In July 2021, Ethical Consumer viewed Ebay’s website for information on how the company managed workers' rights in its supply chain. A “Third Party Code of Business Conduct and Ethics” 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.
The company stated that “we expect all business entities we work with (“Third Party or Third Parties”) to abide by the following guidance in this Third Party Code of Business Conduct and Ethics”.
It had adequate policies on non-discrimination, forced labour and freedom of association. Regarding child labour, Ebay stated that “No person shall be employed younger than age 14 unless specifically permitted by laws of the country where the person is employed.” Although Ebay referred to the ILO Conventions, it had set its own minimum age policy to 14, not 15, so did not meet the criteria set by Ethical Consumer.
The company did not provide adequate policies on the living wage or working week.
Overall, as Ebay did not have adequate policy on child labour it received a poor score for supply chain management.
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.
Ethical Consumer could not find evidence that Ebay was a member of a multi-stakeholder initiative.
Regarding engagement with third parties, Ebay provided no evidence which stated that it worked with third parties to verify labour standards or audits.
Regarding the company’s complaints process, Ebay stated information about a complaints process for its direct employees but this was not extended to its entire supply chain.
Overall, due to its inadequate policies on stakeholder engagement, Ebay achieved a poor scoring on 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.
Ebay 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.
Ebay 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, Ebay did not have adequate policies relating to its supply chain management and therefore received a worst rating in this category.
Ebay Third Party Code of Business Conduct and Ethics (10 August 2021)