SETTING HIGH STANDARDS
OUR CODE OF CONDUCT
We’ve been a member of the independent Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) since 2006 and have held the top level of leadership since 2011. As a member, we have a Code of Conduct in place which incorporates the ETI’s Base Code, which is in turn based on the standards of the International Labour Organisation (ILO), a United Nations body.
The Primark Code of Conduct is the backbone of the Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Programme. It is a robust set of requirements that forms a key part of the terms and conditions of a supplier’s contract with us. Every factory must commit to meeting it before we’ll work with them. We audit every factory at least once a year, sometimes more, to check whether the standards in our code are being met.
The Code sets out 12 core principles. These range from our zero tolerance for issues like child labour and bribery through to the need for factory managers to respect workers’ right to form a trade union, and to ensure workers do not work excessive hours. It also includes our expectation that every factory should be maintaining appropriate environmental practices.
The Primark Code of Conduct has been translated into 44 languages and is available to suppliers and their factories across our supply chain. It can be downloaded here.
Primark is a large retailer with an international footprint. We recognise that we have an opportunity to positively impact standards within the garment and textile industry and throughout our supply chain.
That’s where our Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Team comes in. It is made up of more than 100 experts who work closely with our suppliers and their factories to help them meet the standards set out in our Code of Conduct.
The team is largely based in the countries where our products are manufactured such as Bangladesh and China. Many of the team are local to the country they are based in, so they understand the local language and culture. As our eyes and ears on the ground, they work directly with our suppliers, as well as with local NGOs, charities, trade unions and other brands and retailers to carry out our Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Programme.
They bring together a range of knowledge and expertise. From structural engineers and expert auditors, to environmental specialists, each member of our team enables us to drive improvements throughout our supply chain.
Every year the team delivers over 7000 hours of training for factory management and workers. This could be in areas such as best practice in HR processes, fire safety or chemical management. Training initiatives are often delivered in partnership with local organisations, who are experts in the local language and culture.
Our Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Team is responsible for implementing our Code of Conduct as well as additional programmes and policies. These include Primark’s compliance with the UK Modern Slavery Act; implementing our structural safety programme; and working in collaboration with global and local experts as well as other brands and retailers on programmes designed to drive improvements across the textile industry.
We provide regular updates and information on the progress of our Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Programme. We make public statements on certain commitments such as the Modern Slavery Act and share reports detailing the progress we are making in certain areas of our programme. These include how we are working towards particular commitments, and what steps we are taking to address a specific issue. Some reports are written in response to a group’s request for information, whilst others are more regular, such as our annual report to the Ethical Trading Initiative.
Primark’s parent company Associated British Food plc (ABF) has an annual Corporate Social Responsibility report which includes information on the latest work of Primark’s Ethical Trade and Environmental Sustainability Team.
You can read a selection of reports and statements that outline the progress we’re making here.