Corporate Social Responsibility is everybody’s business. High profile exposures have led to some of the most significant global brands and retailers being negatively impacted as a result of their casual approach to social compliance. Best will help you manage this risk. Our dedicated teams of professionals will safeguard your business through a range of client-specific social compliance solutions.
Social Compliance Audits
Best’s social compliance audit is an objective assessment of the working conditions at a production site, providing a window into the factory and its compliance with all legal requirements, international standards and client-specific codes of conduct obligations.
Our audit methodology has been developed from unparalleled experiences of handling industry best practices in the context of multiple client-specific frameworks and product types. During a social compliance audit Best collects, compares and corroborates data from a variety of sources:
Tour of the Factory Site
Best auditors tour the production site, dormitories, canteen and warehousing facilities paying particular attention to health and safety violations. At this stage we take the opportunity to understand the operating procedures on the ground.
Document Review
Best auditors examine the facility’s operating licences, payroll and attendance records.
Private Worker Interviews
Confidential interviews are held by Best with a sample of workers in the absence of factory management in order that the information ascertained can be corroborated.
Corrective Action Planning
We work closely with your suppliers. After the audit is complete, all of the problems that were identified are addressed with a Corrective Action Plan. This is developed after consulting with the factory. During this remediation process Best proposes solutions to your supplier and binds it to a schedule securing a genuine commitment that it will resolve all problems within a workable timeframe. The identification of problems is not difficult. Best sets itself apart from the competition with its implementation of long lasting solutions for remedying factory problems.
Follow-up Audits
Expert monitoring teams will revisit your supplier to ensure that the factory is doing all that it can to efficiently bring itself into compliance.
Best is committed to raising your suppliers’ standards enabling you to work with the broadest range of factories possible.
Factory Training
Achieving security and social compliance across a vast production network poses a unique set of challenges. With factory security criteria under development and social compliance standards being both numerous and subject to change, many of your vendors are in need of guidance.
We operate our own proprietary training program, leveraging the extensive remediation expertise of our social compliance and factory security teams, that will educate your vendors in the requisite procedures to ensure that minimum standards are met.
Factory Remediation Plans
One of the major challenges for any company evaluating their overseas manufacturing facilities for ethical compliance is the prevalence of falsified records or double books. Having been exposed to social compliance for some years now, some factories have learned through experience how to deceive auditors. One of the most common methods is the maintenance of double books, which saves money through the non-payment of regulatory expenses.
Best has considerable experience of handling double books. Despite there being no magic solution, Best has managed to deliver significant results via long-term continuous improvement programs developed in close partnership with both the buyer and factory. The factory commits to incremental improvements based upon realistic and achievable targets.
Once the factory has made a commitment to transparency a baseline audit is performed. This assessment is followed up by in-house training and a series of consultations according to the agreed timeline to confirm that the remediation is on schedule. Under this program the factory provides complete transparency and moves incrementally towards full compliance in accordance with the local laws and any client-specific regulations.
Double books are a complex issue and developing policies and standards to tackle it requires careful consideration. Best will work with you to formulate the most appropriate strategy for your company.
Best’s CSR auditing service includes, but is not limited to the following:
COC [Code of Conduct]
Assessments are typically measured against the client’s COC and/or industry codes of conduct and local labour laws using our experienced local staff. The structure of each assessment is adjusted to meet client objectives, country specific challenges and any available worksite history. Assessments generally include an opening and closing meeting with management, visual/physical inspection, document/records review, and most importantly confidential worker interviews.
SAS [Social Accountability and Sustainability]
Currently in China the state of legal and regulatory requirements and human rights is still lacking in comparison to other international standards. As such it is difficult for the existing social auditing standards of some enterprises to meet the higher standards of a corporate social responsibility that would be expected by Best. Due to the disparity between the auditing standards of Best and some of the enterprises being audited, and the acceptance of lower standards of the clients, it leaves room for an element of bribery and resulting scandals to take place.
Owing to the low bar set by the enterprises, in order that they are approved by auditors, there is potential for a variety of dishonest ways to be exploited. These include making false government documents, inaccurate wages and hours, welfare fraud. Another problem is outright inaccurate reporting that does not reflect the real situation that the business is in.
As a trusted third party partner for many international traders, brands and other organisations, Best has gathered other auditing firms, brands, retailers, NGOs, factories and groups concerned with the development of social responsibility to discuss CSR development in China.
We define CSER (Corporate Social Environmental Responsibility) as the management of business operations in an economically, ethically and environmentally sustainable manner that takes into account the diverse interests of stakeholders, which in turn enhances the corporations branding in the global arena.
Best aims to drive transparency and continuous improvement and development of CSR systems in order to help our business partners to inspire, encourage and facilitate corporate social and environmental responsibility awareness and practices among their supply chain factories. As such social accountability and sustainability should pay particular attention to the following five points:
1) Corporate management concept of human rights
2) ealth and safety with emphasis on fire safety risk assessment
3) Occupational health regulation
4) Salaries and benefits
5) Business ethics
Best is run and staffed by a group of experienced compliance experts with passion and a belief in the sustainable improvement of workplace conditions. The firm operates entirely independently without influence from other parties, organisations or interest groups, living by the values of integrity and impartiality. The work that we produce is carried out professionally and with due diligence.
Best is committed to helping the client progress towards a position of social responsibility whereby the true nature of the enterprise is exposed, abandoning fraud and all forms of bad practice in order to meet the needs of all aspects of compliance.
Sedex [Supplier Ethical Data Exchange]
Sedex information exchange is a not for profit membership association, that operates for the benefit of all of its members. It is incorporated in the UK as a company limited by guarantee. We are home to the world’s largest platform for sharing responsibly sourced data on supply chains.
Best conducts on site SMETA audits at factories around the globe to assess how labour, health and safety, environmental and business ethics standards are being met. Sedex members are then allowed to store, share and report on this information in a secure online database, in an effort to improve working conditions in the global supply chain.
SMETA audits performed by Best are designed to be accepted by all Sedex A and Sedex AB members, as well as other customers and stakeholders in order to:
* Reduce audit fatigue by providing a universally accepted audit format
* Motivate the workforce thus improving efficiency in the work place
* Enhance ethical trading programs currently in place
* Answers questions on ethical performance from non-governmental organisations and customers
Best became a member of Sedex in 2014 as a trusted third party partner gaining the approval of a plethora of brands and importers for our SMETA , some of which include but are not limited to: Wal-Mart,Home Retail, Beige Bell, Bonmarche, E.D. Oates, John Lewis, Kaemingk, Li and Fung, Downland Bedding, Legacy Licensing, Ted Baker and so on.