Our Business Partner Code of Conduct (“Code”) is the foundation for our sourcing efforts. Our Business Partners must agree to be bound by our Code. The Code is the foundation for our commitment to, and ongoing evaluation of, social responsibility compliance worldwide. As we operate in many different countries, we recognize and respect all the cultural and legal environments in which we and our Business Partners operate. With that being said, our policy sets forth minimum social responsibility requirements that our Business Partners must satisfy in order to conduct business with us. The Code outlines our standards in the following areas:
A copy of the Code can be found at www.familydollar.com with the specific requirement for each standard set forth in its entirety. If the standards in our Code exceed applicable laws, our Business Partners must continue to fully comply with our standards. Our standards were derived from a number of resources, including the International Labor Organization and other global compliance resources. We continue to monitor these resources and any changes that occur in the global economy in order insure that people around the globe are treated fairly and are insured a safe and healthy working environment.
When we engage a new Business Partner, we require the new Business Partner to execute and to abide by the Code as a condition of doing business with us. Additionally, our Business Partners must sign our Supplier Agreement which contractually obligates each of our Business Partners to abide by all future updates to the Code and to require adequate training for all of its direct employees and subcontractors. Besides abiding by our Code, we further contractually obligate our Business Partners to certify their agreement to abide by all anti-bribery and foreign corrupt practices acts and laws.
Since compliance is so important, we reserve the right to terminate the Supplier Agreement in the event of a breach of our Code or the Anti-Bribery and Foreign Corrupt Practices Acts certification. By these practices, we insure that our Business Partners understand at the beginning of our relationship that all products manufactured and supplied to us should be in compliance with the highest ethical and legal standards.
In order to successfully implement and follow our Code, we understand that building strong relationships with our internal business teams and our Business Partners is critical. One key component to building strong Business Partners’ relationships is to select the best Business Partners. We begin with an evaluation of each factory used by our Business Partners and only certify those factories that can support the standards in our Code. We use industry standards and certified third-party experts to insure our certification process meets industry standards. Once a factory has been certified, we begin to build a strong relationship with our Business Partners that includes maintaining a safe, healthy and fair environment in all factories where product is produced.
All of our Business Partners must comply with our Quality & Compliance Program which includes our social compliance commitments. In order to assure consistent and complete compliance, factory audits are a key component of our practices. Regular and random audits are conducted to verify that our Business Partners are complying with our Code in order to strengthen working conditions and labor practices in factories. We contract with accredited, internationally recognized third party audit providers to perform these audits using industry standards and practices.
Once a factory is audited, an assessment rating is assigned. The assessment rating is based on a number of factors and a corrective action plan is developed as necessary. Depending on the nature and severity of the findings, we determine how to address the factory and whether we should consider terminating the relationship if corrective action is not sufficient. In general, we prefer to assist our Business Partners in addressing concerns rather than ending our relationship. If we can continue the relationship while improving upon the working conditions of the factories and its workers, we can prevent future issues for those who depend upon the factories for employment. By taking these steps, we seek to insure that we source the best products possible for our customers while improving the working conditions of those working in the factories abroad.
As good a Business Partner, we seek to enhance our efforts toward compliance by providing a training program for our Business Partners. The training is updated and communicated regularly through various means, including Business Partner summits webinars, global personnel office training sessions, and through our third party business partners. The training program sets forth our expectations as it relates to our social responsibility standards. We also provide training to our internal teams, both domestically and abroad, to insure our social responsibility standards are understood, supported and upheld by all team members.
As part of our overall development of our global sourcing efforts and in recognition of the fact that resources abroad are pertinent to our efforts to insure safe and healthy working conditions and protect the rights of the workers in the factories of our Business Partners, we have focused on placing more resources in the locations where we are sourcing products. We continue to devote resources to our international offices. We have increased the personnel in those offices to assist in building stronger relationships with our Business Partners. The continued focus of developing our global sourcing efforts will provide the best quality products to our customers while protecting those who are working to manufacture the products we are sourcing.
We are committed to ensuring that our products are manufactured and sourced in an environmentally and socially responsible manner. As part of the overall goal, we seek to insure that our sourcing of products does not in any way contribute to human rights abuses. In 2012, The Security Exchange Commission passed legislation relating to conflict minerals under the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act. The target minerals are gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten. Due to human rights abuses which are occurring in the mining of these minerals originating in the Democratic Republic of Congo or adjoining countries (“DRC region”), the legislation seeks to end these violent and inhumane practices.
In order to support the goal of the legislation, we will conduct an annual inquiry into our sourcing practices and any products containing the target minerals. We have and will continue to provide training both domestically and to our overseas offices on the legislation and how to comply. We have further contractually obligated our Business Partners and agents to comply with the legislation. With these efforts, we hope to do our part in ending the humanitarian abuses in the DRC region.