amfori BSCI

What Is the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct? A Guide to Compliance with amfori BSCI

By: QIMA Oct 20, 2023

A Guide to Compliance with amfori BSCI

The amfori BSCI Code of Conduct is a set of standards for amfori members and their partners that are designed to protect your organization against human rights and environmental infractions within the supply chain. Signing on to this standard can strengthen your social performance and working conditions within your supply chain and will help you align your goals with internationally recognized principles.

In this article, we’ll review what the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct is, how it benefits your supply chain, and how you can ensure compliance.

Key Takeaways:

What Does amfori BSCI Stand For?

BSCI stands for the Business Social Compliance Initiative. The amfori BSCI Code of Conduct provides a set of principles and values that amfori BSCI participants commit to implementing in their global supply chains. The Code of Conduct is based on international conventions, such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Children’s Rights and Business Principles, UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, OECD Guidelines, the UN Global Compact, and International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions.

amfori BSCI provides an auditing methodology used to improve social performance across an organization’s supply chain. The systematic approach is designed to help companies steadily strengthen their working conditions by recommending a set of standards that can be adopted to minimize risk, prevent litigation, and ensure workers across your supply chain are respected and well-treated.

Who Developed BSCI?

The amfori BSCI is a business-led initiative that was originally founded by the Foreign Trade Association (now amfori) in 2003. amfori is an association, composed of brands, retailers, importers, and other organizations from 40+ countries. amfori members work collaboratively to achieve amfori’s initiatives (amfori BSCI, amfori BEPI, amfori QMI, and amfori Advocacy) to improve supply chain compliance. Interestingly, the organization’s name comes from amphorae, which were the ancient world’s shipping containers when global trade was first established. amfori adopted this name to symbolize the spirit of the timelessness of trade.

BSCI in Practice

amfori BSCI can be applied to any organization that wants to increase its social performance. You might apply the BSCI audit to manufacturers, importers, retailers, and any other vital segments of your supply chain. Implementation of BSCI is conducted by accredited third parties that can audit, train, and educate your workforce in the methodology. The process begins with an amfori BSCI audit.

Benefits of Compliance with the amfori BSCI

Adopting amfori BSCI across your supply chain increases visibility, reducing the risk of adverse effects occurring by or to your organization. amfori BSCI empowers companies to proactively address potential issues by offering a network of like-minded businesses that openly share experiences and discuss solutions. Members are given resources to build competence and knowledge with their teams, practical implementation tools, and a framework to develop meaningful dialogue with relevant stakeholders. The program is designed for continuous improvement, so you can expect your internal and external social compliance to become more streamlined over time. Additional benefits include:

An amfori BSCI audit helps you achieve these benefits by ensuring compliance with all of the principles included in the BSCI Code of Conduct, described below.

Summary of the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct

The amfori BSCI Code of Conduct is a set of values and principles that are applied to your organization. The framework is guided by five Core Values focused on improving social responsibility within your supply chain:

  1. Cooperation

  2. Empowerment

  3. Code Observance

  4. Protection of Vulnerable Persons

  5. Transparency

These values are implemented through a set of thirteen Guiding Principles:

  1. Social Management System and Cascade Effect

  2. Workers Involvement and Protection

  3. The Rights of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining

  4. No Discrimination, Violence, or Harassment

  5. Fair Remuneration

  6. Decent Working Hours

  7. Occupational Health and Safety

  8. No Child Labor

  9. Special Protection for Young Workers

  10. No Precarious Employment

  11. No Bonded, Forced Labor, or Human Trafficking

  12. Protection of the Environment

  13. Ethical Business Behavior

Social Management System and Cascade Effect

This principle establishes the process by which your organization discloses your human rights policy statement and the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct. This includes a commitment to spread the information internally and to business partners with the intention of comprehensive adoption across the supply chain. Attention to vulnerable persons in the supply chain (i.e. remote workers, temporary workers, etc.) and processes for continuous improvement are also included.

Workers Involvement and Protection

Signatories must commit to establishing gender-responsive and affirming management practices as well as creating protection standards for workers. Workers must be made aware of their rights, grievance systems must be put into place, and a baseline competence in social performance needs to be established.

The Rights of Freedom of Association and Collective Bargaining

Trade unions must be respected if workers decide to organize or abstain from doing so. Members must not be discriminated against and are free to elect a representative if the organization enters negotiations with a union body. Recruiters must be able to have access to workers, and meaningful representation needs to be established within a union.

No Discrimination, Violence, or Harassment

Workers are to be treated fairly and with respect. Protections must be put in place against violence, harassment, and any form of discrimination (this includes protections for whistleblowers). A disciplinary process must be created and communicated to workers so they understand the consequences for any offenses.

Fair Remuneration

Fair wages are defined by minimum industry or government standards and are paid on time. Wages should be set to a standard of living and reflect the skills and experience of the workers. Social benefits should also be included, such as promotion prospects and level of seniority. Migrant workers should also receive the same pay for equal jobs with similar qualifications.

Decent Working Hours

mWorkers are not required to work more than 48 hours per week, except for exceptions by the ILO. Applicable national laws, industry standards, or collective agreements should be used to define working hours. Overtime should be paid at 125% of the standard rate. Breaks should be included with a day of rest every seven days at minimum.

Occupational Health and Safety

Healthy working and living conditions should be supported without prejudice. National occupational health and safety legislation should be followed, and international legislation in the place of weak national law. Establish measures to limit potential injury to workers and have protocols in place in the event of an injury. Maintain records of health and safety incidents and provide sufficient insurance for such foreseeable incidents. Establish an OHS committee to represent the diversity of the workforce. Provide access to safe drinking water, food and food storage, and an adequate amount of cleaning facilities and equipment. Provide PPE to workers for free, and proactively compensate workers for failure to follow any principles.

No Child Labor

Do not employ anyone under the age of 15 years old. Establish age verification methods in the recruitment stage. Protect children from exploitation and in the event of a dismissal, ensure the protection of the affected child once that child leaves.

Special Protection for Young Workers

Ensure young workers do not work at night and protect them from any negative working conditions that might affect younger workers disproportionately. Work must not interfere with schooling and mechanisms for grievances by young workers must be available and supported.

No Precarious Employment

Make sure recruitment and employment do not create social or economic instability. Document the terms of employment in a format that reflects national law or trade standards. Provide workers with adequate employment information (such as a company handbook) in their native language. Provide flexible working conditions for parents or caregivers. Do not use subcontracting, apprenticeships, seasonal or contingency work, or labor-only contracting that defies the intention of their uses by law.

No Bonded, Forced Labor, or Human Trafficking

Do not take part in any form of servitude, forced labor, indenture, trafficking or even state-imposed forced labor. Follow international principles such as the Employer Pays Principle and extend these methods to partners. Limit deception in the recruitment process and ensure due diligence with partners. Compensate workers for damages in a timely manner consistent with international standards and allow workers to terminate their employment freely with ample notice to the employer.

Protection of the Environment

Follow national and/or international legislation for environmental protection. Create procedures to mitigate and remediate any environmental damages created by company operations and establish a process to assess environmental impacts when implementing new operations.

Ethical Business Behavior

Do not participate in any form of bribery, extortion, embezzlement, or corruption. Keep accurate records of business activities, structure, and performance in accordance with industry best practices. Do not falsify any information within the supply chain and collective personal information obtained from workers, partners, or customers with care.

How Do I Comply with amfori BSCI?

Compliance can naturally be challenging, especially when first initiating a program. Leveraging the expertise of an approved auditor like QIMA makes the process simple and easy.

  1. The first step is to contact an amfori-approved auditing company to educate you and your team on the auditing process.

  2. Prepare your business partners by sending them the updated amfori BSCI Code of Conduct (updated as of January 1, 2023).

  3. Assess your current contracts, starting with your most important suppliers.

  4. Schedule a meeting to review any contract changes that reflect the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct.

  5. Extend support to your suppliers to update their Social Management Policies.

  6. Map out vulnerable suppliers/persons and communicate with your suppliers on ways to align their social management system with the new policies.

  7. Maintain regular discussions on any issues pertaining to the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct.

The purpose of the amfori BSCI Code of Conduct is to ensure compliance across the entire supply chain, so it is vital that conversations with your suppliers are begun at the time of implementation.

Our accredited auditors will take the amfori BSCI fundamental principles and apply them to your supply chain and use our industry-leading technology platforms to monitor progress. With our business intelligence, we make this process simple and accessible to provide you with the tangible benefits of an amfori BSCI audit.

Schedule a call with one of our experts today to discuss our Best-In-Class ethical audit protocol.

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