We are going to publish our list of factories for home textiles, garments and footwear during the course of 2017 for the purpose of more transparency over global supply chains. By taking this step, we hope to encourage other national and international trading companies to do the same. Just as we were encouraged by international retailers that have already published their supplier lists.
We thus support the trend towards growing transparency, which is hoped to trigger more corporate responsibility, increased collaboration in national and international trade, and ultimately a better implementation of social and environmental standards. In the past, we have disclosed producer data within collaborative sustainability and ethical trade initiatives, e.g. as part of the Bangladesh Accord, or our collaboration with the IndustriALL Global Union.
The decision to make our supplier lists publicly available wasn’t easy: we have built a competitive edge in the industry through our careful supplier selection, closer partnerships with our suppliers and a continuous investment in the development of the factories from which we source. Over the past few years, we have been advancing the economic, social and environmental qualification of our suppliers around the world with significant management and financial resources.
Publishing the supplier lists means that all our competitors gain transparency about the suppliers we have qualified – including those who choose not to publish their own supplier lists. This entails the risk of losing our delivery capacities and could give rise to free riding through other companies. Having said this, we have decided to trust in the principle of fairness in competition and to give priority to societal interests in transparency over a possible threat to our own individual interests in order to catalyze the enforcement of social and environmental standards in global supply chains.
We want to challenge the belief though that transparency automatically leads to better conditions. Transparency alone does not automatically lead to positive changes. Real change requires active intervention and (in the case of industry-wide challenges) cooperation between all relevant actors. This is why Tchibo will continue to implement improvements on the ground through its own training activities as well as industry-wide collaborations. We already work closely with other companies in initiatives like ACT on Living Wages and the Textile Alliance to strengthen compliance with human rights and especially trade union rights.
Where to find the supplier list? We will be publishing the list in our Sustainability Report 2016, which will appear during the course of the year.