Ethical trading

Bonmarché is committed to supporting suppliers in maintaining appropriate standards in relation to ethics and responsible business practices. To monitor compliance, we regularly visit our suppliers and engage with them on a number of programmes focussed on ethical standards.

Bonmarché’s suppliers are contracted to abide by standards specified by us in our supplier code of conduct, in line with retail industry standards. As a minimum requirement, suppliers must provide employees a safe place of work, whereby all local laws relating to health, safety and welfare in the workplace are met. In 2018, we held our first supplier conference which entailed the top 20 suppliers (representing 80% of our annual stock purchases) attending briefings at our Head Office in Wakefield.

In 2017 we published our first Modern Slavery Statement in accordance with the Modern Slavery Act 2015, which sets out the steps taken by Bonmarché to prevent modern slavery and human trafficking in its business and supply chains. Our next Modern Slavery Statement will be published on our website in September 2018.

Bonmarché joined the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) in July 2013 as a foundation stage member and in December 2015 became a full member of the ETI. The ETI is an alliance of companies, trade unions and voluntary organisations with a commitment to ethical trade, who adopt the ETI base code, widely acknowledged as a model code of labour practice derived from the Conventions of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that they expect all their suppliers to work towards. Since 1998, the ETI has been working in partnership with its members to improve the lives of workers in global supply chains. In addition to adopting the base code, members of the ETI must also agree to adopt the ETI’s Principles of Implementation.

These require members to:

  • demonstrate a clear commitment to ethical trade;
  • integrate ethical trade into their core business practices;
  • drive year-on-year improvements to working conditions;
  • support suppliers to improve working conditions, for example through advice and training;
  • report openly and accurately about their activities.

In July 2013, Bonmarché signed the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh, a five-year legally binding agreement between 70 international labour organisations, non-governmental organisations, and retailers to further the goal of a safe, sustainable Bangladesh Ready-Made Garment industry in which no worker needs to fear fires, building collapses, or other accidents that could be prevented with reasonable health and safety measures. The Accord was sponsored and created by the IndustriALL Global Union and the UNI Global Union in alliance with leading NGOs, the Clean Clothes Campaign and the Workers Rights Consortium.

Our suppliers and their production sites are required by us to complete periodic third-party audits based on the principles of the ETI Base Code.