Our Social Compliance Program is worldwide and attention to ethical sourcing spans across many departments. The Program is guided by a global, executive level committee. Our Vendor Code of Conduct serves as the foundation for our program, setting forth our expectations that all merchandise vendors and factories will act ethically and responsibly and respect the rights of workers.
We take a comprehensive approach to social compliance, and our Program includes training as well as factory auditing. We also recognize that some of the issues facing retailers are challenging. The auditing portion of our Program is focused on vendors, agents, and factories involved in producing merchandise designed by us. We focus our auditing efforts on these factories because we believe this is where we are most likely to be able to have a meaningful impact. We aim for continuous improvement, as we believe this is in the best interest of the workers in these facilities.
Our Social Compliance Program is included as part of our ongoing enterprise risk assessment, and, as such, our Senior Vice President (SVP), Chief Risk and Compliance Officer, has responsibility for global social compliance. The SVP periodically reports to our Board of Directors on aspects of our Social Compliance Program, which may include training efforts, and audit results, as well as other compliance-related topics. Program management is overseen by the Assistant Vice President (AVP), Global Social Compliance, who works closely with representatives of our merchandise and purchasing functions across all of TJX’s businesses and with the Global Social Compliance Committee.
This Committee is comprised of senior leadership from the U.S., Canada, and Europe and from relevant disciplines within TJX, including Merchandising, Sourcing, Imports, Compliance, Enterprise Risk Management, Legal, and Global Communications. The Committee meets on a regular basis, oversees compliance of TJX’s ethical sourcing initiatives, and serves in an advisory capacity, helping to guide the strategy and execution of the program. Our international buying offices and merchants also play key roles in achieving our goals.
External Stakeholder Engagement
As we continue to develop and evolve our Social Compliance Program, we engage with various audiences and consider their guidance. We have reviewed and incorporated many of the international human rights standards enunciated by international bodies, such as the United Nations and the International Labour Organization, and have received and at times, incorporated insights and suggestions from socially responsible investors. To conduct our audits, we have retained and engage with several organizations that have extensive experience and expertise in the field of ethical sourcing – UL LLC (UL), Intertek Group PLC (Intertek), and Omega Compliance Ltd. (Omega). Additionally, these groups assist us with program development, supplier education and training, and compliance monitoring. We are members of the National Retail Federation, the Retail Industry Leaders Association, Ethisphere’s Business Ethics Leadership Alliance, Boston College Center for Corporate Citizenship, and the Ethics & Compliance Officer Association. We also participate in industry conferences and stay current on the latest developments in social compliance and ethical sourcing. Finally, we benchmark ourselves against the programs of companies whose business models more closely relate to our own, as well as vertically-integrated retailers whose business models differ significantly.
The driving tenet of TJX’s Vendor Code of Conduct and our Social Compliance Program is continuous improvement. While we expect each of our vendors and agents to adhere to the expectations set forth in our Vendor Code of Conduct, we also encourage them to make improvements throughout their operations. To advance these objectives, we do more than simply audit suppliers to test compliance; we also provide education and training to our agents, vendors, and factory management, so that they understand our expectations and can develop meaningful processes to meet and exceed these expectations.