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Sourcing ethically, with a focus on human rights

Coles understands that transparently sourcing goods in a responsible and ethical manner is a growing global issue and something our customers demand. Coles uses more than 750 Coles own brand suppliers with over 2,200 sites located in more than 40 countries and acknowledges the importance of safeguarding human rights through ethical business practices through this supply chain.

Coles is committed to ensuring that all workers in its supply chains are treated fairly.

Coles’ Ethical Sourcing Policy covers a range of key labour indicators, including wages and benefits, working hours, freedom of association, safe working conditions, and discrimination and forced or bonded labour, child labour and illegal labour.

The Policy applies to all suppliers providing Coles own brand products, fresh produce and meat sold in Coles supermarkets.

Coles takes a risk-based approach to ethical sourcing across all sites that directly supply Coles own brand products, meat and fresh produce. Coles was the first Australian supermarket to adopt the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (Sedex), a global ethical supply chain management platform, in 2016. To monitor compliance with the Coles Ethical Sourcing Policy, Coles requires all direct supplier sites to register on Sedex and complete a comprehensive risk assessment. The resulting site risk rating drives site audit requirements and approval to supply to Coles.

In FY18, 90 per cent of all direct supplier sites (factories, processing plants, packhouses and direct supplier farms providing Coles own brand, fresh produce and meat products) were registered on Sedex and monitored under the Ethical Sourcing program. This has resulted in Coles having increased visibility of its supplier employment practices and enables the business to proactively monitor ethical sourcing risks and compliance with the Coles Ethical Sourcing Policy.

In FY18, independent ethical audits were conducted at more than 420 supplier sites and Coles worked with suppliers to rectify non-conformances identified during these audits. No critical breaches of the Coles Ethical Sourcing Policy were identified during FY18.

Another key focus in FY18 was to develop supplier capabilities to better manage risk within Coles own brand Australian agricultural and meat processing supply chains. The business also worked with Coles own brand Australian suppliers to support their understanding of the Federal and New South Wales governments' modern slavery bills, and the Queensland, South Australian and Victorian state governments' labour hire licensing legislation.