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Supplier code of conduct

1.0 Introduction
  • We intend to work only with reputable suppliers and manufacturers so that when customers buy goods from Debenhams, they can be assured that they have been produced under acceptable conditions.
  • "Acceptable conditions" means lawfully, through fair and honest dealing, without exploitation of the people who made them, in decent working conditions and with regard to the environment.
  • The Code of Conduct is a statement of our most basic requirements, which must be met in order to trade with Debenhams. A process of self-evaluation and independent inspection is in place, to assure its proper and practical application.
  • The Code is designed to be ethical, achievable, auditable, universal and to promote the ongoing development of Debenhams' sources of supply.
  • The Code applies to all suppliers of goods to Debenhams including any involved in subcontracted processes, referred to as 'suppliers'. It is the minimum standard that Debenhams will accept.
2.0 Legal Requirements
  • The provisions of the Code constitute minimum and not maximum standards, and the Code must not be used to prevent companies from exceeding these standards.
  • Companies applying the Code are expected to comply with national and other applicable law and where the provisions of law and the Code address the same subject, to apply that provision which affords the greater protection.
3.0 Employment
3.1 Living wages are paid
  • Wages and benefits paid for a standard working week meet, at a minimum, national legal standards or industry benchmark standards, whichever is higher. In any event wages should always be enough to meet basic needs and to provide some discretionary income.
  • All workers shall be provided with written and understandable information about their employment conditions in respect to wages before they enter employment and about the particulars of their wages for the pay period concerned each time that they are paid.
  • Deductions from wages as a disciplinary measure shall not be permitted nor shall any deductions from wages not provided for by national law be permitted without the expressed permission of the worker concerned. All disciplinary measures should be recorded.
3.2 Working hours are not excessive
  • Working hours comply with national laws and benchmark industry standards, whichever affords greater protection.
  • In any event, workers shall not on a regular basis be required to work in excess of 48 hours per week and shall be provided with at least one day off for every 7 day period on average.
  • Overtime shall be voluntary, shall not exceed 12 hours per week, shall not be demanded on a regular basis and shall always be compensated at a premium rate.
3.3 Employment of children
  • Child labour shall not be used and there shall be no new recruitment of child labour.
  • Companies shall develop or participate in and contribute to policies and programmes that provide for the transition of any child found to be performing child labour. This will enable him or her to attend and remain in quality education until no longer a child.
  • Children and young persons under 18 shall not be employed at night or in hazardous conditions.
  • The policies and procedures relating to employment of children shall conform to the provisions of the relevant International Labour Organisation (ILO) standards.
    The following are the definitions to be used for the above:
    'Child': Any person less than 15 years of age unless local minimum age law stipulates a higher age for work or mandatory schooling, in which case the higher age shall apply.
    'Young Person': Any worker over the age of a child as defined above and under the age of 18.
    'Child Labour': Any work by a child or young person younger than the age(s) specified in the above definitions, which does not comply with the provisions of the relevant ILO standards, and any work that is likely to be hazardous or to interfere with the child's or young person's education, or to be harmful to the child's or young person's health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development.
3.4 Employment is freely chosen
  • There is no forced, bonded or involuntary prison labour.
  • Workers are not required to lodge "deposits" or their identity papers with their employer and are free to leave their employer after reasonable notice.
3.5 Disciplinary practices
  • No harsh or inhumane treatment is allowed. Physical abuse or discipline, the threat of physical abuse, sexual or other harassment and verbal abuse or other forms of intimidation shall be prohibited.
3.6 No discrimination is practised
  • There is no discrimination in hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination or retirement based on race, caste, national origin, religion, age, disability, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, union membership or political affiliation.
3.7 Freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining are respected
  • Workers, without distinction, have the right to join or form trade unions of their own choosing and to bargain collectively.
  • The employer adopts an open attitude towards the activities of trade unions and their organisational activities.
  • Workers representatives are not discriminated against and have access to carry out their representative functions in the workplace.
  • Where the right to freedom of association and collective bargaining is restricted under law, the employer facilitates, and does not hinder, the development of parallel means for independent and free association and bargaining.
3.8 Regular employment is provided
  • To every extent possible, work performed must be on the basis of recognised employment relationship established through national law and practice.
  • Obligations to employees under labour or social security laws and regulations arising from the regular employment relationship shall not be avoided through the use of labour only contracting, subcontracting, or home-working arrangements, or through apprenticeship schemes where there is no real intent to impart skills or provide regular employment, nor shall any such obligations be avoided through the excessive use of fixed-term contracts of employment.
4.0 Working conditions are safe and hygenic
  • A safe and hygienic working environment shall be provided, bearing in mind the prevailing knowledge of the industry and of any specific hazards. Adequate steps shall be taken to prevent accidents and injury to health arising out of, associated with, or occurring in the course of work, by minimising, so far as is reasonably practicable, the causes of hazards inherent in the working environment.
  • Workers shall receive regular and recorded health and safety training, and such training shall be repeated for new or reassigned workers.
  • Access to clean toilet facilities and to potable water, and if appropriate, sanitary facilities for food storage shall be provided.
  • Accommodation, where provided, shall be clean, safe and meet the basic needs of the workers.
  • The company observing the code shall assign responsibility for health and safety to a senior management representative.
5.0 Environment
Suppliers must manage all waste that they generate in accordance with local laws or in such a way as to avoid harm to the environment or the local population.

Suppliers must comply with the relevant Debenhams policies listed below:
  • Animal Testing
  • Genetically Modified Organisms
  • Leather and Hides
  • Renewable Timber Sources
  • Safer Chemicals
In addition suppliers must comply with the packaging guidelines:
  • Garment Shrouding Guidelines
  • Accessories Shrouding Guidelines
  • Home Packaging Guidelines
6.0 Worker representation
  • Suppliers must have confidential procedures which allow worker representation for any issue concerning the labour standards referred to in the Code and which will enable protection for all workers and participation by workers who may be vulnerable, such as women and adolescents.
7.0 Monitoring
Suppliers must provide details of the factory producing goods for Debenhams and ensure that all reasonable access to the factory premises is allowed to Debenhams staff and their representatives for the purpose of monitoring, inspecting and assessing the implementation of the Code.

Senior management of suppliers must be appointed with responsibility for ensuring that:
  • All their component suppliers and subcontractors are aware of and comply with the Code.
  • Records are kept and made available to evidence that notification of the Code has been given and regular reviews and auditing have been undertaken.
8.0 Inspection and assessment
  • Debenhams staff or their representatives may make unannounced inspections of factories producing goods for Debenhams.
  • Suppliers must ensure that Debenhams are provided with all information necessary to allow implementation and verification of compliance with the Code.
  • Information obtained will be used in confidence.
9.0 Sanctions
  • Compliance with the requirements of the Code will be monitored and the results notified to the relevant suppliers.
  • In the event of failure to achieve the standards, a supplier may be given the opportunity to achieve them within a reasonable time to be agreed with Debenhams.
  • Whilst Debenhams will strive to ensure that all corrective actions are resolved through a successful partnership with suppliers and factories, if at the end of that agreed time, standards are still not achieved, depending on the severity of the failure, Debenhams may stop trading with the supplier concerned.
10.0 ILO Conventions
The Code of Conduct has been drawn up with reference to the International Labour Organisation Conventions and Recommendations listed below.

ILOC   1  

Hours of Work (Industry) Convention, 1919

ILOC   26  

Minimum Wage-Fixing Machinery Convention, 1928

ILOC   29  

Forced labour Convention, 1930

ILOR   85  

Protection of Wages Recommendation, 1949

ILOC   95  

Protection of Wages Convention, 1949

ILOC   98  

Right to Organise and Collective Bargaining Convention, 1949

ILOC   100  

Equal Remuneration Convention, 1951

ILOC   105  

Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957

ILOC   111  

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Convention, 1958

ILOR   111  

Discrimination (Employment and Occupation) Recommendation, 1958

ILOC   131  

Minimum Wage Fixing Convention, 1970

ILOC   138  

Minimum Age Convention, 1973

ILOR   146  

Minimum Age Recommendation, 1973

ILOC   155  

Occupational Safety and Health Convention, 1981

ILOR   164  

Occupational Safety and Health Recommendation, 1981

Article   32  

UN Convention on the Rights of a Child