The International Housewares Association (IHA), responding to a call from the housewares industry, has created a template for social responsibility issues.
The new document, Corporate Social Responsibility: A Prototype of Supplier Guidelines" seeks to establish guidelines to ensure that working conditions in the housewares industry supply chain are safe, that workers are treated with respect and dignity, and that business operations are ethical and environmentally responsible.
"These guidelines provide tools that define a broad range of expectations without being overly specific in most cases," said Phil Brandl, IHA president. "We hope that IHA members will use the document to help ensure that employees are respected, laws are followed, ethical standards are maintained and the environment is protected for generations to come."
Brandl added, "In order for these standards to be successful, they must be regarded as a total supply chain initiative. At a minimum, IHA members should require their next tier suppliers or subcontractors to acknowledge and implement these guidelines."
The template was created with the assistance of Bureau Veritas and a committee of IHA members, including IHA Chairman Bill Reibl of Infusion Living LLC, Valerie Bone of PMI, Marie Chin of Progressive International Corp., Charles Harari of Trudeau Corp., Craig Laufer and Christine Meadows of Focus Products Group LLC, Scott Meyer of Zak Designs, and Dave O'Connell of Wilton Brands. It is available on IHA's website, www.housewares.org.
The document is divided into six sections and indexes, including a Supplier Code of Conduct.
Section A: Legal and Regulatory Concerns: Topics include anti-corruption, fair competition, trade control, environmental laws and other legal requirements.
Section B: Employment Practices: The Supplier Code of Conduct in Appendix A can be used as a starting point for developing standards.
Section C: Business Practices: Topics include company commitment, management accountability and responsibility, transparency of business records, confidentiality, conflicts of interest, gifts and entertainment, intellectual property, audits and assessments, communication, subcontracting and Customs/C-TPAT.
Section D: Factory Compliance and Outsourcing: Topics include list of factories, training and communication, factory monitoring and checklist, non-compliance situations and standards and applicable law.
Section E: Ethical Standards: Topics include business integrity, no improper advantage, disclosure of information, intellectual property, fair business, advertising and competition and protection of identity.
Section F: Environmental Standards: Topics include environmentally friendly relationships, environmental permits and reporting, pollution prevention and resource reduction, hazardous substances, wastewater and solid waste, air emissions and product content restrictions.
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