In September 2017 Ethical Consumer viewed A. G. Barr’s website for information on how the company managed workers' rights in its supply chain.
Supply chain policy (reasonable)
A strong policy would include the following commitments: no use of forced labour, permission of freedom of association, payment of a living wage, the restriction of working hours to 48 hours plus 12 overtime (without exception), no use of a child labour (under 15 or 14 if ILO exempt), no discrimination by race, sex or for any other reason.
Ethical Consumer downloaded A. G. Barr’s Ethical Trading Policy from its website. The policy contained the following commitments: no use of forced labour, permission of freedom of association, the restriction of working hours to 48 hours plus 12 overtime (without exception), no discrimination by race, sex or for any other reason, and no child labour under 15 years of age, citing the ILO Convention 138.
The policy stated, ‘A.G. BARR p.l.c. requires all of its Suppliers to comply.’
Ethical Consumer also viewed A.G. Barr’s Modern Slavery Statement 2017, which stated that the company was a UK Living Wage accredited employer. However this commitment did not apply to A. G. Barr’s whole supply chain.
A. G. Barr was considered to have a reasonable supply chain policy overall.
Stakeholder engagement (poor)
Ethical Consumer deemed it necessary for companies to demonstrate stakeholder engagement, such as through membership of the Ethical Trade Initiative, Fair Labour Association or Social Accountability International. Companies were also expected to engage with Trade Unions, NGOs and/or not-for-profit organisations which could systematically verify the company's supply chain audits, and for workers to have access to an anonymous complaints system, free of charge and in their own language. Ethical Consumer could not find information on any of the above for this company.
Auditing and Reporting (poor)
Ethical Consumer deemed it necessary for companies to have an auditing and reporting system. Results of audits should be publicly reported and quantitatively analysed. The company should have a scheduled and transparent audit plan that applies to their whole supply chain, including some second tier suppliers. The company should also have a staged policy for non-compliance. The costs of the audit should be borne by the company. Ethical Consumer could not find information on any of the above for this company.
Difficult issues (poor)
Ethical Consumer also deemed it necessary for companies to address other difficult issues in their supply chains. This would include ongoing training for agents, or rewards for suppliers, or preference for long term suppliers. It would also include acknowledgement of audit fraud and unannounced audits, and measures taken to address the issue of living wages, particularly among outworkers, and illegal freedom of association.
A. G. Barr did not discuss stakeholder engagement, auditing and reporting, or difficult issues on its website, therefore it received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Supply Chain Management overall.
www.agbarr.co.uk/about-us/faqs/ (4 October 2017)