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GSCP Reference Tool on Supply Chain Social Performance Management Systems

This resource, developed with support from Shift, provides a framework based on current good practices for companies that are developing a social compliance management system, or improving an existing supply chain social compliance monitoring program.

January 2013 | Global Social Compliance Programme, Consumer Goods Forum | Pages: 58

This resource, developed with support from Shift, provides a framework based on current good practices for companies that are developing a social compliance management system, or improving an existing supply chain social compliance monitoring program. The below introductory text is excerpted from the resource.

Introduction

For the purposes of this tool, a supply chain Social Performance Management System (SPMS) is understood as a formal programme including policies, procedures, and activities designed:

  • to help prevent, detect and remedy violations of labour standards within a supply chain, including domestic laws and standards, international labour laws and standards and human rights law and standards;
  • to identify best existing practices to ensure buying organisations are continuously improving working conditions for their suppliers.

Objectives of the Reference Tool

The GSCP Reference tool on supply chain Social Performance Management Systems (SPMS) has been developed by and for buying organisations (retailers and manufacturers) to support them in monitoring and improving social compliance performance in the whole supply chain.

The Reference tool is based on best existing practices, common approaches and shared standards, and is designed to reflect and be aligned with relevant international standards and in particular with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It can be used either to provide a general framework for an organisation wishing to create a SPMS, or as a benchmark for an organisation seeking to improve or develop an established SPMS. 

The GSCP recognises that many organisations have existing systems for managing social performance within their supply chains and this Reference tool is not designed to replace these systems. Instead, it is intended as a reference framework which provides ideas and resources about how an efficient and effective SPMS can be built and improved. Also, as a reference framework, it has been created to be used across different sectors and by organisations with different supply chain structures, including vertically integrated companies and those with external supply chains. It does not include detailed or specific information relevant to particular structures, sectors or geographical regions.

Scope of the Reference Tool

The Reference tool applies to an organisation’s entire supply chain and covers labour practices and human rights. Reference to the term ‘social’ within this tool (e.g. in relation to ‘social performance’ and ‘social performance management’) relates to the issues and standards covered by the GSCP Reference Code, namely:

  • forced, bonded, indentured and prison labour;
  • child labour;
  • freedom of association and the effective recognition of the right to collective bargaining;
  • discrimination, harassment and abuse;
  • health and safety;
  • wages, benefits and terms of employment;
  • working hours.

The GSCP Reference Code is based on compliance with national laws and respect for internationally-agreed standards, including the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. These standards are also endorsed in the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and as such, this Reference tool refers to these too.

In addition, the tool is aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which were endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011, and are mirrored in the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, as well as the ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility. The UN Guiding Principles set out the corporate responsibility to respect human rights as a basic expectation that all companies in all situations should avoid infringing on the human rights of others and should address any adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved. They encompass all internationally recognised human rights including, but not limited to, labour rights. The Reference tool supports this broad approach, while recognising that the most significant human rights risks for buying organisations will typically be risks to the rights of workers in their supply chains. For this reason, this tool focuses mainly on these rights.

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