Policies and Ethical Trading

Our Policies on Ethical Trading

We are very careful about who we work with and regularly audit our suppliers to ensure they are upholding our core values in relation to ethical trading, human rights and modern slavery. You can find out more about how we deal with all of these areas in the links below:

Going ‘Beyond the Audit’

Our Managing Director, Steve Plackett, explains how we go ‘beyond the audit’ to ensure ethical trading is being upheld:

“Ethical standards remain a key focus. We have to re-new our efforts to ensure all our manufacturing is of the highest ethical standards that we can achieve and there is always more that can be done.

It is very easy for publishers like us to do a tick box exercise and, sadly, it is all too easy for certain manufacturers around the world to obtain relevant certification by using the usual tricks in the trade to obtain it.

Assuming you have been sent a SEDEX 2 or 4-pillar audit report from a factory, in my view going beyond the audit means:

A personal visit gets to the bottom of these things quite quickly and we have to go ‘BEYOND THE AUDIT’ to keep our focus on this area. It takes time and cost and resource to do this, but it is part of our ethos to do this.

Visit the factory personally: the auditors cannot cover everything, and the factories need to know that you care about ethical trading and the environment.
Check the factory is the same factory that has been audited. It might not be!
A factory could have a perfect audit, but still not have the right equipment to manufacture calendars (or cards or stationery) and therefore a lot could be subcontracted. A personal visit makes this easy to check. An auditor is unlikely to pick this up.
Read the audit, don’t just file it. The audit may have been conducted at an address that basically just does the invoicing and employs twenty staff members whereas the factory may employ one thousand staff in a sister company, and so avoids being checked.
Read the audit details and the CAPR (Critical Action Plan Report). This almost certainly will have the main audit findings and things that the factory should complete in a given timeframe. Some of these can be critical and have to be followed up. This takes time as each action plan needs reviewing and timelines need recording.
Work with the factory to help them meet the standards you want. If they are inexperienced, they will need and appreciate the help.  
If an audit is 100% perfect, I would question it. For a factory, it’s a tough job going through an audit process and, in my experience, the best factories still have areas to improve on.  Similarly, I’ve visited very poor factories with perfect audits. So, all isn’t what it may seem.”