Ethical sourcing and modern slavery

Officeworks’ suppliers are required to adhere to its Ethical Sourcing and Modern Slavery Policy. The policy is built upon the standards set by the International Labour Organisation and the principles of the Ethical Trading Initiative.

Throughout the year, Officeworks reviewed over 500 audits of suppliers, working with key stakeholders to address non-conformances to improve working conditions for those in the supply chain and to ensure that the policy is upheld. Approximately 10 per cent of all audits reviewed contained at least one critical issue as determined in accordance with  Sedex’s Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA) criticality ratings. The most common issues related to poor record keeping and excessive working hours. In these instances, suppliers are given up to three months to remediate the issues and provide independent evidence to demonstrate that the issue has been adequately resolved. Officeworks’ preference is to work collaboratively with all stakeholders, seeking alternative suppliers only when it is evident that the existing supplier is unwilling or unable to address non-conformances.

This year Officeworks welcomed the introduction of Australian modern slavery laws, which establish a national reporting requirement. In preparation, Officeworks completed an independent gap analysis to ensure that the scope and governance of its ethical sourcing program is effective and to understand opportunities for continuous improvement. As a result of the review, Officeworks increased its focus on suppliers of goods not for resale and services and is developing an approach to investigate key suppliers beyond the primary site of manufacturing as its program expands to consider suppliers of raw materials.

In addition to improving the working conditions of the people in the imported merchandise supply chain, Officeworks acknowledges that Australia is not free from ethical sourcing risks and will continue to work with all local suppliers, particularly those in industries where there are known issues, to investigate and remediate issues should they arise.