As a business, we are looking to improve upon our sustainability and social responsibility credentials, which is why earlier this year we appointed a head of CSR, Naheeda Howard, to help drive forward our goals in this area. Under Naheeda’s direction, the team at OT Group has been working hard on numerous CSR projects.
Most recently, as of 21st October, OT Group has been accepted as a member of Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI) — a human rights-based charity that helps businesses to trade more ethically by working with suppliers, labour organisations, and trade unions in the countries that we source our products and materials from.
OT Group acquires hundreds of products from all over the globe, and as a responsible business we want to ensure that our supply chains are ethical. While the sphere of CSR is vast and our objectives our varied, ethical trade is a concern that — in a recent CSR survey — 65% of OfficeTeam customers and 47% of dealers highlighted as a priority.
The aim of ethical trading is to help create a world where all workers are free from exploitation and discrimination — enjoying freedom, security and equity. And, our membership with ETI will extend our accountability in these areas.
At OT Group, we are committed to improving our social value, meaning we want to contribute to the long-term wellbeing and resilience of individuals, communities, and society in general. We can then deliver that value to all of our stakeholders including colleagues, customers and partners throughout our supply chains.
With ETI guidance we’re strengthening our ethical code of labour practice that we expect all of our suppliers to strive towards. We’re planning on building a robust ethical trading strategy to mitigate the risk of modern slavery in our supply chain and improve the lives of the communities that we work with.
This is not as easy as it sounds — our supply chains are massive and global, and if, for example, a site with excessive working hours is found within our supply chain, the solution is not as simple as cutting them off, as this can often make workers’ lives worse. Collaborating with ETI, we’ll be able to navigate the thorny issues that can’t be addressed by individual companies working alone.
The initial foundation stage — where we begin implementing our strategy — will last two years. At the end of this stage, OT Group will receive a rating from ETI that we can then work to either maintain and/or improve.
Our category teams have already made a great start on ethical trade by committing to our supplier code of conduct. This requires that our trade partners to adhere to the ETI Base Code, a set of rules that protects human rights, which can be found in this handy infographic: