In February 2020 Ethical Consumer searched the Welede website and Annual and Sustainability Report 2018 for information on how the company managed issues of workers rights in its supply chain.
Supply chain policy (rudimentary)
No supplier code of conduct could be found however the company stated that it used The Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) standard and was certified by UEBT. Ethical Consumer viewed the standard which was found to have clauses on child labour, discrimination and freedom of association. The ILO Convention on Forced Labour was also referenced. The standard's clause on wages said a company should seek to pay a living wage but did not require this. There was no mention of hours. Overall Weleda received a rudimentary rating for its supply chain policy.
Stakeholder engagement (rudimentary)
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. As Weleda was a member of the Union for Ethical BioTrade (UEBT) and had "UEBT certification since June 2018 (for the supply chain management system for all raw materials in the natural and organic cosmetics area)". UEBT did require certified companies to have a complaints mechanism, however it did not state that whether this had to be anonymous, free or available in complainents' own language.
Auditing and reporting (rudimentary)
Weleda's questionnaire response stated "The UEBT standard ensures our supply chains are audited and verified[...]With the UEBT Ethical Sourcing System certification we follow clear rules and definitions on when supply chains have to be verified by audits. We are working closely with UEBT who partially conduct these audits themselves or we have external certification bodies or in rare cases we conduct the audits ourselves. Before an audit report goes back to our supplier we follow the 4-eyes-principle, meaning the audit report has to be approved by a second person. Audit results are not publicly disclosed as they may contain confidential information, but are shared with UEBT. Cost for all audits is paid by Weleda. Further steps like follow up measures, repeating the audit etc is clearly defined and part of the set certification program." The UEBT website was viewed. The standard required the provision of independent third party audits. On joining UEBT, members were said to undergo an audit against the Ethical BioTrade standard. Weleda was considered to have a rudimentary approach to auditing and reporting due to the fact there was no schedule for auditing, no disclosure of audit results and no clear remediation strategy for issues of non-compliance.
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.
On its website it stated that the company had a preference for long-term relationships with suppliers.
The company also published details of some of its suppliers it worked with.
Weleda's questionnaire response also detailed information about paying a living wage. It stated that it was generally not relevant in the context of their supply chain.
Weleda was considered to have a rudimentary approach to difficult issues within supply chains due to the fact it seeked to develop long term relationships with suppliers.
Overall Weleda received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for Supply Chain Management and lost a half a mark under this category.
Annual and Sustainability Report (2018)