Our suppliers

Worked with

510

suppliers in 39 countries

Carried out

1,945

compliance audits

Global Code of Practice team

45

 

NEXT sources its products from many countries around the world. Safety within the workplace is of paramount importance and we recognise the responsibility we have to the workers in our supply chain. The Next Code of Practice (COP) for suppliers is our programme of ethical trading standards and forms an integral part of our business. We specify the requirements before production can commence, that will provide workers with a safe and healthy environment, in accordance with all relevant local and national laws and legislation. We are committed to ensure NEXT product is made by workers who are treated honestly and fairly for the work they do and with respect for their human rights and wellbeing.

Our Code is aligned to the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) Base Code and reflects the most relevant international standards with respect to labour practices. We are a long-standing member of the ETI which is an alliance of companies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and trade unions working collaboratively to ensure the working conditions and rights of workers producing for the UK market meet or exceed international labour standards.

Approach

Our ethical trading programme priorities are to:

  • Develop and improve workers’ conditions, including safety and human rights, within our supply chain
  • Communicate and support the achievement of compliance to our ethical standards with suppliers
  • Support our suppliers through partnership to achieve continuous improvement
  • Implement sustainable programmes and initiatives with suppliers to improve their capacity and ability to deliver ethical values
  • Work in collaboration with others, to pursue solutions for some of the more complex and systemic problems within the global supply chain that we cannot resolve alone

We achieve this through our Next employed global COP team of 45 whose role is to build relationships with our suppliers through training and support, as well as undertaking auditing their factories to meet the baseline requirements and ten key principles of our Code:

  • No child labour
  • Freedom of association
  • Healthy and safe working conditions
  • No forced labour
  • Fair wages and benefits
  • Equal opportunities
  • Employment security
  • Respectful treatment of workers
  • Reasonable working hours
  • Effective management systems

Our auditing programme ensures that factory management understands and is engaged with NEXT standards and COP requirements. The factory audit is carried out by our own team of NEXT auditors, which gives us the advantage of continuing the development of a direct relationship with our suppliers and their factories. By carrying out the audit ourselves we gain a comprehensive view of how our suppliers are complying with our COP standards and the challenges they face. Our audits can be announced or unannounced. Each audited factory is progressively graded against the NEXT COP using a category rating system of 1 to 6, with category 1 being a factory which is fully compliant to our Code. The frequency of re-audit is determined by the audit rating achieved.

Performance

During the year the team carried out more than 1,900 audits and re-audits, an increase of 20% on the previous year.

2014 2013
Next global COP team resource 45 45
Countries where the product is manufactured 39 40
Suppliers worked with 510 512
Factory sites used 1,851 1,858
Factory sites audited A 1,673 1,357
Total audits carried out A 1,945 1,554
Suppliers’ factories disengaged for non-compliance to our code 12 22

A indicates the data has been assured by PwC.

Progress

Human Rights – Next is committed to upholding all basic human rights as outlined in the United Nations’ Guiding Principles of Business and Human Rights. From our initial risk assessment we have identified labour rights in our supply chain is a key potential impact area and is currently monitored and managed through the COP programme which reflects international labour conventions.

Collaboration – We recognise the importance of working together with other retailers, brands, international trade unions and partner NGO organisations to pursue solutions for some of the more complex, systemic problems within global supply chains that we cannot solve alone. In collaboration, we have undertaken projects such as helping guard against illegal employment schemes which could include human trafficking, forced labour or retention of wages; ensuring homeworkers are not exploited and their earnings are protected and ensuring workers have freedom of association. Some of the countries we have focused our work in are Bangladesh, Cambodia, India and Sri Lanka.

Communication – We communicate with suppliers in a number of ways such as through our Supplier Extranet and COP team supplier visits. This is to both offer support to suppliers to help make their systems more effective and bring about improvements in how they operate as well as setting, agreeing and reviewing targets for improvement.
Internal communication is vital to managing the ethical standards within our supply base with our product teams receiving regular updates to raise awareness of issues, current risks and the important role they play in our ethical trading programme.

Challenges and Targets

For NEXT, ethical trade means addressing key business-related social and ethical impacts. Continuous improvement lies at the heart of our business, and we are constantly looking at ways to ensure we run our business in a responsible way by acting in an ethical manner and developing positive relationships with our suppliers, to raise standards of working conditions in the factories where our products are made.