In February 2020, Ethical Consumer received a completed questionnaire from Beiersdorf, which pointed to pages on the company’s website which detailed the company’s approach to managing workers’ rights issues in its supply chain. These pages were viewed along with the company’s 2018 Sustainability Review document.

Supply chain policy (reasonable)

A strong supply chain 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.

Beiersdorf’s Code of Conduct for Suppliers was found to have adequate policies for child labour, forced labour, discrimination, freedom of association and working hours. The company's policy on wages was found to be inadequate as it only required the payment of legal minimum wages, not a living wage.
The company stated that 90% of its procurement volume was contractually secured by the Supplier Code of Conduct.

Overall, Edgewell Personal Care was considered to have a reasonable supply chain policy.

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.

Beiersdorf was found to be a member of two industry organisations involved in work related to supply chain sustainability, these were AIM-PROGRESS and Sedex. However, neither of these organisations was considered to be a multi-stakeholder initiative, as they did not appear to include the participation of unions or civil society members.
No mention was found of thrid-party involvement in the verification of labour standard audits.

Details of an anonymous complaints process were only found for the company’s own staff and not for supply chain workers.

Overall, Beiersdorf was considered to have a poor approach to stakeholder engagement.

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.

The company stated: “We require significant-risk suppliers to complete the Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ) on the Sedex platform: This determines the need for a Responsible Sourcing Audit”
No details were found of audit results or analysis or a scheduled audit plan. The auditing process did not appear to apply to the whole supply chain, only those deemed to be high-risk.

No mention of audit costs was found.

Overall, Beiersdorf was considered to have a poor approach to auditing and reporting

Difficult issues (rudimentary)

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.
Beiersdorf’s Code of Conduct for Suppliers addressed the issue of illegal Freedom of Association. It stated: “In situations where the rights to freedom of association and collective negotiations are limited by law, other opportunities must be granted for the independent and free union of the employees for collective negotiation. Employee representatives are to be protected against discrimination. They are to be granted free access to the workplaces of their colleagues, in order to ensure that they are able to utilise their rights in a legal and peaceful form.”
No mention was found of other difficult issues, therefore Bieresdorf’s approach to difficult issues was considered to be rudimentary.

Overall, Beiersdorf received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for Supply Chain Management and lost half a mark in this category.

Reference:

Sustainability Review 2018 (12 February 2020)

Tchibo was one of the brands ranked in The Fashion Transparency Index 2019, which reviews and ranks 200 of the biggest global fashion and apparel brands and retailers according to how much information they disclose about their suppliers, supply chain policies and practices, and social and environmental impact.

Fashion Revolution is a global movement calling for a fairer, safer, cleaner and more transparent clothing industry, born after the fire of the Rana Plaza building in 2013 in Bangladesh in which 1138 people died and 2500 were injured.
Since then, Fashion Revolution wants to unite people and organisations to work together to change the way clothes are sourced, produced and consumed across the whole value chain, from farmer to consumer.
The companies were selected on the basis of annual turnover over 500 million US$ including hight street, luxury, premium, sportswear, accessories, footwear and denim from across Europe, North America, South America and Asia.
Out of the 200 brands selected in 2019, 52% did not respond to the survey, 46% completed and returned the questionnaire and 2% declined the opportunity to complete the questionnaire.
The results showed that 10 brands (5%) score 0%, the average score was 53 out of 250 (21%), only 5 brands scored higher than 60%. Not a single brand scored above 70%.

The Fashion Revolution Transparency Index 2019 looked at 5 key areas: policy and commitments, governance, traceability, know / show and fix, and spotlight issues.

Tchibo scored 48.80%, and was among the 16 companies scoring between 41 and 50%. The company lost half a mark for secondary criticism under Human Rights.

It scored:

Policy and Commitments: 44 out of 49

Governance: 8 out of 12

Traceability: 35 out of 85

Know, show and fix: 22 out of 70

Spotlight issues: 13 out of 34

Reference:

Fashion Transparency Index 2019 (15 July 2019)

In February 2020, Ethical Consumer viewed Beiersdorf's 2018 Annual Report, which listed subsidiaries in the following countries: Russia, Turkey, Mexico, China, Egypt, Nigeria, Phillipines, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.

At the time of writing Ethical Consumer considered each country listed to be governed by an oppressive regime. The company therefore lost a full mark under Human Rights.

Reference:

Annual Report 2018 (2018)

A report published in November 2017 by the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre examined the measures clothing brands were taking to protect Syrian refugees working in the Turkish garment industry.

An estimated 650,000 Syrian refugees had fled their home country to escape bloodshed and had found a lifeline working in Turkey, with many working in the garment industry. Without these jobs, many families would face desperate times and would struggle to support themselves. However, the garment industry in Turkey was complex and exploitative conditions were too common. Since 2015, reports and investigations exposed poor wages, discrimination, and child labour by Syrian refugees working in the Turkish garment industry.

This report built on analysis from February 2016 and October 2016. The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre approached 37 brands with a set of questions on their actions to protect Syrian refugees in their supply chains, and in July and August 2017 they visited Turkey to assess recent developments and spoke to people on the ground.

The companies were ranked according to: quality of the responses and detail of information provided; examples of best policies and practice including clear strategies to protect Syrian refugees and facilitate access to work in supply chains; and examples of progress over the years to prevent, address, mitigate and protect from risks of discrimination and exploitation.

Tchibo was one of the brands contacted. It ranked 6th out of 37 in the report.

Policy: good practice
Audits: good practice
Remedy: good practice
Capacity building: should seek to improve efforts
Engagement: good practice

Reference:

What’s changed for Syrian refugees: A survey & analysis of company action to address exploitation &