Next operates a Supplier Code of Practice (COP), which is our set of ethical trading standards and forms an integral part of our business. It was first issued in 1998 and the 6th revision was launched and issued in November 2013.
The Next COP has 10 key principles which stipulate the minimum standards we require our suppliers to comply with:
- No forced labour
- Freedom of association
- Healthy and safe working conditions
- No child labour
- Lawful wages and benefits
- Lawful working hours
- Equal opportunities
- Employment security
- Respectful treatment of employees
- Effective management systems
In 2002 Next became a member of the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) and since then has been actively involved in the ETI forum and working on various ETI projects. During 2006 the Next Code of Practice was revised to align it to the ETI Base Code.
Next employs a global team of full time COP auditors who visit our suppliers around the world to check their compliance with our Code. Another important part of the team’s job is to work together with our suppliers to help them achieve compliance. As well as looking at individual factories, a large part of the work of our auditors is aimed at dealing with the issues of non compliance at a wider level, for example:
- Working with suppliers to build capacity in local communities to ensure sustainable compliance
- Working in collaboration with both UK and international brands via the ETI forum
You can find out more about the work of the COP team in our Corporate Responsibility Report.