a factory’s challenges, help identify root causes of non-compliance and support the necessary corrective action plans toward continuous improvement and compliance with our standards.
Every factory proposed to produce our product must undergo an initial social responsibility evaluation. While we have established minimum standards for factory approval, we do not take a pass/fail approach. We will gladly work with – and reward – good factories that demonstrate a willingness to improve and a genuine desire to work in an honest, transparent fashion.
Our policy is to audit all approved factories for compliance with social responsibility standards at least one a year. For those factories that perform poorly, we will provide guidance on corrective action and visit more frequently. In Fiscal 2013, we achieved a 98% audit rate of all factories approved for production.
Unfortunately, there are cases where persistent non-compliance or refusal to invest in continuous improvement occurs. In such instances, The Children’s Place reserves the right to cancel current or future orders or terminate our business relationship. Except for egregious violations, it is our preference to work with each facility to remediate and achieve compliance rather than to terminate our relationship.
Using our own internal auditors, as well as professional third-party auditors, The Children’s Place conducts factory monitoring visits to assess the working conditions of the facilities from which we source. Each audit involves a thorough inspection of the facility, private interviews with factory workers, as well as a review of compensation and attendance records.
Any manufacturer, factory, facility, supplier or entity which will produce or manufacture merchandise or components of merchandise, labels and packaging for The Children’s Place must undergo a social audit and, at a minimum, demonstrate compliance with all critical requirements of our Supplier Code of Conduct before an order is placed. Remediation must be verified and accepted by The Children’s Place before production may begin.
We reserve the right to conduct, and do conduct, unannounced factory visits at any time during the manufacturing process, at our sole discretion.
The Children’s Place is proud to be a global Better Work Buyer Partner and supports this collaborative initiative between the International Labor Organization and the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation. We believe the Better Work program, with a model focused on assessment, worker-management dialogue and support of factories’ continuous improvement efforts, is able to lead meaningful, sustainable, positive change in the garment industry.
Furthermore, by subscribing to and purchasing Better Work factory assessments, we commit to suspending our regular social responsibility of auditing of factories whenever possible. In this way, we hope to ease the burden on factories which have historically undergone duplicative audits by multiple brands for compliance with the same social and environmental standards. Where it is available, we encourage suppliers to enroll in the Better Work assessment program, send appropriate personnel to attend local Better Work training and use Better Work resources and freely available guidance material.
As of 2014, we subscribe to Better Work factory assessments in the countries below, and we will seek opportunities to subscribe to assessments in new countries where the Better Work program expands.
When factories are honest and transparent about their challenges in managing working hours, payroll and overall social compliance systems, The Children’s Place may recommend one or several expert service providers whose training or consultative methods aim to achieve positive business performance and improved factory working conditions. Where appropriate, we will encourage factories to participate in a factory improvement program that will typically result in improved factory productivity, reduced waste or other positive business outcomes.
At The Children’s Place, we believe protecting workers’ rights goes beyond compliance with a safe and healthy workplace. We encourage suppliers to give back to their workers and communities and strive to work with more suppliers who make community investment a priority.
As part of our own commitment to investing in workers and local communities, The Children’s Place is collaborating with key suppliers to launch HERproject, an innovative worker education program focused on health and nutrition. Since launching in 2007, HERproject has reached more than 200,000 workers around the world and has demonstrated:
The Children’s Place has embraced HERproject as a key part of our global Social Responsibility program and as an effective method to help sustain improved worker-management relations and overall factory working conditions. We believe HERproject is an effective way for The Children’s Place to support factory transparency and continuous improvement. It also provides greater insight into factory working conditions, complementing our audit program.
In July 2013, we hosted an event in Bangladesh to educate all our Bangladesh suppliers and other key stakeholders about the program. The session was designed to support factories through HERproject as it continues to scale in Bangladesh, a key sourcing country for us.
To date, we have launched HERproject with suppliers in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and Vietnam. We’ve identified partners in Cambodia, China, Indonesia and Pakistan, where we hope to launch soon.
The Children’s Place is committed to increasing transparency in our supply chain toward preventing human trafficking and forced labor and avoiding indirect support of human rights abuses or of fueling regional conflicts. We follow the below protocol to protect our supply chain from these risks.
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The Children’s Place, 500 Plaza Drive, Secaucus, NJ 07094, www.childrensplace.com.