In July 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed the Books etc. website for information on how the company managed workers' rights in its supply chain. Nothing was found.
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.
As the company did not appear to have any documentation on its policies surrounding supply chain policy it received a poor rating.
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 labour standards, and for workers to have access to an anonymous complaints system, free of charge and in their own language.
Given that the company did not appear to have any documentation on its policies surrounding stakeholder engagement, it received a poor rating.
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.
Books etc. did not appear to have any policies on its auditing and reporting practices and therefore the company received a poor score for this section.
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 meeting labour standards, 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.
Books etc. did not appear to have any policies on its approach to difficult issues and therefore the company received a poor score for this section.
Overall, Books etc. did not have any policies relating to its supply chain management and therefore received a worst rating.
Books etc website (12 July 2021)