Minimum social standards for the whole range

We also insist on compliance with minimum social standards for our conventionally manufactured goods, including proper remuneration, observance of working hours and effective social dialogue.

GRASP guarantees good social practice

In recent years, working with various partners we have stepped up our commitment to minimum social standards in fruit and vegetable cultivation and at big production companies in developing and emerging countries.

In 2005, with GLOBALG.A.P., the world's largest standards organization in the agricultural sector, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ), we initiated the GRASP project (GLOBALG.A.P. Risk Assessment on Social Practice). Our common goal: to firmly establish social criteria in agricultural practices. GRASP dictates 11 clear control points.

Five examples:

  • Written contracts for all workers
  •  Payment of statutory minimum wages
  • Introduction of a time-recording system
  • Observance of breaks and days off, even during peak season
  • Ban on child labour

Effectiveness of GRASP

These control points were defined by stakeholder workshops held during an initial phase that lasted until 2007. Their application was reviewed in over 30 trial audits in five countries: Spain, Morocco, Vietnam, Kenya and Brazil. Our fruit and vegetable suppliers have committed to implementing GRASP and undergo audits by independent, external specialist units. At present, around 56 500 workers in our supply chain are benefiting from this. Fruit and vegetables grown in risk countries for which social standards apply to their cultivation make up over 90 percent of our total sales.

GRASP: Our example sets a precedent

Because of its user-friendly and low-cost approach, GRASP is widely effective. Many more retailers nowadays require their producers to implement GRASP. Consequently, in 2016, the number of producers operating in accordance with the GRASP standard had risen to 29 000. They employ around 360 000 workers who, thanks to Coop's preparatory work, are benefiting from improved working conditions in agriculture.

More about GRASP

amfori BSCI: Commitment to social standards in processing

Today, over 2 000 trading companies rely on amfori BSCI, the Business Social Compliance Initiative. We joined the initiative in 2005 and adopted the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct which is based substantially on the United Nation's Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, the OECD guiding principles and the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO). The amfori BSCI process involves awareness raising, training, round table discussions with authorities and trade unions and regular audits by accredited inspection bodies.

amfori BSCI exploits synergies through joint audits

Thanks to amfori BSCI, the trading companies conduct audits in accordance with the same criteria and recognize each other's results. This is far more efficient than a scenario in which each company has to audit each individual supplier itself. Moreover, the companies in the initiative enjoy greater bargaining power and, together, can demand the same standards. To give one example, child labour is now virtually eradicated at companies working in export. China has revised its employment law in line with western laws. And in Thailand, there is now an awareness of the need to reduce working hours and increase wages.

More about amfori

Our amfori BSCI process

Goods produced for Coop in amfori BSCI risk countries by Non Food business partners which are subject to the BSCI process account for 92 % of our sales. At the end of 2017, the proportion of goods sold that were supplied by a partner with a good BSCI status, that is a result of A, B or C, an SA8000 certificate or an ICTI certificate, was 85 %.

We use a step-by-step, risk-based approach to conducting reviews:

  1. Signature of the Code of Conduct
    Firstly, transparency must be created with regard to the business partners' production sites. By signing the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct they undertake, in addition to complying with the relevant national laws, to meet the requirements of amfori BSCI regarding appropriate remuneration, acceptable working hours, worker protection, no forced labour, no child labour, rights to assembly and collective bargaining, no discrimination, no precarious employment, specific protection for young workers, ethical business practices and environmental protection.
  2. Self-assessment by the company
    The next step is the company's self-assessment of current working conditions and the need for changes. This clarifies whether a company can be audited immediately or whether there is a need for training in social management first. In the Far East, the Eurogroup Purchasing Office in Hong Kong helps producers implement the amfori BSCI process. The audits of production facilities are carried out by specially trained and independent auditors who are accredited by SAI (Social Accountability International) and also document the necessary corrective measures.
  3. Corrective measures
    The corrective measures should be implemented by the production facilities within six to twelve months, and are reviewed in another audit. As a member of amfori, we are required to provide support to our business partners regarding the implementation of these measures.
  4. SA8000
    Companies that have completed the amfori BSCI process can work towards SA8000 certification. SA8000 is currently the most exacting standard for social working conditions.
  5. amfori membership
    We are increasingly interested in business partners who are themselves members of amfori and therefore automatically implement the amfori BSCI process in their production facilities. We appreciate it when business partners become actively involved in amfori and voluntarily have their production companies in amfori BSCI risk countries audited.

More about BSCI PP