Ethical trading and human rights

For years we have fought for trade justice and today we continue to strive for a fairer world, where basic human needs are met and rights are respected.

Ethical trading and sound sourcing

We've pioneered ethical trade for more than 160 years, and believe it is a vital step towards achieving our dream of a world without extreme poverty.

We're committed to continually improving working conditions of the 100,000s of workers across our supply chain. We were a founding member of the Ethical Trading Initiative and have our own Sound Sourcing Code of Conduct, which our family of businesses have committed to adopt.

We also have a Suppliers Guide to the Co-operative Food Ethical Trade Programme.

We will target 800 sites in six countries in our supplier training programme to create better workplaces and better jobs by the end of 2013.

Human Rights and Trade Policy

We’re also the only major retailer to have a Human Rights and Trade Policy, which sets out the exceptional circumstances in which we will curtail trade with a particular state or settlement.

In line with our co-operative and democratic principles, our Human Rights and Trade Policy was developed following a call from our members.

The Policy reflects our values of openness and honesty, and sets out our commitment to a consistent approach to human rights and trade issues.

Trade is a force for good, but in exceptional circumstances the benefits of trade may be undermined. Withdrawing trade is not a decision we take lightly, as we fully recognise that it may deprive people of an income when they are already suffering under oppression.

So, we will only withdraw trade from a state or region if at least one of the following conditions are met:

  1. Where the democratic representatives of a country call for a withdrawal of trade
  2. Where there is international consensus that the status of a designated region or state is illegal
  3. Where there is strong evidence that trade is a contributory factor to a conflict.

Find out more about our position regarding the Israeli settlements.

Read our latest Sustainability Report