Asda updates on its new Responsible Sourcing Programme and joins the Slave-Free Alliance

Senior Responsible Sourcing Manager
June 15, 2021

Moving into new ownership has provided us with a fantastic and exciting opportunity to develop new ways of working and enables movement from a Walmart global approach to an Asda specific Responsible Sourcing programme.

Our Responsible Sourcing programme is designed to make sure that we understand, monitor, and manage the risks that may be present within our supply chain collaborating with suppliers to deliver impact globally.

Within Asda’s global supply chains our work is varied, and our new programme has to respond to a variety of situations from day-to-day supplier compliance through to more serious instances like unethical practices and human rights abuses. Ultimately though our programme is working to make sure the workers within our supply chains are treated fairly and the conditions they work in are safe.

This new program will move us away from a risk-based approach and to a new path which is driven by data, insight and risk to show the direction of our activity and where we can have the most impact. By changing our approach to give greater credence to areas which have been identified for improvement, rather than a wider geographical approach we believe it will allow us to collaborate with suppliers and better utilise our resources to focus on risks of relevance, outcomes and impact.

In order to drive our programme, we are requesting that in-scope suppliers and facilities join Sedex to achieve greater transparency in the data associated with our supply chain. This in turn allows us to create a simplified and responsive process where suppliers provide compliance information to Asda with a focus on continuous improvement that rewards suppliers who demonstrate this. The programme is not solely reliant on audits, but instead focuses on a tiered response system to best support suppliers in continuous improvement and their compliance.

By establishing our own Responsible Sourcing programme we will begin to focus more on the human rights agenda alongside our suppliers and other key stakeholders to bring about change and find solutions which will impact our global supply chain.

To enable us to do this we have set out a clear programme to improve communication and simplify the requirements for suppliers, working with external organisations to increase our efficiency and automation and to drive insight from the data which we collectively gather to deliver change globally.

We are also proud to have joined Slave-Free Alliance. The social enterprise, supported by Asda, works with businesses that want to protect their supply chains and operations from modern slavery and our membership is part of our new Responsible Sourcing strategy.
Membership of Slave-Free Alliance, which is part of the pioneering global anti-slavery charity Hope for Justice, will see us undertake a gap analysis to help alert us further to the hidden risks associated with Modern Slavery while providing an opportunity to set best practice standards, and help us to further prioritise risk testing our assumptions and providing a level of reassurance about our processes.

Our recently published 2021 Modern Slavery Statement details our progress in this area through a year like no other. Our global supply chains are complex and managing Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking risks throughout is a key focus for our business. Within the context of a global pandemic, we are pleased to have been on track for approximately two-thirds of the goals which we set out in our 2020 statement. This is testament to the continued work which has been carried out closely with our suppliers and service providers and which has seen us collaborate with industry partners in addressing these issues.

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