Responsible sourcing

Global sourcing is an essential part of our business and provides many benefits for us and our customers as well as benefiting the countries involved. It also brings with it an increased level of responsibility for labour standards and human rights issues in our supply chain, which we share with our suppliers. At Mothercare we feel as passionately about these issues as we know our employees and customers do.

Responsible Sourcing is a key pillar of Mothercare Group’s Corporate Responsibility programme. Our social and environmental commitments go hand-in-hand with our vision to be the leading global retailer for parents and young children.

Responsible Sourcing refers to our specific requirements and expectations of suppliers in terms of providing decent, safe and fair working conditions for their employees and treating them with dignity, and reducing the environmental impacts of their operations. Suppliers that reach levels of excellence in responsible sourcing are more likely to benefit from productive and committed workforces which deliver good quality products, on time.

Our Approach

We are active members of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and our Code of Practice is based on the ETI's Base Code, which outlines the labour standards expected at factories. Our Code of Practice can be downloaded here.

The Code covers:

  • Bribery and corruption is prohibited
  • No forced labour
  • Workers can choose to join a trade union
  • Safe and hygienic working conditions
  • No child labour
  • Wages are reasonable and fair
  • Reasonable working hours
  • No discrimination
  • Regular employment
  • No physical or verbal abuse
  • Disciplinary and grievance
  • Environmental impacts

Before production is approved, all factories must provide an independent social audit to demonstrate that they comply with our Code. Our internal Responsible Sourcing (RS) teams based in our sourcing offices review and grade these audits.

Our RS teams cover Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam where they carry out announced and unannounced assessments of factories and support them to implement improvements.

By using both third party audit information and our own internal teams, we increase the visibility of our supply chain and focus on working with factories to make sustainable improvements based on systems which address root causes.

Collaboration with Stakeholders

In addition to our own work, we believe that dialogue and collaboration with stakeholders such as other brands and retailers, investors, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), government and industry bodies, is the most effective way to influence long-lasting improvements. Concerns identified during factory audits are often industry-wide and cannot be resolved by individual retailers. In order to address this, we are signatories of the Bangladesh Accord on Building and Fire Safety and continue to be members of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), working with groups such as the China Caucus group and the Southern India working group. 

You can read about this year's Responsible Sourcing projects in our annual report under Corporate Responsibility.

*ETI – the Ethical Trading Initiative is a tri-partite membership organisation – Companies, Non-government organisations and trade unions work together to identify and promote best practice in implementing codes of labour practice. For more information visit the ETI web site www.ethicaltrade.org

Turkey Programme

As part of our Responsible Sourcing programme in Turkey, we work with the Ethical Trading Initiative, our suppliers and other stakeholders to ensure that our suppliers’ factories meet our code of practice. We have been concerned about reports of exploitation of Syrian refugees in Turkish garment factories and have therefore developed a Syrian Refugees in Turkish Factories Policy and Remediation Guidelines, which has been translated into Turkish and Arabic and shared with all suppliers.

We carry out due diligence against this policy in the form of unannounced factory assessments to ensure our suppliers understand and apply these standards. If exploitation of Syrian refugees is found, we are committed to working with the supplier, a local NGO and the worker in question to ensure that workers are treated fairly and lawfully.

Mothercare supplier clothing factory, Dhaka, Bangladesh