In August 2018 Ethical Consumer viewed RSPB's website for the charity's supply chain management policy.
The following document was found: RSPB Ethical and Environmental Procurement Policy.

Supply chain policy (rudimentary)
The document stated "Suppliers must agree to the labour standards outlined in our ethical trading document for all products supplied. These standards are based on the Ethical Trade Initiative base code."
The document contained adequate clauses on forced labour, freedom of association, discrimination and living wages however it did not contain adequate clauses on child labour or working hours.
While it had a provision banning the employment of "any new child labour" it did not define the age at which a labourer was considered to be a child.
It also had a provision on working hours however the overtime was qualified by the it stated that it "should not be regualrly required".
Overall RSPB was considered to have a rudimentary approach to its supply chain policy.

Stakeholder engagement (poor)
The RSPB did not appear to be a member of a multi-stakeholder initiative or verifiying its supply chain through a third party.

Auditing and reporting (poor)
The RSPB did not report on how it monitored or audited its supply chain

Difficult issues (poor)
The RSPB did not appear to be addressing any difficult issues found within supply chains such as purchasing practices.

RSPB Sales Ltd was a trading subsidiary of the charity RSPB. In 2017 it had a turnover of £29m. It was therefore considered to be a medium size organisation. Overall it received a middle Ethical Consumer rating for its supply chain management policy.


RSPB Ethical and Environmental Procurement Policy (15 August 2018)

In August 2018 Ethical Consumer viewed the RSPB online shop and found that it sold a number of RSPB labelled cotton products that were not marked as organic or Fairtrade.

According to the Anti-Slavery international (ASI) website viewed by Ethical Consumer in June 2016, Uzbekistan was the fourth largest exporter of cotton in the world, and every year the government forcibly mobilised over one million citizens to grow and harvest cotton. Due to the high proportion of cotton likely to have come from Uzbekistan and the prevalence of forced labour in its production, the company lost half a mark in the Workers Rights category.

The Organic Trade Association website,, stated that cotton covered 2.5% of the world's cultivated land yet used 16% of the world's insecticides, more than any other major crop. Due to the impacts of the widespread use of pesticides in cotton production worldwide the company also lost half a mark in the Pollution & Toxics category.

According to the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), a non-profit pro-biotech organisation, genetically modified cotton accounted for 68% of cotton grown globally in 2014. Due to the prevalence of GM cotton in cotton supply chains and the lack of any evidence that the company avoided it, it was assumed that some of the company's cotton products contained some GM material. As a result it lost half a mark under the Genetic Engineering category.


RSPB Ethical and Environmental Procurement Policy (15 August 2018)