In March 2020 Ethical Consumer searched Avon Products's website for information on the company's supply chain management. Information was found on the company website and in its 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report, the most recent available.

Overall Avon Product's received a middle Ethical Consumer rating for its supply chain management. The rationale for this was as follows:

Supply chain policy (rudimentary)
Avon Products website had a supplier code of conduct available to download which applied to any company, its factories, manufacturers, vendors or agents ("Suppliers") that produced goods and/or provided services for Avon Products, Inc. or any local affiliate. The code of conduct included provisions which prohibited the use of child labour under the age of 15 (or in accordance with ILO), and forced labour, and allowed employees to be free to join unions and to be free from discrimination. However, according to the code of conduct, working hours for employees were restricted up to 72 hours per week "in exceptional business circumstances". These circumstances were not defined and were over the working week limit of 48 plus 12 hours overtime. The code of conduct failed to guarantee payment of a living wage to employees. Due to a lack of commitment on wages and hours Avon Products received a rudimentary rating for its supply chain policy.

Stakeholder engagement (rudimentary)
No evidence could be found of trade union engagement by the company, and no evidence that Avon engaged with a multistakeholder process. There was some discussion of engagement with environmental NGOs, and a helpline for employees to call to report ethics or compliance violations which could be done anonymously if desired, via email or through the toll-free Avon Integrity Helpline, which had available interpreters who spoke more than 100 languages. Overall the company received a rudimentary rating for stakeholder engagement.

Auditing and reporting (rudimentary)
A search of Avon's 2018 Corporate Responsibility Report found a section on supplier audits. It stated that its goal was to ensure that every in-scope supplier was audited every two years. In 2018, Avon conducted 658 audits. Avon provided an overall breakdown of the issues identified in audits. Avon Product's received a rudimentary rating for its auditing and reporting. To get a better rating the company would need to disclose more about audits, who paid for them, and what was the remediation system in place if suppiers failed them.

Difficult issues (poor)
A search of Avon Product's website found no mention of difficult issues such as audit fraud, purchasing practices, living wages and homeworkers. Despite having manufacturing facilities in China there was no mention of freedom of association and how the company ensured its employees are afforded this right when not provided by local law. The company therefore received a poor rating for difficult issues.

Overall Avon Products Inc received Ethical Consumer's middle rating for supply chain management.

Reference:

Avon website (4 March 2020)

In March 2020 Ethical Consumer viewed the Natura family tree on the website Hoovers.com. The company had subsidiaries in Mexico and Saudi Arabia. At the time of writing Ethical Consumer considered Mexico and Saudi Arabia to be governed by an oppressive regime. The family tree of Avon Products Inc was also viewed, which showed subsidiaries in China (and also Mexico), considered to be an oppressive regime at the time of writing. As Avon had been acquired by Natura in January 2020, it was part of the same company group. The company lost half a mark under Human Rights.

Reference:

Generic Hoovers ref (2020)

On 27th January 2016 the website IndustriAll accused cosmetics company Avon of illegally manipulating the terms of employment of the majority of its female workforce in the Philippines. The report stated that the Avon production plant employed mainly women of whom about 120 were directly employed, while other 350 were working through labour agencies. Those working through the agencies were employed on minimum monthly wage. Many of these contract workers had been performing jobs that were part of the core business of the company for years. They worked on production lines together with their regularly employed colleagues.
This practice was illegal since according to national legislation a worker performing the same job for company for more than one year should have been granted regular employment. Avon engaged labour agencies to act as their bogus employers and deprived these workers of job security and social benefits, which were essential for their families, according to IndustriAll.
A new collective agreement on working conditions was signed between workers’ representatives and the company in September 2015, but in December 2015, 16 of the workers learned that Avon’s General Manager for the Philippines had accused them of conducting an illegal strike when they had been in the collective bargaining process, and filed a case in order to discharge them from work.
The dismissed representatives had an average of 20 years in service each. Apart from many family members whose lives depended on them, the 32 children currently in school would be forced to drop out unless their mothers and fathers were reinstated in the jobs.
IndustriALL Global Union’s Asia Pacific Executive Committee passed a resolution supporting the workers and dismissed trade unionists.
A member of IndustriALL Global Union’s Executive Committee said: “Unlike the company’s slogan that says ‘Beauty is the journey, empowerment is the destination’, the women who make Avon products in the Philippines are far from being empowered with the precarious employment Avon has offered them.”

Reference:

Avon, ‘the company for women’ hurts women in the Philippines (27 January 2016)