In March 2020 Ethical Consumer searched the Midsona website and Annual Report 2020 for information on how the company managed workers' rights issues in its supply chain. Aquestionnaire was also sent to Midsona but no response was received.
The company had previously been certified to the SA 8000 standard by Social Accountability. However, it was no longer listed on the Social Accountability website and no mention of Social Accountability could be found on the Midsona website nor in its Annual Report 2018.
Supply chain policy (poor)
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. The report stated that it had a Supplier Code of Conduct but this document did not appear to be publicly available to view. The company did state that it was against any form of forced labour or child labour but did not define the age of a child. It was therefore considered to have a poor 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.
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. It stated that 77-80% of its suppliers had signed its Code of Conduct and that it was "mapping, approving and following up all of its own suppliers" but it did not go into any detail regarding further auditing.
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.
Overall Midsona received Ethical Consumer's worst rating for Supply Chain Management and lost a whole mark in this category.
Annual Report 2018 (6 March 2020)